SAM OFFORD THANK YOU
After more than 20 years in the game it is time for me to officially announce my retirement from competitive gymnastics. I have had some of the most amazing and life changes experiences through the sport of Gymnastics and after much deliberation I have decided to hang up the guards!
Unfortunately you can’t be an elite gymnast forever and at this time I look back on all that gymnastics has given me. I have achieved all that I can in my career and I feel like it is a good time to step out of the sport and onto other challenges. I have made life longs friendships, been through a whirlwind of emotions and seen places I never would have dreamed gymnastics could have taken me. I have been extremely successful in my gymnastics career and anyone who is involved in gymnastics knows, this success is due to a myriad of team members that I would like to take this opportunity to thank. Please forgive me if I forget anyone, I will do my best.
All of the coaches I have had obviously shaped me into the gymnast and person I have become but a special mention must go to my first coach, the late Bruce Edwards. You showed me, years after coaching me, how to be an exceptional human being and I miss you every day mate. I am privileged to say I was one of your gymnasts. Hope your well!
Coaches including Phil Noack, Jeb Silsbury, Warwick Forbes, Vladimir Vatkin, John Curtin, and the other state program coaches. Thank you all for each imparting your knowledge and wisdom onto me over the years. To Paul Szyjko, you helped shaped me into the gymnast I am today in my junior days and without your influence and insight I wouldn’t have had that success. Finally, Yu Bo, thank you for pushing me when I didn’t feel up to it, thank you for putting up with me, thank you for ensuring I was turning into a good person as well as a good gymnast. You are a great teacher, motivator and person. It has been a pleasure. I hope you got as much satisfaction in my achievements as I did. We did this together.
Organisations including Gymnastics Australia, Gymnastics South Australia, SASI & the AIS, my first club Koorana and my last club Gym-JETS. You all showed faith in me and my ability, thank you and I hope my career results have returned the favour. Thanks also to everyone at UniSA especially in the Physiotherapy program to allow me to study whilst chasing my sporting dreams.
Of special note, thank you to SASI for throwing me a lifeline when I returned from the AIS. Without your assistance I don’t know where my gymnastics career would have gone. Thanks to all the hard working staff for getting Yu Bo and I to the top.
Support staff including SASI doctors Peter Barnes and Geoff Verrall, my massage man Scott Weeks, thanks for having me in your home, Physio’s (the profession of champions) David Spurrier, Michael Heynen and Phil Cossens who has been a friend, a soundboard and a physio thank you for everything, especially January 2012!
To all my friends from school, gym, university and everywhere in between! You have all seen me through good and bad times and all of you have had a positive influence on my gym career and my life!
To my training partners here in SA over the years, thanks for everything! Special mentions to Peter, Brad, Jonny, Sean, Clay, Chris, BJ, Ben and Carter for the last few years since returning from the AIS. You boys kept me interested and kept me striving whilst at home. The boys from when I was at the AIS, Arne, AJ, Danny, Matty and the rest thanks for a great two years! If only it could have been longer! Everyone from all the other states, thanks for an awesome ride. I have made life-long friendships created through gymnastics that will all live on even though I have left the competition gym behind.
Thank you also to all the international friends I have made! Hopefully I can make a trip to see some of you again! Keep in touch!
Thanks also to Grant Harrison, Andrew Selwood and the staff at the TAB. You have been so flexible since I started working with you 5 or so years ago! You always gave me the freedom I needed to work but also chase my dreams. Cheers!
My second family, the Gym-JETS community. Thank you to all the coaches and athletes that have been and are involved with this special program. I have been involved with this gym since I was seven years old and it shows that it is a perfect platform for international success. I have a huge amount of belief in this program, thank you for providing the environment for me to reach my full potential which is all that I ask. I will miss coming in everyday, perhaps not in the mornings though!
To the Gymnastics community of South Australia! I can’t thank you enough for the support that I have had from all of you over the 20 odd years I have been competing here and abroad. Whenever I am in the gym I have people asking how I am gong and congratulating me on my latest results. We are only a small state but we can achieve on the big stage. I hope that my involvement in gymnastics in SA has inspired excited and entertained. I hope that if nothing else I have shown the next generation of young gymnasts that being successful is possible no matter where you are from and which gym you train in. Achieve something every day and see how far you can go. Thanks again for the unwavering support. I am honoured to have represented you and I hope that I have done you all proud.
Most importantly, to my family! Mum and Dad, words cannot describe my gratitude for all you have done and continue to do for me! I always knew you were doing everything you could for me and nothing I do will repay you for all you have done! Zoe, you have been so supportive of my gymnastics career and made plenty of sacrifices along the way as you have grown up! I can’t thank you enough and I love you to bits! My beautiful girlfriend Manel, thank you, and your family, for the unwavering support you have shown me as well.
Once again, thank you all for everything! The memories will live with me forever! It has been a wild ride, but now it’s time to live what they call a normal life! Hopefully the mark I have left on the gym world is a positive one. I have loved every minute of it! Cheers!