Nile Wilson – Gymnastics

Hometown: Leeds
Sport: Artistic gymnastics
Event: All round
Games: Rio 2016

Nile Wilson is a British gymnast from Leeds specialising in the 'All Around' discipline - Floor, Pommel Horse, Still Rings, Vault, Parallel Bars and Horizontal bar.

In his early career, Nile won gold and silver at the Junior European Championships, winning the team competition and coming 2nd place in the All Around event. After winning six medals at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival, he also captained the under 18 British team to victory against France, Germany and Switzerland in the Four Way Championships.

Nile's greatest achievement of 2014 was winning the men's junior All Around title at the British Gymnastics Championships despite an initial fall at the beginning of the competition. He insisted that not dwelling on his mistake was the key to his success.

Nile went on to compete at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow 2014 and to win Bronze in the Horizontal bar at Rio 2016.

The following questions were prepared by students at King Alfred's Academy, Oxford, in October 2014.

What was your biggest influence to take part in sport/gymnastics?

The reason I started gymnastics was when I was younger I was a bit clumsy and always used to fall over. I got like 5 or 6 scars on my head, so my parents took me along to teach me how to fall so I wouldn't always fall and crack my head open. I went to a local gym class and took it from there. I got really in to it and got spotted to go where I'm training now - Leeds Gymnastics Club.

How does your diet vary between on and off season?

I tend to eat well generally, but it does vary when I'm competing as I try to eat well every day and only have a treat now and again. When I'm not competing I tend to have treats a bit more often, maybe a couple of times a month I may have takeaways. My favourite is probably Nandos - I have a weak spot for Nandos.

What do you eat pre and post comp?

Before I eat plenty of carbohydrates like bread, pasta, potatoes, fruit ,stuff like that and after I make sure I eat my protein in shakes or maxi muscle stuff to help my muscles recover.

Have you suffered from any major injuries?

Yeah I have. When I was about 10 I was out for over a year with an elbow injury, I don't know the name, but it was a kind of disease where one of my bones disintegrated and I had to wait for it to repair itself which took over a year. In 2011 I had a stress fracture in my lower back and I was out for 4 months with that. I've had my fair few injuries.

Do you use ice baths?

Yeah I do. I've got a funny story, the first time I used an ice bath. I was training really hard and I'd lost a bit of weight so I had quite low body fat. I was in there for 10 minutes and after that I'm sure I had mild hypothermia. I couldn't walk, I couldn't physically warm myself up, I was shivering for about an hour after with about 6 layers on. Now I don't go in for the whole 10 minutes, but I still use them. I think they're good and they help your muscles out quite a lot.

Describe your weekly training schedule?

I train 6 days a week, around 30 hours. I do 2 sessions, near enough, [from] Monday to Saturday, Thursday I do half a day and I have Sunday off.

Do you undertake fitness testing? If yes, which tests do you complete and what was the result?

I haven't done it too often. I've done a couple of tests at Lilleshall National Sports Centre during GBR training. I think probably my best is my core, upper body strength which I think has a lot to do with having a stress fracture in my lower back as I did a lot of core work in rehab and upper body I'm quite strong. My weak part is my legs. I think, again, that's to do with my lower back. I didn't do much floor and vault in that period because I couldn't [put much] impact on my legs, so that's my weak bit.

How do you use goal setting to aid performance?

Obviously my main goal is to get to the Olympics, but I quite like to stay in the moment, take one competition at a time. Mainly my goals are just to go to the competition and do as best I can do, without mistakes, and the scores and results come along with it.

How many hours of PE did you receive at school?
I do go to college and I do PE but I don't really do the practical side of it. I tell my teachers that I do too much and they kind of let me off a bit. When I was younger I used to play cricket and football, and at the moment I'm quite into golf. My Dad's a really good golfer so I go with him.

Do you use any psychological techniques to prepare for competitions? Which?

I listen to music before my comps and probably the night before as well to get me in the zone. Before my routines I kind of go through it all in my head just before I do it and I try to stay calm and relaxed, not get myself upbeat. In a competition atmosphere it's a lot different. You feel like you're not in your own body, but doing the training helps you and you try to just keep calm and relaxed before and go through the routine in your head.