Mitchell unsure if she ll roll on to Rio
Mitchell unsure if she'll roll on to Rio

WA gymnast Lauren Mitchell does not want to think about Rio de Janeiro just yet.

But if national coach Peggy Liddick has her way the star of the Australian team will continue towards the next Olympic Games in 2016.

Mitchell fell agonisingly short of winning the nation's first artistic gymnastic Olympic medal on Tuesday night when she finished fifth in the floor exercise final, with a score of 14.833.

American's Alexandra Raisman won gold with 15.600, beating Romania's Catalina Ponor (15.200) and Russian Aliya Mustafina (14.900).

It could turn out to have been Mitchell's last routine in an Olympic arena, given her admission that her drive has diminished since her first Games four years ago.

"After Beijing I was like, 'yeah, London, bring it on'," she said. "But 25 is getting on for a gymnast."

Asked what she would do next, she said: "Next few years: no idea. Next six months: there's some World Cups and stuff coming up, so I'm hoping I get to go to a few of those.

"I'll see how my body feels and see how my mind feels next year or the year after."

Mitchell hinted that the lure of simply competing at a third Games would not be enough of an incentive.

"I think this time it was a little bit tougher because I'd already been to the Olympics," she said.

"You don't have that ultimate goal of 'I want to go to the Olympics'.

"You kind of have to change your goals and I think that's what I did this time round. My goal was to make a final. Like I've always said, anything can happen in a final."

Liddick said she would do everything possible to keep Mitchell in the program but acknowledged the biomedical science student might want to reduce her workload in the gym.

Twice a silver medallist at the world championships, Mitchell also won gold on the floor in the sport's elite competition in Rotterdam two years ago.

Liddick said her achievements already had been an inspiration to young gymnasts and her continued presence in the program would help sustain that.

"We all need a little bit of a break," Liddick said. "My gut instinct is, and from talking with her, that she will continue with it.

"She might not do all-around again but I think she'll continue, and I'll do all I can to help her out.

"She's had many hurdles to overcome with injuries but she got through it with her work ethic. She's the first one in the gym and the last one out."

Mitchell, who dropped bars from her London program because of a shoulder problem, also was hindered by an abdominal strain in the days before qualification. But she refused to use it as an excuse, claiming she had felt fit and ready to perform going into the final.

The West Australian

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