JESSICA: Remember this show is PG13, so you might hear a naughty word or two.
LISA: Theres no grey area, I dont feel with myself and Ive kind of come to realise Im not everybodys cup of tea but really Im quite happy Im not everyones cup of tea? Id much rather be a full glass of Courvoisier that is better with age and, you know, is an acquired taste.
[INTRO MUSIC EXPRESS YOURSELF]
JESSICA: This week, Lisa Mason is here. The British legend and 32yearold elite gymnast talks about her comeback, her decision to become a mother, being a normalsized human gymnast shes 5 foot seven, throwing impromptu dance parties at the Tianjin World Championships in
1999, and the importance of ballet, people. Yes, ballet. This is episode 137 for February 18th Im Jessica, Im joined by Emma and this is the bestgymnastics podcast ever, bringing you all the most fascinating people from around the gymternet and I just wanna remind you guys, if you love the show, please consider supporting us. You know the rules, if youve listened five times, you basically have to donate whatever you want. It can be five dollars a month? it can be a dollar a month. You have to do something. If you cant do that, you can rate us on iTunes or rate us on Stitcher, you can use our Amazon bookmark and shop through there? a little portion of what you spend goes back to us. Just go to the homepage and youll see what to do. And remember we love hearing your feedback so you can email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, you can leave a voicemail, which we love, we love voicemails and thank you Dan for leaving a voicemail this week. You can call us at 415 800 3191 or on Skype, you can call us for free [singing] for free! For free from anywhere in the World, our username is gymcastic podcast. And of course you can follow us or ask us something on Twitter. We are
very chatty on Twitter. We get back to everyone.
JESSICA: We all know gymnastics is a whole lot more fun when youre not injured. Thats where
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EMMA: Before Louis Smith and Beth Tweddle, there was Lisa Mason. Lisa came to prominence at the Huntingdon Gymnastics Club home of Louis Smith, Dan Keatings, Luke Carson,
Rochelle Douglas and Marissa King. She broke down all of the barriers for British women in international competition. At fourteen, she was the youngest ever to win the senior British title and then went on to do it three times in a row a first for any Brit. She was the first Brit to win a Grand Prix gold, beating both Khorkina and Produnova. She made finals at the European
Championship and achieved the highest ever allaround placing for a British gymnast at World Championships. She helped Britain qualify a full team for the Sydney Olympics. This was the first time that GB had ever sent a full team. In Sydney, she qualified for the allaround finals, where she elected to compete vault again, after the height debacle. After the games she retired, started her own choreography company, became a stuntwoman, a sports model, and then became a mother in 2005. Leading up to the London Olympics in 2012, she was asked to perform in a gymnastics display at the games, along with Rebecca Wing, Danusia Francis and Marissa King. A few months later in January 2013, she announced her comeback and after only three months of training vault, she won the English vault title. In 2014, she was derailed at the English Championships by an ankle injury, but has since competed internationally again and started training allaround. Lisa is known for her frank and entertaining personality. See for yourself!
JESSICA: We started off by chatting about her daughters recent trampoline competition.
LISA: In trampolining. And she won, so she was happy.
EMMA: I saw. Amazing [claps] And shes like beautiful and tall and like you. LISA: Shes got big bubble butt though, cracks me up. Its so funny. JESSICA: Its gonna be excellent on trampoline, then. Its fantastic!
LISA: I was saying that today, though. All the girls are quite hippy in trampolining. EMMA: They are.
LISA: But she is one competing. She beat all the thirteen year olds. Shes only nine. EMMA: Wow.
JESSICA: Oh my gosh, thats so exciting!
LISA: So shes happy shes made the National Final. So that that actually might be in March, as well, so I might not even be able to go to it because it might be the weekend of the English or
the British, so.
EMMA: Oh God, thats rubbish.
LISA: But my mum gets to take her, so shell be happy. My mum cant watch me anyway because she gets too nervous. [laughs]
JESSICA: Was she like that when you were younger, or is she just like that now?
LISA: What, oh my mum? Yeah she kind of gets Im like my mum? I kind of just like speak my mind and not a lot of people like that, so I kind of banned her for a little while because shed say things and it would just upset people and I was like Gods sake, Mother! Just shush! Dont say anything to anyone? anyone listens. Just shush.If you think somethings unfair, dont say it. Just think it in your head.
LISA: Its hysterical. But yeah. Its good though.
EMMA: I have to ask you this: why did you decide after all those years to make a comeback? And hadnt you had enough the first time around?
LISA: Well no. I kind of came out of gymnastics and I werent ready. I was kind of like, came out of the Olympics and I just got a little bit bored of being a gymnast and wanted to be normal and turns out thats not as great as I thought it would be. And then I did the show in London, like the opening ceremony bit. And I was just doing all the skills I could do and my coach was like why dont you just come back? and Im like um…ok why not? You know. I only did one and I pulled my ITB band and it was so painful that I couldnt do the rest, so now
EMMA: Oh no.
LISA: Everyone said it was me on floor and it wasnt [laughs]
JESSICA: Tell us for you what a typical training day for you is like. Like how many hours do you train? What do your sessions consist of? What do you do?
LISA: Well it kind of it varies, really. Like on the days that I dont train, I generally go to like weights gyms and I go and workout at weights gyms and stuff. But in the gymnastics gym, I kind of do my own programme, really. Like I obviously do stuff with the girls but, you know, the stuff that they do and what I need is two completely different things. So normally its like warmup and well do like a basic conditioning and stuff but Ill go ahead and do like ballet and…Im quite old school so I will do your basic dorsal raises and leg lifts and chin ups and stuff like that and they do like little complex plank holds and everything like that. And then generally, to be fair, most of the time we do all four pieces like every night. So we train like four five hours like in the evening and I do that like five days a week, so.
LISA: Thats about it, really. And I squat a lot [laughs]
JESSICA: And everyone on Instagram appreciates your squats.
LISA: My coach doesnt appreciate my squats [laughs] He turned around to me the other day when I was on bars and I got stuck in handstand and I fell out and he was like Well lets be honest, Lisa, its not really a skill problem, its more of an arse problem isnt it? I was like
Thanks Vince, I appreciate that.
JESSICA: [laughs] But I mean you have a total power booty. Like when you do your series for beam, it looks like youre not even trying? you just have total ass
JESSICA: Like how can you complain about that?
LISA: When you dont see the back view, it shakes when it lands. [Jessica and Lisa laugh]
LISA: I had to work on that? I had to do a commercial and it was all in slow mo an oh my God, I nearly had a heart attack on there, Im like oh my God, my legs are shaking. So yeah Im kind of on a clean healthy eating and doing a lot more cardio to kind of slim down and, you know, relaxing a bit more on the weights and stuff at the moment. I need to get my backside into a leotard, so. It that worries me. I hate those things. Theyre not flattering.
JESSICA: But I bet you did sell like a million more tickets when you did the Heathrow Hunnies Christmas display. Because were all joking like I bet any dad that goes to that gym is like you know, I dont think one time is enough. I mean I think we need to go every night to this.
LISA: Do you know what, its so difficult doing those shows cos they do like two shows a night and it like we do a complete like I think all in all, its about I think its ten shows, we do. So,
you know, its backtoback kind of thing. Im quite good, though, like I dont join in all the dance? I literally just did the tumbling display. So like all the other girls do like eight dance routines and all that theyre like why arent you joining in? And Im like Im way too old to be sitting there dancing to whats that song? All about the bass. Oh lord. No I cant do it. Im too old for that. Id rather stand there and look pretty.
[Emma and Jessica laugh]
JESSICA: So speaking of tumbling, what was the hardest skill for you to get back and what was the easiest skill for you to get back?
LISA: Oh um…to be fair, I didnt I think because Id done so many numbers over the years, it wasnt really a matter of getting the tumbles back, it was a more having the legs to be able to not land on my face [laugh] so I didnt really find anything difficult to be I think this time round, because I dont have a crazy teenage head on me, you know, Im a lot more aware of what Im doing with my body. So I probably found things a lot easier this time because like I know what Im doing and coming from a coach’s point of view as well, I kind of understand more now than what I did as a gymnast before, so I wouldnt say there was anything too difficult, to be fair.
JESSICA: And in terms of just the impact on your body, is there anything youve changed from the way that you train, besides like the mental aspect. Do you do less numbers or what?
