Precisely one week before Women’s Day, on Sunday 2 August 2020, the plan for 18-year-old gymnast, Caitlin Rooskrantz, was to compete on the uneven bars at the Olympics. But with the games postponed, #TheOlympian has a new plan.
To celebrate her lifetime of dedication and help Caitlin still reach her goals – albeit in a different way, Sanlam will be live streaming her routine on the exact day she planned to perform it in Tokyo. Join us in cheering her on.
“Caitlin is an extraordinary athlete and an inspiring example for us all, of someone who has not let challenges get the better of her, but instead let them make her better. Her unwavering commitment and positive attitude is infectious and so beautifully reflects our ethos at Sanlam of building resilience and staying the course, even when faced with setbacks and unforeseen disruptions,” says Sanlam’s Head of Brand, Mariska Oosthuizen.
Indeed, the road to Tokyo and the Games has not been an easy one for Caitlin. Having endured her fair share of changed plans, Caitlin first set her sights on competing in the Olympics when she was just 11. Multiple injuries then followed – a series of which took her out of the competition circuit for almost 3 consecutive years. Despite these challenges, Caitlin has come back again and again to show herself and the world what she’s made of.
Behind every successful woman is usually other women cheering her on, and in this regard, Caitlin is no exception. Having lost her father at 8-years-old, Caitlin’s mother not only raised her and her brother on her own, but made it possible for Caitlin to become the athlete she is today. In Caitlin’s own words:
“My mom is my hero. She sacrificed a lot of herself – she gave up her full time job to be able to accommodate me – taking me to all the practices, picking me up when it was already dark, making sure there was always dinner, every day. She just made it work… despite the complexities of it all.”
Her coach, Ilse Pelser, is another woman who has played a crucial part in Caitlin’s success – consistently supporting her on and off the bars.
Reflecting on her most recent change of plans (the Olympic Games being postponed), 18-year-old Caitlin is as inspirational as she is tenacious:
“I told my coach – the dream hasn’t changed, only the timeline has shifted.”
With her sights now set on making her routines even better for the Games that will now be held in 2021, the live stream of her routine on the day she would have performed it this year is all the extra motivation she needed.
“The thought that all my preparation for this year’s Olympics will not be in vain, and might even help to give our country something positive to get behind, is like a new dream come true.”
Although certainly not the Olympics, this is truly an opportunity for all South Africans to get behind an inspirational woman, and to remember her words as we do so, that our dreams need not change – only the timeline.