Lauren Mitchell (born 23 July 1991, in Subiaco, Western Australia) is a retired Australian artistic gymnast. She is the 2010 World Champion on floor and the 2009 World Championships silver medalist on balance beam and floor. Mitchell is only the second Australian woman gymnast to win medals at a World Championships, and the first to win gold. She trained at the Western Australian Institute of Sport and studied for a degree in biomedical science at The University of Notre Dame Australia's Fremantle campus. She competed for her country at the 2012 Olympics and placed fifth in the floor final.
In 2007, her first year as a Senior Gymnast, she was the Australian Balance Beam Champion. Mitchell competed at the 2007 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships where the Australian team finished a disappointing 11th in the preliminary competition. However, Mitchell qualified for the Balance Beam event final, where she placed a very respectable 5th, equalling Monette Russo as Australia's highest ever finisher in a Balance Beam World Final. Mitchell later stated that she was nervous prior to the final, but pretended she was in training to calm her nerves.
After her strong showing at her debut World Championships, Mitchell went on to compete in several international events. At the DTB Cup in Germany, she won a Silver Medal on Beam and a Bronze medal on floor. She followed this up at the Good Luck Beijing event (a warm up for the venue for the 2008 Summer Olympics), where she won the silver medal on the balance beam in what was a very competitive line up.
She competed for Australia in the women's artistic team all-around event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
In December 2008 Mitchell became the first Australian gymnast to win a gold medal at a World Cup final when she won gold on the balance beam in Madrid. She would also, technically, hold the title indefinitely as the World Cup Final series has since been disbanded.
In July 2009, Mitchell took first place in the all-around at the Australian National Championships in Perth with a score of 112.325 to claim her first national title. She also won titles on uneven bars, balance beam, and floor exercise convincingly. After two successful days of trial competition in Canberra, which included a new Yurchenko double vault, Mitchell was included in the 2009 London World Championships team (with the opportunity to compete on all four apparatus).
In October at the 2009 London World Championships, Mitchell finished fourth all-around by only 0.025, which was especially disappointing since she took a 0.1 deduction on floor for stepping out of bounds. Mitchell rallied during the apparatus finals by winning two silver medals, the highest placing of any Australian female gymnast at a World championships at that time. She won the silver on balance beam with a score of 14.825, .125 behind Deng Linlin, and won silver on floor with a score of 14.550, .100 behind Beth Tweddle.
At the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games, Mitchell won gold with the Australian team. She then went on to win gold in the all-around, on the uneven bars, and balance beam, thereby giving her a total of 4 gold medals. She also won silver in the floor exercise. Mitchell's success in winning 4 gold medals is a record at the Commonwealth Games for a female gymnast which she holds jointly with Lori Strong of Canada who accomplished the same feat at the Auckland 1990 Commonwealth Games. Strong though has the slightly better overall record in that she also won 2 silvers to Mitchell's 1. Mitchell's achievement, however, was especially impressive in light of the fact that prior to the 2010 Commonwealth Games, she had been out injured for almost a year with hand, ankle, and groin injuries.
On missing out on beating Strong's Commonwealth record for medals won and missing out on Gold in the floor exercise, Mitchell said: "Even though it would have been nice to have five gold medals, I think for me it would have been too perfect...And now it gives me something extra to strive for because if I had got the gold in every single event I competed in, it would have been like 'what's next?'."
Mitchell next competed at the 2010 World Gymnastics Championships in Rotterdam which took place from the 16–24 October 2010. She finished 6th with the Australian team and finished 6th in the all-around. She then won gold in the floor exercise, which was the first world championship for a female Australian gymnast - Philippe Rizzo being the only male Australian artistic gymnast to win a world championship, having won the high bar at the 2006 World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark. She also finished fourth on the balance beam.
On winning Gold at the World Championships, Mitchell stated, "I had to look at the score again...I think I nearly started crying. It didn't feel like my routine was so good but obviously it was... Coming from the beginning of the year and not competing at any events until the Commonwealth Games, it is a fantastic feeling". She added: "I wanted to prove on the floor that I belonged in the top three...I wanted to prove to the judges that Australia is up there with the world...I know I had a few landing errors...But my leaps and jumps were pretty good. I'd never done a triple pivot in a floor routine before, so that was a first...I thought I'd come fourth again...I had to look twice at the scoreboard. I thought it was a 14.6. Then when I realized it was a 14.8, and I knew that the Russian had got a 14.7, I had to think. Is an eight more than a seven? I was in shock." Western Australian Institute of Sport gymnastics program manager, Liz Chetkovich, believed failing to win Gold in the floor exercise at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and to take Lori Strong's Commonwealth record in terms of medals won was the motivational force behind Mitchell's World Championships success, stating: "For her, not having the icing on the cake was a very good thing...It was a real motivator for her, and fortunately it helped her put her technique together when it really counted. In the end, it was a stunning victory".