LISA: Yeah I do less numbers. My coach always says You know, youre at the point, Lisa,
where you can either warm up or compete. You cant do both [laughs] So I kind of just go in and do like little bits. Like I know my numbers, like I would rather like go into the gym and hit five beam routines clean than go into the gym and do ten beam routines and then not be able to
walk for like, you know, three days. So, you know, I know what I need to do in order to get the best out of me. And I know the skills, like I said, Ive done, you know, hundreds of the numbers? I think its a bit like riding a bike once you know the skill, you know the skill, you know. So thats been a I mean it freaks my coach out sometimes because at the British actually last year, I hadnt actually warmed up any of my vaults. I hadnt done my second vault, my handspring pike half, for about three days and because I rolled my ankle on the board in the warmup, I had like a grade two sprain and three torn ligaments, so I competed on that and hes like youre not possibly going to go and do this second vault, are you? and I was like course I am and he was like well you havent done it in three days and I was like Thats because Im a professional. Its fine [laughs] I come out and I nailed it and he just looks at me and goes You bugger. [laughs] I was like you shouldnt doubt me, you know, Vince. I do know what Im doing I think he just has a little heart attack sometimes, so.
JESSICA: And speaking of vault, how did you adjust to the new vaulting table and find your setting and all that kind of stuff? How did you have to change your technique for that?
LISA: Oh my God, it was a bloomin nightmare. It was really especially with Yurchenkos, like obviously on the old vault, it if you ever did Yurchenkos, it was like it was very whippy because you had the tiny little vault to get your hands on. So when I first came back to do, you know, Yurchenkos, I found it very very difficult to like adjust. I mean, its a lot harder. I find it a lot
harder to vault on this table than I do on the old one. If Im really honest because I feel like even with like handspring Tsuks and stuff, you can get right into the front of the old vault and you know, be able to block off more, whereas, you know, on this table, its flat and you can skim
your hands and, you know, I dont know, I just found the old vault a lot easier to vault on than the new one. It still kind of freaks me out a little bit if Im honest. But thats how it goes, you know [laughs]
JESSICA: Yes totally. Did you have any fear problems coming back? Was there anything, especially vault, where you just balked on it a bunch of times until you could make yourself go for it or anything that gave you trouble with fear?
LISA: I hmm let me think. Not really. Theres not really anything Ive gone like Ive blocked on. Like Ive been scared of skills, like oh my God how am I gonna do this? But I look like an absolute crazy person, Im going Lisa stop being so stupid, what are you scared of? Really, come on, think about it in the gym and these little girls are looking at me like Why is she talking to herself? And I think the scariest one cos I actually um relearnt my Tkatchev on bars and I havent done that for gosh nearly twenty years. So to get back up the last time I did it, like, the way that Im doing it is when I snapped my arm at the Nationals. So to get back up on the bar and do that again, like kind of freaked me out? I was like Oh my God oh my God oh my God oh my God so that was I would say probably the scariest, but I still got up and did it and, you know, I think Im probably just mind over matter isnt it, really?
JESSICA: Mmhmm. EMMA: Yeah.
JESSICA: So do you think youre gonna be doing allaround this year?
LISA: Yes definitely doing allaround. Definitely. Ive done a few Ive added a few skills into well all pieces actually, so I feel more confident its very difficult coming back. I had a lot of pressure when I first came back and I didnt I think it showed that I wasnt very confident. I mean I suffered really bad with nerves and, you know, I think now like this year I feel a lot stronger and I feel way more confident now and, you know, coming back, Ive got numbers Ive got more numbers behind me as well. You know, the programme Ive got set I think is better for me as
well so, you know Im actually really looking forward to going out and actually competing my new floor as well, so you know. Well see how it goes. Well see how it goes.
JESSICA: Were excited, for sure. So are there any new skills that youre working on or any skills like you used to do like the full on beam or anything that well be seeing this year.
LISA: Yeah Ive got on beam oh my God, Ive got like six lengths in my beam routine at the moment. Its crazy. Ill be doing my flic full again. Ive added in like a front somi but I do my front somi on beam like the old school way. Its like a jack front way.
JESSICA: Mmhmm. Yes.
LISA: So like its really weird, all the girls try to figure it out, like how do you do that? and Im like I dont know. Im just like It works in my head. I dont know, I use my butt to my advantage [laughs] Cos if I do it the old way, it just drops me down to my butt on the floor, so Ive added that. Ive upped my dismount. Been working two and a halves and triples. On floor Im still kind
of umming and ahhing what were doing with regards to tumbles. Ive got my full twisting double tuck back. Ive also learnt handspring two and a half forward, which, you know, are worth the same theyre both Es, so yeah so its kind of figuring out whats gonna work better because I kind of need to box smart, as they say.
LISA: You know, so yeah. Ive upped my vault as well, so working one and a halves. Ive been working doubles but I dont think its gonna be ready. So we shall see. I struggle actually doing half twists as oppose to doing like fulls. Like I find it so much easier to like double and triple than I would to like one and a half and two and a half.
LISA: I kind of feel like Im a pigeon thats been shot out of the sky when I half twist [laughs] JESSICA: [laughs]
LISA: Just like bang and Im like ugh. [laughs] Its not good.
JESSICA: Speaking of vault, I was totally thinking of you when I was watching Fragapane at Commonwealth Games and her in the vault finals, her I feel like your like Fragapane has great difficulty, but you have really nice form on everything. And especially on vault. And I feel
like thats definitely something that has been lost in vault as theres a lot of, you know, someone has a really high D score their difficulty is up there but their E score is like an eight or a seven point five because they have so many form problems. So do you think that you will have an advantage with in terms of your E score on vault?
LISA: Yeah definitely. I mean like thats when Im saying, like I wanna box smart. You know, thats what I need to take into account, you know. You look at Catherine Lyons, she shes beautiful to watch and her execution is just so minimal that she just doesnt matter that her difficulty is not up there, you know, and I know that the moment, kind of everyone is chasing that score, you know, and theyre not worried like you said about, you know, losing the deductions
on form but I think you know, Im always gonna be one of those classic gymnasts? its installed
in me now anyway, so and Rochelle comes from that generation and, you know, shes installed it in Catherine and her other little ones, so I think that will definitely be, well Im hoping its gonna be an advantage for me anyway [laughs]
JESSICA: Yes and so are we. Were on team good form over everything. That is what we love. LISA: You know I just go out there and put on a show, at least I make it look nice, though[laughs]
JESSICA: Well what are your goals for 2015? Do you have something specific in mind or are you just taking it one meet at a time, or?
LISA: Definitely one meet at a time. Its just its been difficult like because I just I everything kind of comes from the British, doesnt it? So I dont think really anyone knows what theyre doing kind of until they know the results from the British and stuff. I mean Ive got a few options but not kind of ready to discuss those yet [laughs] so I dont know, I just want to see how it goes for the English and British and then obviously make decisions from there. Obviously Ill be going out to IGC and stuff again this year and my coach was talking about a few club he wants to
take our club out to where was he saying, Slovakia or somewhere? I think. Some meet out there, so, you know, until I do the British, I dont really know what Im doing. Its kind of just like well see what happens.
JESSICA: Well were super excited to watch and see what happens. EMMA: Totally.
EMMA: Lisa, whos your current coach? Is it the same coach that you had in the olden days? LISA: In the olden days, no, in the olden days I had Terry Sharpington when I was at
Huntingdon. Unfortunately, Terry passed away like a few years back now so I actually train at Heathrow and my coaches are Vince and Michelle Walduck and Natalia Ilienko, actually. You might remember her? she was the World Champion.
EMMA: Oh my gosh. Yeah.
LISA: So shes my floor and vault coach. Michelles my beam coach and Vince is my bar coach. Its a really good team, like theyre good together, you know.
EMMA: They as well, at Heathrow, they have like a long line of beautiful gymnasts, dont they? Like, you know, Rebecca Wing and Nush and Laura, so youre in the best place, I think.
LISA: I think you know right now, definitely I feel just at home with them. Everything just fits in nicely and I think it, to be fair Ive been to a lot of, you know, clubs around the World and I think Heathrow sticks out, you know, massively for me because the loyalty that they show you is just something Ive never really experienced if Im honest and its more than just a gymnastics club, it is like a home. Like it doesnt matter how long like even when Becky Wing and stuff, they come back and they havent seen them for like two years, they come in and its like theyve never left so, you know, its completely different. Its home, you know?
EMMA: Thats lovely. Ok so we ask every gymnast whos had more than one coach the same question and its what did you learn at Huntingdon and at Heathrow that you use in your gymnastics?
LISA: God. I dont even know. I was I was [laughing] I think I was just mental when I was at Huntingdon. I was you know, I was a kid, wasnt I so being at Heathrow, you know, Im a grown adult. I dont really know. Thats a difficult question to answer.
