SA gymnastics star Caitlin Rooskrantz ‘ready for anything’ at Paris Olympics

Caitlin Rooskrantz, seen here performing in the artistic gymnastics event at the Tokyo Olympics, hopes to reach a final in Paris this year. Photo: BackpagePix

Caitlin Rooskrantz, seen here performing in the artistic gymnastics event at the Tokyo Olympics, hopes to reach a final in Paris this year. Photo: BackpagePix

Published May 23, 2024



South African gymnast Caitlin Rooskrantz has qualified for her second Olympic Games, and she will continue her quest to break boundaries for her country as she sets her sights on an all-round final when the games kick off in Paris in July.

The 22-year-old Johannesburg-born athlete represented South Africa in the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, and became her country’s first gymnast to qualify for the Games without a continental quota, while also becoming one of only two gymnasts of colour ever to represent Mzansi.

Rooskrantz expects Paris to be different from the Tokyo Olympics, where she finished 61st, believing that she has improved significantly since then.

She is a lot more confident, and feels that the trust she has developed in her abilities will enable her to give it her best shot in France.

“Experience plays a massive role in my sport – the older you are, the more experienced you get, and it’s the most beneficial thing you can get,” Rooskrantz said.

“You get to learn how to handle different situations, and also how to deal with nerves before a competition.

“Going into my second Olympics, after all the competitions I’ve attended since Tokyo, it gives me quite a lot of confidence and a lot of assurance that I’m ready for anything and I can adapt to anything.”

Rooskrantz is a big dreamer, and her love for the Springboks motivates her to keep pushing the limits.

“As an athlete, watching the Springboks succeed, it gave me a lot of pride because you get to understand the work that gets put in over the years.

“Watching them gives you a kick and is a reminder of what we are capable of as a country ... It makes me all excited to see what I can do in Paris.

“I set the bar pretty high for myself. I’m hoping to get to an all-round final, and I have improved over the years.

"I believe I’m at a point where it is very possible, but in the same breath you’re still looking at realistic goals. Going into the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games I felt the same and I came home with the medal.”

— Gymnastics South Africa (@SAGymnastics) May 22, 2024

Her 2022 Commonwealth Games bronze medal has also played a huge role in the growth of the sport in the country, and her career has been growing in leaps and bounds since then.

That has allowed her to live out her passion and pave the way for other aspiring young gymnasts to follow in her footsteps.

Teamwork and a strong mindset have assisted in navigating the most challenging times in her career so far.

“Mental preparation is a big part of gymnastics. Obviously it’s quite a physically demanding sport, but it’s only half-physical and the other half is mental,” Rooskrantz said.

“But as much as the sport is an individual sport, it has a lot of teamwork that goes in to it, and on days where I struggle, that helps me to keep going.

“There has been significant growth in the sport in South Africa. Since I’ve come into it as a senior in 2017, it has grown drastically.

“It is still quite small, but if it carries on in this trajectory in the next 10 years, it will double and move on from being just a sport seen in the Olympics.”