At the DTB Pokal World Cup in Stuttgart, Germany, in November 2010, Mitchell won gold on the floor (14.275), beam (15.325), and uneven bars (14.150). In doing so, she became the first Australian gymnast to win three gold medals at a single World Cup event. Commenting on Mitchell's achievement, Australian women’s head coach, Peggy Liddick, stated: "When she won floor tonight, I thought that’s fantastic she’s backed up her world championships performance. That almost means as much as the world championships because it just proves that she’s not a one hit wonder, that she’s a consistent performer and she can go in three weeks later and back herself up. Her beam score of 15.375, which is a normal beam routine for her, would have been enough for a gold medal at the world championships. We were both so disappointed with the scoring at worlds, we thought Lauren did a great job but she just didn’t get that score. So that just proves she is also a medal contender on beam. And the bars are not her best event and there was no pressure on her because we weren’t expecting her to medal. She’s had a bit of a sore shoulder and hasn’t done much training on bars, and we were even thinking about pulling her out to give that shoulder a rest. But she opted to stay in and she did the best bars routine she’s done all year. Last night was a success, not only because she won the medals, but it was a statement that she’s a true professional, that she loves her gymnastics and when she goes out she can back herself up. Keep that history book open, just love the achievements that we’re making at the moment."
Mitchell next competed at the Glasgow grand prix world cup event in late November 2010 where she won 2 further gold medals on beam (14.675) and in the floor exercise (14.800). She also won bronze on the uneven bars (13.725). Mitchell said of all her achievements that: "It's been an amazing few months, not only for me but for the whole Australian Team. The Commonwealth Games was a great chance for us all to compete in a big event and get experience ahead of the World Championships, which were the big aim for the whole Team. To qualify for the next step of the Olympic Qualifications was key so we were really happy with that and then of course for me to win the Floor title was just the icing on the cake - the day just went perfectly for me and I was amazed to get the title! From there I've been really hectic traveling to lots of events, which have given me great experience. Here in Glasgow, I've been really happy with my performance and the two titles as the equipment wasn't what I was used too so it shows that I can adapt and work in a range of environments which is important and shows I'm developing. Traveling to all these events is great but what really keeps me going is knowing that I have some amazing support from back home in Australia, it makes me job much easier knowing people are supporting me."
In December 2010, Mitchell competed at the Toyota Cup in Japan where she won gold on the beam.
On 5 March 2011, Mitchell competed in the AT&T American Cup at Jacksonville, Florida where she finished sixth in the all-around competition. She then competed at the Bercy World Cup (French International) from the 19–20 March 2011 where she finished fourth on the beam.
In an interview with Alexa Ainsworth from Universal Sports, Mitchell said of her preparations for the 2012 Olympics that Australian head coach, Peggy Liddick "doesn't like us making too many changes the year of the Olympics, so most of the changes will be this year and if it's not stable than we won't do it. If we're going to put in upgrades it will be this year".
At the Japan Cup in Tokyo in early July 2011, Mitchell came fourth in the all-around with a combined score of 53.750, debuting her new floor routine in the process. She also finished fourth with the Australian team in the team competition.
Later in July 2011, Mitchell won gold on the all-around, the vault, the beam, and in the floor exercise at the Australian National Championships.
After selection trials during 17–18 September 2011, which took place at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, Mitchell was selected for the Australian team to compete at the 2011 World Championships which took place in Tokyo from the 8–16 October 2011. During the trials, Mitchell's standout performance was a score of 15.300 on the vault. She qualified to the all-around and as a reserve for the floor exercise final. She placed thirteenth in the all-around. In the floor final, Mitchell was put in to replace Romania's Diana Bulimar. In her routine, she mistakenly omitted one of her leaps in her series before her final tumbling pass. She was able to quickly add an extra leap series to fulfill the element requirement. She placed fifth.
2012Mitchell competed at the Zibo World Cup, where she won bronze on balance beam and gold on floor exercise.
In June, Mitchell was named to the Australian team for the London Olympics.
During qualifications, despite the Australian team failing to make the team final, Mitchell qualified fifth to the floor exercise final. She placed fifth in the final with a score of 14.833.
Mitchell had been dealing with a shoulder injury coming into the Olympics. She had surgery following the conclusion of the Games, and spent 2013 recovering from it. Mitchell has said she wants to return to competition, and hopes to make a Commonwealth Games and World Championship team before her retirement.
In January 2014, Mitchell was selected to compete at the Doha World Cup, her first international competition since the Olympics, where she unveiled a brand new floor routine and placed fourth. She competed at the Victorian Championships in April, winning balance beam and floor exercise gold, all-around bronze, and placing fourth on vault. She competed at the Korea Cup that month, placing fourth on floor.
In May, she competed at the Australian National Championships, winning floor gold and balance beam bronze. She was named to the Australian team for the Commonwealth Games, winning team and floor exercise silver and placing sixth on beam. She was set to compete for Australia at the World Championships, but withdrew with an injury.
Intent on returning to the Olympics again, Mitchell returned to competition at the Australian National Championships in May, winning gold on floor and placing fourth on beam. She was set to compete at the Universiade in Gwangju, South Korea, but tore her ACL. She had surgery in July and kept training for the Rio Olympics.
Mitchell's return to competition came at the Australian Nationals in late May. She only competed balance beam and floor exercise, winning gold on the former and bronze on the latter. Unfortunately, Mitchell was not selected to represent Australia at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. She retired from gymnastics in late September.
2008-2011 - "Eastbound" by Peter Muller
2011-2012 - "Besame Mucho" by Freddy Mercury
2014-2016 - "Lean Back" by Josh Vietti