TASS alumna leaps to senior world tumbling silver

Tumbler Shanice Davidson during the medal ceremony at the 2018 world championships (Credit: Mike Driscoll)

Shanice Davidson continues to forge her reputation as one of the most talented tumblers in the world. We chatted with the TASS alumna.

TASS: In the two years since we last caught up, how has your tumbling career progressed and have you experienced any significant setbacks?

Shanice Davidson:  Towards the end of 2016 I underwent surgery on my foot so had to take time out to rest but began training again early 2017. 2017 was quite a tough year as, after coming back from injury and training very hard, I didn’t make the team for the world championships. That was really tough as I hadn’t missed a worlds since the age of 11. But instead of letting it get to me, it motivated me even more to push myself to make the European Championship team in early 2018.

TASS: Are you tumbling full-time now or are you still combining your sport with education/employment?

SD: I’m a full-time coach at the centre I train at so most days I train on a morning and coach in the afternoon.

TASS: Going into the trampoline, tumbling and DMT world championship earlier this year what were your expectations?

SD: I didn’t have many expectations as it was my first time at a senior world championships. I wanted to go out there and do two good tumbles to my feet but in the back of my mind I wanted to try get top eight. Due to the two athletes per country rule I also knew that a top eight finish would not be good enough if the other Brits finished ahead of me. To make it to the finals was just amazing.

TASS: How did you find the overall experience – on and off the floor?

SD: I found the whole experience amazing. It was, by far, one of the best world championship events I have ever been to – from the team of staff out there with us to the arena and even the city of St Petersburg – everything was just amazing.

TASS: How did you feel when you realised you’d claimed the silver medal?

SD: When I’m on the competition floor I try not to watch other people or look at the scores so I only knew what scores I got and I knew they were a personal best. Because I was doing a lower difficulty than most other girls I thought they had scored higher so I assumed I would end up in fifth place – the same as in the preliminaries. When I finished my second pass and my coach said I would be in the medals I said ‘no, I don’t think I am’. He got the scores up and there was only Jia Fangfang left to go and I expected she would go into first as she is just incredible and has the biggest difficulty. I knew then that I had the silver medal and I just couldn’t believe it. I even shed a few tears!

TASS: Do you feel as if your success can have a positive impact inspiring more young women in England to tumble?

SD: Yes – I’ve seen it already within the gym I coach at.

TASS: Is there still work to do when it comes to improving the profile of your sport?

SD: Definitely. Tumbling is such an incredible sport that most people have never seen before – if they did they’d love it!

TASS: Were your grandparents able to watch you in Russia?

SD: My nanna and grandad didn’t go out to Russia to watch but they watched from home on the live stream.

TASS: You have always referred to the support you receive from your grandparents Billy and Sheila – are they still a key part of your ‘backroom team’?

SD: Yes they are still a huge part of my support team. They are always cheering me on in the background.

TASS: Will you have some time off in the next few weeks and will you be enjoying a family Christmas?

SD: At the moment I am in Christmas displays at the gym (Durham City) to raise funds to improve our facility. Once they are over I am having two weeks off to enjoy Christmas with my family and friends.

TASS: What are your plans for 2019 and which major competitions are coming up?

SD: In 2019 I want to look at upping my difficulty in both my passes ready for the World Championships in Japan at the end of the year.

TASS: Looking back on your time as a TASS athlete, how did you benefit from the support and services available?

SD: Being on TASS was incredible – from the physio on hand whenever I was in need, to going to S&C every week to helping improve my performance and, of course, all the guidance and support they provided me.

TASS: Why would you encourage young people to give tumbling a go?

SD: It’s such an incredible sport that provides so many opportunities and helps build many characteristics such as commitment and confidence. And it’s always opening doors to friendships for life.