Greek gymnast Vasiliki Millousi says she has no qualms about being the only female representative from her country, as she prepares to make her Olympics comeback at the London Games.
The 28-year-old will be appearing at an Olympics for the first time since Sydney in 2000, having given up the sport at the age of 19 before deciding to return.
“Before 2004 I had stopped for three years because my federation said I was too old,» she said, after podium training at the North Greenwich Arena on Thursday.
“I was 19 then and I was very sad about that. I didn’t want to go into the gym.”
She secured her place in London by taking a gold medal on the balance beam at the test event in the British capital in January.
Poised to return to the Olympic arena after a gap of eight years, she says she does not feel guilty for usurping the youngsters who had taken her place after she turned her back on the sport.
“The most difficult thing was the other girls on my team,» she said of her comeback.
“They were too young for me, they didn’t understand me. They said ‘Why are you coming back? You’re too old.’
“I think they were afraid I would take their place. And I have, and now all those young girls have stopped.”
Millousi’s training has been adversely affected by the financial situation in Greece but says she will harness the country’s customary grit to pull through.
“Our federation helps us a lot, but we don’t have enough money for our preparation. No medicine, no physios,» she said. «But we are Greeks. We are strong, and we will survive.» [AFP]