JESSICA: Some people say like you know, they got their artistry from one gym and they got their tumbling or their vault technique from another and, you know.
LISA: Yeah ok. So then I would say then obviously like my artistry and stuff was very much installed from Huntingdon. You know I had my choreographer was Monica Beru and she was you know Marissas coach, you know she did choreo with Louis and, you know, Kaley Cook, all of them guys, like Dan Keatings and stuff as well. So ballet was was a massive part of our programme, you know, at Huntingdon. And I think I still do ballet now and I dont think a lot of people do it anymore and I think its a shame because, you know I think it can
EMMA: It is a shame.
LISA: It does help massively. I find it very weird, actually, that, you know, we kind of did everything. Like even in line warm up, like even if you never did a free walkover, youd still do it in lines, you know. We did absolutely everything in I think the basics that were instilled were what made gymnastics beautiful. I think its changed and its all about power now I guess. Like you were saying earlier on. But with regards to Heathrow, I think theyve…I guess they theyve taught me to enjoy it more, I guess. And take everything just in my stride and if it goes wrong, it goes wrong. If it doesnt, you know, great. Theyve taught me to be a lot more patient. So yeah I think thats probably the advantages and disadvantages of everything what Ive learned what Huntingdon and that, you know.
JESSICA: And so whats it like being back now, you know, working out with the girls who were maybe not even born when you competed last. Whats the dynamic like in the gym?
LISA: Oh do you know what, like I said, Heathows like not like any club that Ive ever been to. The kids there theyre just theyre just good kids. Theyre absolutely crazy. Like its funny actually because one of the younger ones, her names India, she was talking to me the other
day and she said My dad was asking me questions about you the other day, I was like oh God. Sitting there freaking out. And she was going No he was just asking if it was like really weird
and if I told her off in the gym because obviously Im like pretty much the same age as her mum[laughs]. And she goes But its not weird, is it Lisa? Because youre like one of us and I was like Right thanks India. I appreciate that [laughs] I was like Ive got my own child? I dont need to tell off anyone elses child, thank you. Its like my day off. When I go into the gym, Im in gymnast mode, not mummy mode. So.
JESSICA: [laughing] Oh I love that the other parents are wondering if youre disciplining their kids.
LISA: [laughing] Like thats your job, thats not my job.
JESSICA: So was Lilleshall around? Was there a national team camp programme when you were competing before and is have you been back or experienced that now?
LISA: Yeah, I mean we were the first to have the centralized system. So you know, we lived at Lilleshall. Oh God, living at Lilleshall. It was so hard [laughs] it was so hard. You think like in those days, we didnt have anything like we didnt have iPads and stuff like that, so , you know, we used to get up to so much just naughtiness and just oh gosh, yeah. It was it was very difficult. But like I said, we were the first like generation to have a centralized system there, so
we were there 24/7. We used to train six days a week, eight hours a day, so it was intense. Very intense. And its in the middle of nowhere anywhere so we couldnt even run away and go anywhere [laughing] so.
JESSICA: So what sort of trouble did you get up to? Can you share any of those stories? LISA: Oh my gosh. Lord. Well like I said, like we didnt have any iPads or anything like that so
we werent allowed in the bar cos all the coaches would be there so we used to break into the
gym. Thats really bad. [laughs] Me, Rochelle, Paula Thomas, Melissa Wilcox, I think Natalie Lucit was there. We literally just they never used to lock the front doors but they would always lock the gym doors so we used to climb like walk up onto the top of the balcony and we used to take it in turns to like jump down [laughs] So whoever would jump down first would go and get a crash mat so that everyone else could jump down safely. And wed literally just go absolutely mad and just double bounce each other on the trampolines. Wed be knackered and the coach would be sitting there wondering why the hell were were so tired. Wed be up we were like crazy I mean they kind of upgraded their cameras at one point so that they could see in the
dark [laughing] so they knew when we were breaking in like after a few years of doing it. But yeah we used to get up to all kinds of craziness. But its fun. Good memories though.
JESSICA: I love that like this is totally, you know everybody makes fun of that show Stick It
was it Stick It or no Make It or Break It, that we had on TV here. LISA: It felt like that was my life, though, Stick It.[Lisa and Emma laugh]
JESSICA: Yes! Im like no you guys, like people make fun of this but everything thats
happened in this really happened in gymnastics and this is more proof like they totally do this in
the show. They break in in the middle of the night and play around. Of course you did that. I love it.
LISA: Its funny cos when I went when I went to England squad training and Im sitting there with all the coaches, and they hear all these noises and the kids are in the gym, jumping around on the trampolines and Im absolutely killing myself with laughter. All the coaches are going mental and I was like you cant be mad at them half of you went into the gym and flipping did it yourselves [laughing] so you cant really be mad at them!
EMMA: When you first made your comeback, didnt you wear your original leos?
LISA: I did. I had leotards that were like older than the gymnasts I was competing against. It was crazy.
EMMA: Thats amazing.
LISA: I like to call it my vintage my vintage leotard. It was so funny. I came in, I think I had it was a black velour one, as well. It was fabulous. Loved it.
EMMA: There cant be much holding in in velour, can there? LISA: No but
EMMA: The ones now are like supertight, you could bounce a coin off them.
LISA: Oh my God, I feel like a Power Ranger. This is why I have to design my own leotards. I feel like someone has taken loads of Quality Street wrappers and stuck them together and put a made up leotard. Im like Im too old to be wearing foil around my body! Please stop. Let me design my own.
EMMA: Oh goodness. So I just made a casual observation over the past couple of years and theres so many older girls doing amazing things yourself, Adriana Crisci from Italy, Vasiliki, Chusovitina of course and Marta from Poland. We need like a like a…an older ladies league.
LISA: That would be actually pretty awesome. I dont know why no ones done that yet, to be fair.
EMMA: No, I dont either. I think you should do it. I think it should be called the Lisa Mason league.
LISA: [laughs] EMMA: Get it done.
LISA: Oh my God, I think theyre trying to keep everyone young forever, you know. So I dont know if that would happen.[laughs] It would be good. Maybe if someones listening they can organize that for us. The Golden League.
EMMA: That would be amazing.
LISA: Make sure theres prize money though. [laughs] EMMA: Yes. Yeah like like the World Cups.
EMMA: And I think theres so many guys out there that, you know, they wont make their National Teams any more but theyre still like on the cusp of it, you know, so get lets get a Golden League sorted.
LISA: I think everybody brings something else. I think the older you get, obviously the wiser you are. I think the older generation like myself and the guys you were mentioning, I think we bring a certain pizzazz to it. Definitely.
EMMA: Yeah. definitely.
LISA: You know? Throw, you know, Ponor in there as well. Itll be good. [laughs] EMMA: Oh yeah. I think shes coming back for another comeback.
LISA: Apparently so.
EMMA: So we shall see. So let me talk about leogate. So for the British last year, you designed your own leotard with Milano, the leo company. And it was so beautiful and then a few months later, team GB wore the exact same one in Nanning. Did you think this was really annoying that they used your design or were you super flattered that they were wearing it?
LISA: I wouldnt say annoying. Whats the saying that they say? The highest form of flattery is, you know, what do they call it?
EMMA: Umm JESSICA: Imitation? LISA: Thats the one.
EMMA: Imitation is the highest form of flattery
LISA: The highest form of flattery is imitation so, you know, thats the way I kind of saw it. You know. If I couldnt be there, the leotard was. [laughs]
EMMA: Yeah. Fair play to you.
LISA: But no I wasnt like upset about that. You know. I think they came out really good, they looked good in the red and very flattering in the training leotard, so.
LISA: Yeah, no it was good. There are some fabulous designs for the British this year, though. EMMA: Oh hurrah. Cant wait to see that.
LISA: I like to do mine all different. Its funny. I think the designers at Milano, they get quite annoyed with me cos Im like can I have this and can you do this and make it so it does this and go up more and do that and can we have a high neck, and not a low neck and da da da da da da da and theyre just like [sighs]. Its always back and forth. I need my own line of leotards, thats what I need. The Lisa Mason signature collection. Id be quite happy with that.
LISA: What it is, I feel like leotards are kind of made well, they are made for young girls and there is a lot of money in leotard sales are in lower level gymnastics, lets be honest, because most of the top ones get theirs free anyway. So you know I think a lot of those girls are not doing those hours and they dont look like, you know, these elite gymnasts and they are more curvy and I think, you know, leotards do need to kind of, you know, definitely change a little bit and at least kind of make curvier girls a little bit more flattering in a leotard as oppose to making them look bigger than they actually are, you know.
EMMA: I totally agree.
LISA: I think theres a market for it, you know. Just finding someone that will come in with me, there you are. [laughs]
EMMA: Yeah totally agree. This episode of GymCastics like the Apprentice or Dragons Den. Were having so many ideas.
LISA: I know [laughs]
JESSICA: I know. Ive already decided Louis Smith and you have to go into business together. New leotards and the Golden League. We have to make this happen.
JESSICA: Im gonna give him a call after this. LISA: [laughs]
EMMA: Hes too busy with his hot tubs. JESSICA: His hot tubs.
LISA: And hes got a girlfriend.
JESSICA: Hes doing that show, though, later this year, he said in some one of those famous theatres that you have, like gymnastics parkour kind of IGCish
EMMA: Yes. Albert Hall. JESSICA: Yes.
LISA: Royal Albert Hall. I dont know. We dont know. Louis always keeps his business quite close to his chest, so.
JESSICA: He does, well. Ill just let him know all of my thoughts. Even if he has no interest, Ill just tell him. Do you think when we talked to Louis on the show, he was kind of like and youve admitted this too, he was like we asked him do you get distracted by all of the beautiful women training in the gym um and he was like you know, Lisa always used to crack me up because she had quite a strong personality very diplomatic strong personality, you used to crack him up when he was growing up in the gym. And youve also talked about that, that you were kind of a diva when you were training when you were younger and did admit that you could have worked harder. Like do you think that you could have achieved more if you were more serious or had a different perspective when you were younger?
LISA: Um…potentially. I think the era that I was in, it was very very different. It wasnt so much about what you could do? it was more about who you knew and what leotards you were in as oppose to, you know, the skill work and and and doing that. Cos you know, when it came to competition, I always, you know, pulled it out of the bag and broke many records for Great Britain so, I think, you know, yes I could have been quite lazy but, you know, I dont Im much more a performer, I think, than the actual kind of hard graft that needs to do a thousand routines to feel comfortable to go and and perform it. You know?
JESSICA: And so there was definitely more politics back then?
LISA: Oh yes definitely. I mean theres always going to be politics in gymnastics because its based on peoples opinions isnt it? So is it a fair sport? No not really. Its not ever a clear win like athletics or something. Like I said its based on a panel of, you know judges and their opinions, you know, one might turn around and go oh that was only a point one deduction and one might go no well actually take a point three for that one. So its always someones opinion but I think its a lot harder to be as political as it was back then. Definitely its a lot harder to do it nowadays.
JESSICA: And do you I mean one of the things that I think the gymnastics fans always appreciate about you and one of the reasons that I think youre such a popular figure in gymnastics is of course because youve achieved so much, but that goes without saying, but also because youre a person who always wears your heart on your sleeve and youre, you know, known for being outspoken and we always know how you feel about things. Is there anything that you regret putting out there and you wish that you hadnt let people know what you were thinking right then?
LISA: I mean, do you know what it is? I think Ive learnt to have a lot more tact now [laughs] Thats the difference. You know what it is? Im not what I would deem as your more British type. I think correct me if Im wrong, Emma, but you know I think were very sit there, drink our tea like Kermit the Frog and not really say much. Theres no grey area I dont feel with myself and Ive come to realise that Im not everybodys cup of tea but really Im quite happy Im not everyones cup of tea? Id much rather be a nice tall glass of Courvoisier that is better with age and, you know, is an acquired taste so [laughs]
EMMA: Me too.
JESSICA: Thats a fabulous way to describe yourself, too. I love it.
EMMA: Tell us about your former and your current training partners so youve got like Louis and Dan and Rochelle and Marissa and then over at Heathrow theres Nush and Laura and Marissa etc. Tell us some stuff about those guys.
LISA: Well I never actually trained with Marissa at Huntingdon. She came like a lot later than me. Louis was always little. My training partner at Huntingdon was actually Paula Thomas. Um and she went to the Olympics as well, in Sydney.
EMMA: Thats right.
LISA: Shes probably like the only person from my team that I actually speak to. She is like my filter. When Im going a bit mental Ill ring her up and shes been one of my, you know, biggest supporters coming back as well. She keeps me sane but me and her were like it was crazy, we
met at Regional Squad when we were younger and I literally just said to her You need to come here. You need to be at Huntingdon. You cant be at this other club. Me and you need to be best friends And she was like ok [laughs] And she kind of just got up, left her gym club and came to Huntingdon and like, you know, weve just been she was like my sister I never had, you know and we were really really close so we always did mental things? she was the other one. Me and Rochelle, we obviously, we trained together at squad and we were just [laughing] oh we were just pains in the backsides to our coaches. We used to drive them up the wall. With regards to Heathrow, obviously Laura Mitchell has just gone out to the States and shes competing out there.
EMMA: Shes doing very well.
LISA: I am so so proud of her. Like she the last two years of me being at Heathrow, I have kind of like seen her grow from, you know, this teenage girl into this young woman and like find herself and…like Im so so proud of what shes doing right now and shes out there doing her thing and I miss her like crazy when shes not in the gym. We used to sit there and wind up Vince all the time. You know, shes such a good soul like her hearts really just
LISA: Shes a good girl. Ive got a lot of time for her, I really do. And like I said, very very proud of her so.
EMMA: Ok so lets talk about your daughter. So you had your daughter in your early twenties and how did you find the transition from youre an olympian to suddenly youre a mother with, you know, a million and one responsibilities?
LISA: Um I guess its like anything, isnt it? You kind of just, you know, you go with it and it was it was it was very strange because you know, you go from being so active to kind of just, you know, being at home with a lack of sleep and everything else but I think for me, she was, you know, shes definitely taught me to be very patient and, you know, I would say a hell of a lot more grateful for all the things I have. She was actually quite a sick baby so, you know, I was in and out of hospital with her a lot. So you know, Ive been…like I said, shes taught me a lot and shes, you know, made me realise that Ive got a lot to be grateful for. You know, I think she came at the right time, if Im honest with regards to that because in a place where I needed change, and I changed for her.
EMMA: Yeah. In 2004 you did a comeback and competed at the British Championships um but then in an interview you said that you fell pregnant and therefore had to give up that comeback plan. Could you tell us about the decision to become a mother at that time?
LISA: Well it was kind of like I didnt I didnt know [laughs]
LISA: [laughs] I only found out when I was three months pregnant, so it was EMMA: Wow. Were you still training then?
LISA: I was. EMMA: Wow.
LISA: I had literally just been I had only been in training for six months. I literally was training for six months. And then at the competition, I found out I was three months and I was like whoa. [laughs]
LISA: And it was just I guess it wasnt really an option for it to be anything else, you know. It was kind of, you know, things could have, you know, been different, I could have made other choices but I didnt think that maybe I could potentially have done followed through with that choice. You know, and at that point I had been with my partner at that point for you know a few years so I dont know it was just one of those things that happened and you know I dont regret it that I had do I wish Id waited a little bit? Yeah, but you know
EMMA: But then even though sort of my friends now are in their late thirties having babies. Theres no right time.
LISA: No definitely I dont think youre ever ready. EMMA: No.
LISA: Even if you plan. youre never ready and I do it by myself, you know, Im a single mum and I dont have help from her dad. Hes not around and my support system is my mum, you know, and none of this comeback would be possible without her, you know. My daughters so well behaved, anyone that meets her, like you know, shes got such good manners. She comes to the gym with me because shes a trampolinist so it works because she trains at the same time as me, you know, and shes just a very outgoing, you know, pleasant young girl and I couldnt really ask for a better child, to be fair. She complements my life. She doesnt make it
difficult and like I said, none of this comeback would never have been possible without my mum because, you know, when Im working at IGC, she goes to my mum and if Ive got Nationals and stuff, she goes to my mum and my mum is my backbone at the moment.
EMMA: Thats lovely. So Ive got to ask you some sort of silly ones now. Was your labour super fast and easy since you have the muscles of a superhuman?
LISA: It was not. I was in 23 hours of labour with her. It was horrible. EMMA: [laughing] Oh my God.
LISA: 23 hours. I remember when I actually gave birth to her, they were like do you want to hold her? and I was like No, I want to have a shower
LISA: I just wanted to get out, I just felt so gross. I didnt have any painkillers or anything. EMMA: See, you are superhuman.
LISA: [laughs] Its only because they scare me, they really do. Im not ready to have no needle in my spine [laughs]
EMMA: So a lot of Jess friends complain that they feel like they need to pee when they come back to gymnastics after giving birth. Especially on tumble and trampoline.
LISA: Oh yeah [laughs]
EMMA: Did you have to do any special Im saying this is not what I would say did you have to do any special vajayjay strengthening to get back to gymnastics?
LISA: [laughs] Oh my God, youre killing me right now! EMMA: [laughs]
JESSICA: Its a very serious question!
LISA: I should totally plug a Tena lady advert right now. EMMA: You should!
LISA: Im telling you its not only mothers that suffer with that. Other gymnasts do suffer from that problem.
EMMA: Oh my goodness.
LISA: No, not I never really did. I only did the exercises that my doctor told me to do after I had her. But you know, your pelvic floor exercises but thats it. Yeah some sexy bringing sexy back right now.
[Emma and Jessica laugh]
EMMA: Bet you dont wear mum jeans, though, Lisa. LISA: I dont.
EMMA: And I bet you never have.
LISA: No. I dont. Like its quite funny because I teach in schools as well and obviously a lot of the kids know me and like I think my daughter used to get a little bit embarrassed until all the kids were like oh my God, your mums so cool and she was like I know, I know. And like all these kids were coming up to me and they was like thirteen, they was like Miss, I love your trainers. Theyre sick! Youve got so much swag for a teacher!
LISA: I was like thank you, darlings. And then I got told off. They told me off because I couldnt wear my Jordans in school anymore because they distracted the children. I was like oh my God.
EMMA: Oh no. Thats sad So we love seeing your Instagram posts of your living room conditioning exercises and your no excuses mantra. A lot of parents complain they dont have any time or energy to do sports or hobbies of their own. What advice do you have for them?
LISA: Um I think its a difficult one cos everyones life is different and I think with regards to fitness and health, its a normal thing for me. Like thats my life. You know, and I think without sounding badminded, like a lot of people see it as a chore and cant be bothered. You know, and its a lot easier and to be fair, its hard. If youre on the breadline, to go out and eat healthy, you know, like I said I think I tweeted it on Twitter the other week, you can spend ten pounds in Iceland and get, you know, fries and chicken nuggets
EMMA: A whole weeks worth of food.
LISA: Worth of food and the ten pound will get me a salad and a drink in Wholefoods [laughing]
EMMA: Of course. Yeah. It is, its terrible.
LISA: I think its embracing it and making it part of your life and enjoying it as oppose to making it seem like its a chore and it is like little things, you know, like, you know, while youre sitting there watching TV, watching Eastenders, you know, stand up and do squats and watch Eastenders, you know or, you know, stretch out or do just little things. And I think, like I said, its finding the balance and embracing it as opposed to oh God, I cant be bothered.
EMMA: Yeah definitely.
LISA: And I think Im way too vain to let myself go, if Im honest. EMMA: Yay! Thats ace.
LISA: Im telling you. Im telling you.
JESSICA: Like this is the most time squats have ever been mentioned in one podcast. I love it. EMMA: Im gonna get out of bed in the morning and do some squats.
LISA: Well do you know what it is? Its my age. Gravitys not on my side now, ladies. I have to squat.
EMMA: Were older than you, miss Mason.
LISA: Well youre not trying to fit into a leotard! [laughs] JESSICA: Its true
LISA: I dont know, Emma, what you do with your part time but
JESSICA: So we always ask gymnasts on the show about normal human height and theres so many gymnasts who are considered tall when really theyre just normal people size. Like youre five seven, right?
JESSICA: Yep. And so I wonder, did anyone ever discourage you from doing gymnastics when you were younger, saying youre too tall for this?
LISA: Oh yeah definitely. I mean…like my the person I looked up to was Boginskaya because for me, she was the first gymnast that I saw that was like me. She had these long legs and she was just slim and she was just doing stuff that you know, she was this, you know, superstar in gymnastics so I loved her, you know, cos everyone else was saying oh no, youre too tall. You cant do that I mean, I could chuck some skills, you know, and I was doing like double layouts on floor and the National coach was telling me I wasnt allowed to do that because I was too tall and I was like But Im doing it. I can do it. I just showed you I can do it. You know, you cant do this cos youre too tall, you know, so yeah. I mean it does make it harder, especially on bars,
you know, manoeuvres are longer, I feel a bit sluggish on bars but yeah I was definitely told, you
know Youre not a naturally you know, youre not a natural gymnast are you? Its gonna be quite difficult for you And I just used to laugh. I like proving people wrong.
EMMA: Yes. JESSICA: Yes.
LISA: You know. Its that rebel in me. Someone says you cant do that, I go Yes I can. [laughs] Dont press the button Lisa! Ok, now Im gonna do it, Im gonna do it.
JESSICA: And has your daughter like she looks like shes gonna be tall, like you. Not tall like normal human height. Is her dad tall, do you think that she
LISA: No. I mean my daughters like well basically, the height thing comes from my mum. My mum is actually six foot one. My dad, however, is a five foot four Italian looking guy. So the height kind of comes from my mums side and the backside comes from my dads side so my daughter is gonna be tall like my mum. We were all very leggy and skinny when we were little, me and my brothers. So, you know, that height does definitely comes from my mums side.
JESSICA: And has she run into any negative comments about her height? Is she are you defending her from any nonsense like that?
LISA: No. I think to be honest, I think people are too scared to say anything to her. JESSICA: [laughs]
LISA: Because of who I am. It was quite funny, actually. Cos there was this one guy and I think he was giving my daughter a bit of gip in the gym. I called him up and said to him, I said listen, you do not tell my daughter what to do, thats what the coaches are there for And he just looked absolutely petrified and hes her best friend now. But no I think with regards to the coaches, Im very strict with her like this is why I didnt want her to go into artistic. I think its either a blessing or a curse her being in artistic because of who I am so I kind of wanted her to find something of her own. So, you know, trampolining and tumbling is something shes really good at. But, you know, I have to say to her coaches, dont not tell her off because of me, you know, if shes being a little madam, you tell her off. Dont be soft on her cos shes a cunning little madam. She definitely knows what shes doing. I dont know who she gets that from [laughs] But you know I have to say to her coaches, make sure shes doing it, dont be soft on her. Go on, just tell her
off, its fine. You know, so.
EMMA: Tell us about the work that youve done in the States with IGC and Pro Gym Challenge and those sorts of things and would you recommend them to any other gymnast?
LISA: Oh my God, definitely. IGC is like a gymnastics utopia. I absolutely love it. I cant wait to go back? Im getting withdrawal symptoms already. Its just its just awesome. What can I say? They have a slide that goes from the top of the hill to the bottom. Its a water slide. What can be better than that? And you have waffles for breakfast. I actually put on a lot of weight every time I go over there. Its terrible. I need to start cooking for myself when I go there. But I mean theyve got like five gyms. Its ridiculous. You know theyve got a beam gym and theyve got a vault gym and theyve got the Olympic pit gym. I mean this pit goes deep? I dont like going in it because literally you hit it and you just disappear. It freaked me out? I felt like I was going in a coffin. I was scared. I couldnt cope. I couldnt go back in the pit after that. Theyve got like dance halls, theyve got and its great because it really does get these kids together to become kids and I think, you know, social media has just taken over the world and all the kids have iPhones and iPads and the only way they know how to communicate properly is through text message and half of the time its short and you cant understand what theyre saying so it really does encourage the kids to bond and be kids. They take their phones off of them, theres no TVs, you know, its all team building exercises and communicating and, you know, its just so much fun and I think the kids have an absolute blast there I mean if you are, you know, a gym junkie, you will absolutely love it. Its so much fun and theres so many kids from so many different countries around the world that come and yeah I just couldnt plug it enough. Seriously its just you
know, theres not a facility in the world like it at all. And its an experience and if you can get a chance to go out, I would definitely definitely recommend it. Cos even with the coaches, cos there are coaches and like gym clubs that go out there and the coaches learn because they have, you know, some of the biggest heads in US gymnastics go out there and they do like tutorials with the coaches so the coaches learn at the same time as the gymnasts. You know, so everyone gets something out of it. You know you cant go there and say I didnt learn something. You know, whether it be in the gym or out of the gym, like I learnt how to communicate, you know theres always something youll gain from it. Its just so much fun. Its just so much fun.
EMMA: What was the Pro Gym Challenge like to do?
LISA: Oh it was awesome. Like, I think Im hoping theyre gonna do another series. You know the rumour is theyre going to. I dont know, you know, whats gonna happen but, you know, it was great because I made so many new friends when I did that and it was great to be back in the environment of people that you know, on my kind of level, I guess. You know? It was just it was like…everyone was just themselves. Obviously there were ups and downs with it, there
were so many personalities, some people clash and some people dont and some people get on and some people just are whatever, but you know, in general, it was just such a good experience. It was great. And I think it should be a continuous yearly thing. I think, you know, it brings a certain sexiness to the sport that I think is lacking. And I think it encourages older gymnasts particularly, to come out of college gymnastics and stuff and to maybe even
potentially stay on for that year or so just to go out and do that and cos its not about routines, its about, you know, doing something different and, you know, Jana Bieger, the stuff that that girl does is just absolutely crazy [laughing]
EMMA: Oh it makes me sad about her because, seriously, she should have gone to Germany then she would have gone to the Olympics and all that.
LISA: I think she was a talent that…I dont think they utilized her enough
EMMA: Exactly. Exactly.
LISA: But I think thats a common thing that happens in gymnastics EMMA: Yeah.
LISA: If someone just doesnt fit.
EMMA: So let me just quickly sneak in another TV gymnastics question. Tumble recently on in the UK: did you get asked to be involved with that?
LISA: [laughs] I did get asked. I did get asked to be one of the um EMMA: Pros?
LISA: Professionals. But I got told that my personality would outshine the celebrities. EMMA: [laughs] Yes it would!
LISA: And I was like well make me a judge and they were like yeah but weve got four judges and I was like but theres three guys and one girl. Thats not fair [laughs] So yeah. I think yeah. I was a little bit disappointed if Im honest, because I was kind of looking forward to doing it.
EMMA: You would have shook it up a whole lot.
LISA: Yeah, I think, like I said, they wanted it all about the celebrities and I would have had an unfair advantage if I was the celebrity, so [laughs] Although I did try that hoop. Oh my God Ive never felt so sick in my life.
EMMA: Yeah. I bet you were bruised to anything, as well. LISA: Oh it was not nice. It was not nice at all.
EMMA: It looks like a torture implement.
LISA: [laughs] I was laughing because obviously my coach was one of the coaches.
EMMA: Yeah, Natalia.
LISA: Yeah and shes so funny. Shes like I cant cope. Im never gonna complain about these gymnasts ever again. She goes everything hurts, I just wanna cry all the time, it just does my head in! [laughs]
EMMA: Oh my goodness.
LISA: I think it was really difficult. I think they took on the challenge very very well. I think they thought it was gonna be a lot easier because gymnasts make it look so easy.
LISA: You know and I think the only people that can really understand what those celebrities went through were people in the sport because everyone else from the outside would go oh thats rubbish, shes only doing a forward roll and its like well actually, you know, some people cant even hold their own body weight on a bar, let alone, you know.
EMMA: Some people cant even touch their toes.
LISA: Exactly. So these guys literally did get put through bootcamp and it was very difficult and, like I said, I think they did really well with what they did, you know, but for a show that would reoccur, you know, I dont know if it was good enough in that sense of things.
EMMA: So, moving on swiftly to boys. Tell us about your love for the US boys, cos I see youre big friends with Paul Ruggeri, who I absolutely love and I think hes just put him on a team already! For goodness sake.
LISA: I know. He is one of the most talented gymnasts that I know. I love him. Ive got so much time for him.
EMMA: I love him.
LISA: I know. Hes a sweetheart. He really is. We have such good like facetimes, which are ridiculous. Hes actually coming over in a couple of weeks
LISA: So Im hoping hell have a chance to play with me before he goes off to compete in France. You know, theres a couple of I do speak like Brandon Wynn, I speak to a lot, as well. And Danell.
LISA: Mr. Leyva. I talk to him a lot. Thats it really. Jesse Silverstein, I do, but hes not sometimes he goes a little bit MIA and I dont know where he goes to, so hes kind of harder to track down but I just love them. The guys are so positive and just
EMMA: Yeah they are.
LISA: Theyre just good like genuine humble guys and I really have a lot of time for them and I think theyre just the type of guys that I really would have as my friends for the rest of my life, like they theyre just good people. They really are sweethearts, so got a lot of time for them.
EMMA: Thats good. I love the photos of you guys on the tube. On the train.
LISA: Oh they had a 24 hour layover. It was so much fun. I took them out in Soho, actually.. EMMA: Woohoo!
LISA: It was so funny. We ended up going to this bar called Madame Jojos and it was hilarious. We walked all and it was like timewarped back to the eighties. It was an old hip hop club and everyone was battling. So of course were gymnasts we started doing like flares and windmills in the middle of the dance floor and all these guys are looking at us like what?! Dude, youre awesome and theyre like yep we are.
LISA: It was so good. So much fun.
EMMA: Amazing. So when are you and Olivia Vivian getting your own reality show?
LISA: She needs to move over here first! Or I need to move out there. Shes doing big things though at the moment. I think shes trying to set up her own business and stuff and, you know, I love her. I think me and Olivia are very similar and I think shes has the influence of the American way of living, so Olivias like me? theres no grey area, shes black and white and it is what it is and, again, they either love her or they hate her and I just
EMMA: Where did you meet her?
LISA: We met at IGC. She was actually over with the Australian team. So she was over with Peggy and her coach and the rest of the juniors. So she, I think, was the only senior at the time who was there so, you know, we just got on like a house on fire. Shes just absolutely nuts. I love her. I love people that are just positive
EMMA: Ive got a lot of time for her
EMMA: Because at the Commonwealth Games, she lined up, let all the kids put her medal on and she gave them all koala bears. Thats amazing.
LISA: Shes good like I think a lot of people can like interpret her wrong. But I just I know her heart and shes just I love her. Shes just freaking crazy. Its difficult that she lives so far away, you know, we will have to arrange either me flying out there or her coming over here and, you know, I dont know, well sort something. Definitely be a Snapchat and a Instagram moment when that happens. [laughs]
EMMA: So, if you werent in gymnastics, what would you be doing? LISA: Oh gosh, do you want me to answer that?
EMMA: Yeah [laughs]
LISA: Um, do you know what? Honestly, I had to decide what I wanted to do when I was about seven, eight, because I was in actually a dance school when I was little. So I used to do like ballet, I used to do tap, I used to do jazz and my coach was like well you need to make a decision what you want to do, because you need to either go full time dancing or full time gymnastics and I chose gymnastics.
EMMA: Thank God.
LISA: So I would either be a dancer or, do you know what? I love athletics. After the Olympics, I
went to go into athletics. EMMA: Oh really? What for?
LISA: It was hurdles because Linford Christie, I dont know if you know who he his? Olympic medalist?
EMMA: I know who he is. Olympic gold medalist.
LISA: Yeah. [laughs] Mr Lunchbox, himself. But he was my agent at the time, after I did Sydney, he was like come down and train with us and, you know, he absolutely killed me to the point where I vomited on the floor. Like he murdered me. He wanted me to go into hurdles cos he
was like youre the only gymnast I know that doesnt run like a gymnast. Youre flexible, youre fast twitch, I want you to do hurdles But he wanted me to move to Wales and I was like yeah, Im not ready for that [laughs] I cant do that. Ive just got back to normality. I cant I cant. So I think it would definitely be dancing or athletics.
JESSICA: Did you ever think about trying pole vault?
LISA: I did try pole vault. It annoyed me. I got very very bored very quickly. And you have to run like an absolute plonker with this big long stick on the top of you shoulder and you have to do it like a hundred million times, I was like I really dont wanna do this anymore I have like the attention span of a fly, sometimes. I cant I cant I feel like Dory out of Nemo sometimes. And I just cant do it. It bored me so much, I was like Im sorry, And I think the pole vaulting coach got quite upset cos I was like I dont want to do it and he was like But youre so good I was within my first lesson, I got over one of the jumps and he was like that stuffs like impossible, like
people dont do that for like, you know, months. I was like well there you go, done it. [laughs] JESSICA: And now Im done.
LISA: Well I was like yeah, Im done. I really dont wanna do this. I couldnt do the same thing, day in day out. Theres no variety at all, its just, you know, run with a big old stick and put it down in the floor and jump over and it bored me.
JESSICA: So I wanted to ask your about your like financial situation. Raising your daughter, supporting yourself and doing gymnastics because I know so many of the adult gymnasts that we talk to talk about how difficult it is to maintain after they become an adult because they dont have the funding from their country or the sponsorship of their country, all that kind of stuff. So how have you managed to do this financially if you dont mind talking about it and has the support increased since youve been successful at this comeback?
LISA: Its been very very difficult. Im not gonna lie. Ive been lucky enough to have help with my fees. Actually in October November last year, I was actually gonna finish because I just financially couldnt justify doing it because, you know, I literally travel over a hundred miles a
day to get to and from my gym and I work in schools, you know, Im no multimillionaire, you know theres only so much I can keep doing and I was blessed enough to have a woman approach me after the meet and said, you know, I hear that, you know, youre thinking about retirement because of financial problems and I said yeah, you know, and I explained a few things and she just said to me, you know, Id love to help you out with that and Id love to, you know, help finance, your your at least your petrol and be covered at least up to the Nationals and stuff, so she goes I think what youre doing is so amazing and I think we need more people like you in the sport and I think you have a lot more to prove to people and she goes, you know, Id love to back you and I found out who this woman was and it was Annette Stapleton, she was the female national coach of Great Britain. So she wrote me a cheque the next week and shes been my kind of angel in disguise, if you will. So, you know, I was very very close to quitting but
thats helped me. I still struggle, obviously, but [sighs] you kind of find a way to balance it. I work in the day, my daughters at school in the day and I go training at night, you know. So its just one of those things, trying to find a balance between being a full time athlete, a full time mum and working as well, so its hard but I think it builds character [laughs]
JESSICA: Definitely. And I love that it was a woman that came up to you and said that you. Like its great to have women supporting other women doing this kind of thing
LISA: I literally cried. Like I said to her Im so grateful. And I think for me it was like, it was so important for me because it was the first kind of ray of hope, if you will, or light that someones actually supporting me in this country, like someones actually believing in me. So it was good. Like the boost or, you know, that oomph to keep me going and to know that there are people out there that believe in what youre doing so.
EMMA: So Lisa what was it like in Germany competing at the Leverkusen Cup last year? Your first international in many years.
LISA: Oh I loved it. I really I thoroughly enjoyed it. Even though I was vomiting in the morning [laughing] and didnt think I was gonna compete, um and the the only way I can explain what this floor was like is you know when youre on a trampoline for your garden?
LISA: Now, you have the trampolines in your gym and then you have a trampoline in your garden and its so dead, isnt it?
LISA: Now this floor was like the dead trampoline in my garden. Like it was so bad, like I dont even know how I managed to not land on my face on my double pike [laughs] I really dont. But, you know, going out there everyone was suffering really bad, like I had to um change my whole bar routine because where I do turns on the bar, when I went up to handstand to push down on the bar to go into a Geinger roll, like you know to invert giants?
LISA: Um the whole bar literally moved because what happened was they didnt have the facilities to life the bars up so what they did was picked up the whole bars and put them on planks of wood. And it was just so dangerous! I was sitting there and I was just I literally I broke down in the gym and I said to the England coach like Im so sorry, but I cant do it, Im too scared. Like Im scared Im gonna hurt myself and hes like well what are you worried about? and I was literally I went to do a Geinger roll and the whole bar just went left right left right like that and he was like whoa whoa whoa off the bar! Off the bar!
EMMA: Oh my God.
LISA: My routine literally was jump over the bar, Geinger, bail to handstand, double pike. That was it. That was all I had in my bar routine. It was crazy and the floor yeah was terrible. But the rest of the beam and the vault was really good but, you know, the crowd was really really like friendly and I always enjoy competing abroad. I kind of always feel that Im in my element internationally.
LISA: You know, I always scored higher internationally than I did, kind of, you know EMMA: Which is why, why silly GB people, is Lisa not on the World Cup circuit? Please. LISA: [laughs] I would love to be out. I would have loved to.
EMMA: You would be amazing cos look whos out there now, youve got Chuso does it, the
Slovenian girls do it, Marta Pihan.
LISA: I think all these competitions, like for me, I was the first GB gymnast to win a medal out in EMMA: You were. Cottbus, by any chance?
LISA: Yeah, but you know what? The funny thing is with that when I competed in Cottbus, what they used to do, is everyone the top eight would compete their floor routines, and then whoever finished in the top two would then battle and go head to head and do their routines again. And then what would happen was they wouldnt put the scores up. So they would put you on two forklifts
EMMA: Ive seen it. Ive got one of those competitions on DVD and poor old Khorkina and someone else are sitting on these chairs and get raised up in the air.
EMMA: The one whos the winner.
LISA: The one whos the winner goes up higher. EMMA: Yes! [laughing] Its ridiculous yet genius.
LISA: Like we battled it? like it was a proper battle, you know, youre knackered after doing your floor routine and theyre like oh youre in second place, Lisa and Produnova was in first and it was like you two need to battle again and I was like oh lord And Im sitting there feeling like I need an inhaler and Im like oh lord, so Ive gone again and yeah, so I beat her, so I was like [squeals]
EMMA: In that floor, didnt you take down Produnova and Khorkina? LISA: I did.
LISA: But like I said, I always scored internationally. It was like it was really strange. But like I said earlier, you know, about politics and stuff like that. I remember doing the European Championships in St Petersburg and I made the European floor final and I went up and I competed and they put me into fourth place. And it was quite funny, I was so irritated because I knew Id done one of the best routines of my life at that point. And I will never forget like , you know Bellu? The national coach for Romania?
LISA: He actually came up to me and he shook my hand and he said I apologize and I was like
What are you apologizing for? and he was like I think you should have my gymnasts medal. You should have had silver And I was like oh? Could you tell the judges that, please? [laughs]
EMMA: Wow thats amazing. I love Bellu. LISA: Oh hes I love him.
EMMA: Ive chatted to him a few times but you know in Sofia, he came and thanked the supporters and I just thought that is a proper gentleman.
LISA: He really is a gentleman. He always has been. Even when we used to go over to Romania every year, for training and stuff we used to go to Deva and he would just he always looked out for us and just like I said, I think I was the first Brit to kind of do a lot of things so he I think he kind of my coaches were Romanian so he always was very friendly and looked out for me, you know. The Romanian girls were always, you know, looking out for me do you need
anything? Do you want us to chalk the bar for you? so they were always very supportive. It was nice.
EMMA: Oh thats cool. What was it like training in Deva?
LISA: Oh gosh, it was nuts [laughs] I mean, the first time we went, our showers were literally like pipes [laughs] thats it. It was crazy. I know its like really nice now and they had like a big injection of money and stuff but you know, when we went, were talking 1996, you know times and it was a very poor country at that point and
EMMA: Which girls did you train with at that time?
LISA: Oh gosh um
EMMA: Was it like the A squad with Milosevic and all?
LISA: Yes it was Milo and Gogean and, you know Presacan and all them lot, so yeah. EMMA: Did they let you hang out together or was it like strict just training and stuff?
LISA: No it was quite strict. We [laughs] do you know what I remember? Because we went to McDonald’s one time and we literally got all the little little girls the junior squad, we bought them all back a hamburger each, like a cheeseburger [laughs]
LISA: And we gave them to them and they took all the wrappers off and gave them back and were like you cant leave these wrappers in here! You need to take them! and I was like well there you go and they were like we love you! Thank you! [laughs]
EMMA: Oh that is amazing.
LISA: I remember a story of do you remember back in the day in the airports, you used to get those huge massive chocolate bars?
LISA: Well a couple of the Romanian girls hid a big one of those behind a picture frame and one of the national coaches found it
EMMA: Oh no.
LISA: And they literally ate the whole bar [laughing] as a punishment!
EMMA: Mind you, that wouldnt be a punishment for me, that would just be like a normal day
LISA: And just smile while youre eating it, like yes.
EMMA: I need to know about when Rochelle was on the show, she told us that you went busking in Belarus. So have you got any more Lisa/Rochelle adventures?
LISA: There are so many, like I couldnt even [laughs] There are so many. To be fair, there are a lot of them that I probably couldnt even tell you because we never got caught for them so [laughs] I dont want to bait myself up now. Um I think Romania we just did there are so many
things! Like I remember putting Natalie Lucitt into a suitcase and seeing how far we could chuck her down the stairs.
[Emma and Jessica laugh] EMMA: Oh my God.
LISA: She didnt like us at that point so we literally threw her down the stairs and knocked on the seniors door and we ran up the stairs and hid and theyre just looking at this suitcase and it starts rocking from back to forth and Natalie Lucitts Welsh and shes so funny and she opened
it up from the inside and she just popped her head out and went [Welsh accent] hellooo! Like and this senior turned around and she was like do you want me to push you down those stairs? and she went no! she jumped out of this suitcase, she legged it up and she was starkers
naked, run upstairs forgot the suitcase, she had to run back down and pick up the suitcase? oh my God, she was in so much trouble. It was so funny though.
EMMA: So was there any of your escapades that if your daughter did now, you would be absolutely horrified at her for?
LISA: No because everything we did it was just it was just it wasnt anything nasty, it was all just us having fun, you know, entertaining ourselves, like I said, we were in a generation where we didnt iPads or telephones like, you know, iPhones. We had standard Nokias and we werent allowed to use them because of international bills. You know so we had to entertain ourselves and, you know, we used to dress ourselves up and do photo shoots and yeah we just like I
said, breaking into the gyms and we did so many crazy things. So many crazy things but it was so much fun. We really we have some and I think this is why Rochelles like such a good coach and I think the reason she gets on so well with her gymnasts is that she can relate.
LISA: You know, shes done the crazy stuff and shes done the hard work and I think that that helps and, you know, when theyre trying to cheat in conditioning, shes like I know all the cheats. You cant do it. Me and Rochelle, seriously, we would get in so much trouble sometimes. We would refuse to train in the mornings. We used to literally run into the gym early and we used to dig ourselves into the pit and we would refuse to come out until Zultan found us like [laughing] we just we wouldnt do it and we would sit there in the pit [Romanian accent]
Lisa, Rochelle. Come out, you need to train now and we was like No Zultan, you need to find us and we were laughing like we were like sixteen seventeen at these times and we were still doing this crazy stuff.
EMMA: Youve recently done a naked photo shoot and a few gymnasts have done them like Alicia, Dan Keatings, Danell. Where are the photos going to be published and were you completely in the raw or was there any tape strategically placed?
LISA: There was no tape. I was literally in the raw. But it was so tastefully done. They were so respectful.
EMMA: Well Ive seen the photograph that you posted on IG and its beautiful.
LISA: Thank you. It was…basically, it was just one photographer and a makeup artist and the makeup artist had constantly a blanket up and lights went down and there was no lighting until he would count me in one two three and then I would jump and when he took the picture the
lights would flash up so everything was done pretty much in the pitch black so there was nothing that was seedy about it at all.
LISA: And there are so many athletes that are doing it and its about gym bodies and, you know, athletes bodies and there was, you know, like I said, so many different athletes and I think, you know, the photographer, you know, he was just such a good photographer and I think he captures sport and people in like a raw form, literally, you know and I think, you know, its beautiful, what hes doing. Its for a magazine called Sports Uncovered, which goes out to like fitness gyms and theres an online app for it. And basically its like one athlete gets released every two weeks, so mine could be next week or it could be at the end of the year it gets released but gymnastswise, there was me, Dan Keatings and Hannah Whelan that did the shoot.
LISA: So yeah you know, football players and rugby players and stuff like that. So, you know,
we dont know who gets released when until they kind of message you and say youre gonna be in this week.
EMMA: Oh thats brilliant. And you get one of the proofs, are you gonna hang it on your wall in your house?
LISA: [laughs] Well you never know, maybe [laughs]
EMMA: You know, youve got to do it Sex and the City style when Samantha gets a naked photo and hangs it on her wall just so she can see how fabulous she is.
LISA: Just hang it above my bed [laughs]
EMMA: Maybe not above the bed, but you know. [laughs] LISA: I told you Im bringing sexy back.
EMMA: Yeah. Could you actually crush someone with your abs? LISA: Um…I would like to try.
EMMA: Have you ever tried to have you ever tried to grate cheese on them? LISA: I havent.
EMMA: [laughs] Bet you could.
LISA: [laughs] Oh God. Like its quite funny actually, the amount of guys that say oh my God, youve got a better six pack than I do.
EMMA: I think next time you go to your gym, get one of your fellow gymnasts and try to crush them with your abs and video it.
LISA: Ill crush a block of chalk with my abs. How about that?
EMMA: Yeah, do it. Do it. Ok so Im gonna rewind a little bit to the olden days. I want to talk about your Sydney experience for the casual gymnerd such as myself, its the biggest gymnastics debacle ever. You know, the allaround, the vault was set wrong, Raducan had her medal taken off her for taking Nurofen, for goodness sake. So its kind of got like a bad taste in peoples mouths. How was it for you and did you know that the vault was set wrong at the start? Did you even vault twice? I cant even remember, sorry.
LISA: I did vault twice. I did. Do you know the funniest thing is I was sat there and I wasnt feeling great anyway because everyone had flu. This is why the whole Raducan thing like, you take Lemsip and its got a banned substance in it, you know, its crazy. Like I just think to myself I dont think theres a drug that can help enhance your performance in gymnastics
EMMA: There isnt.
LISA: Unless theres one thats gonna help you stay on this bloomin beam, like make your feet sticky. You know, I dont really think theres anything that can enhance it, per se. You know, with mens, maybe slightly different with the whole strength side of it. But you know, Im up in the competition and Im warming up vault and I kept wiping out and Zultans just coming up to me like Lisa, what are you doing? and Im like Zultan, theres something wrong with the vault and hes like You crazy, theres nothing wrong with the vault and Im like look, Im telling you,
theres something wrong with the vault and hes like take a step back. It might help and Im like
whats a step back going to do? And I was like oh my God and Im going mental. And where Id done my vault, you know, I fell over and obviously then, you know youve fallen, you know thats it. Its over, whats the point. You know, you just kind of get deflated and you dont really
put as much in, if you will, because you know that, you know, pretty much the competitions done if you will. And I remember getting round cos I started on vault and I got around to beam and they turned around and went oh, the vault height was wrong. You have to repeat your vault I was like pardon? And they were like the vault was wrong and for me, like its absolutely nuts, like how that can even happen at an Olympic Games because
first of all, when does the vault ever get that low, anyway? It goes up and down. It doesnt go lower than one twenty five.
LISA: You know, so you dont expect it and, you know, and it was very very frustrating. Very frustrating.
EMMA: It was ridiculous. Completely ridiculous.
LISA: I think they should have started the whole competition again, personally, the day after. EMMA: I do as well.
LISA: Im really a little bit baffled why they didnt if Im honest, you know. What can you do. EMMA: Maybe it was a question of they didnt have the time. I dont I dont know.
LISA: It probably would have been down to TV and time slotting TV if Im really honest. EMMA: I think youre probably right.
LISA: You moved out of the competition, it would have been timeslotted, you know.
EMMA: It it was I mean what did you think about because you obviously saw Raducan when you were there.
EMMA: What did you think of the gold being taken away from her?
LISA: Ive seen that girl, you know, training and Ive seen her competing. I honestly believe that she was the deserved winner. Like I loved her? I thought she was such a bubbly character, you know, I thought she was a beast? she was absolutely she was something else. You know when you have a gymnast that just has something.
LISA: You know, and Raducan always had that something that I guess you found in maybe
Milo. You know Milosevic. EMMA: Yeah.
LISA: And its rare. And I dont think that she deserves to have that taken off her because I
generally thought she was the deserved winner, you know.
EMMA: Yeah me too. So now youre competing again and obviously the vault and everything is different? its a table rather than a horse. Do you always check the height before you go?
LISA: Yes [laughs] EMMA: [laughs]
LISA: Do you know what it is? I know at the British, actually it was quite funny because I at the British, I I kicked the bar during my bar routine. I dont know if you recall it was before my dismount.
EMMA: I recorded it, Lisa. LISA: Oh there you are.
EMMA: I dont only recall it, I recorded it.
LISA: [laughs] There you go. I smacked the bar. Now Im sitting there to my coach and Im like
the bars are too close and hes like Lisa, the bars are not too close, I went Vince, get your tape measure out and measure the bloomin bars. I am tall enough to know when the bars are too close Like they were too close and they were like a good like half a foot in. And Im sitting there and Im going Im telling you And because I have the bars up as well, its all like in and out and all over the place, so like I said, when they put it wrong, I think tall gymnasts notice it more than little gymnasts.
LISA: You know, so I think its. Nah. Its one of those, isnt it [laughs]
EMMA: So what I want to ask you is, Barry Davis, who was commentator for the BBC back in the day. During Sydney, he was mad that you werent in the beam finals. So do you think you should have been in the beam final?
LISA: Um this is where I need to be very diplomatic. I lost out on that beam final by 0.02 of a tenth.
LISA: So…to say that I was mad was an understatement. Theres a lot more to that than Im kind of can really go into but yeah I was very very upset and I knew that all I had to do was stick my routine and I should have been in there and I was always in the top eight and I was always in
big beam finals and I knew I should have been there so the fact that I wasnt…yeah was yeah very very difficult for me to deal with. Yeah. [laughs]
EMMA: Rubbish. Rubbish. Its absolutely rubbish. It LISA: Not even point one. 0.02.
EMMA: Yeah. Well its like Beth in 2004 didnt make the bar finals, its like hello? She made every other bar final forever, so. You just well anyway, lets not talk about rubbish. Um so what was the pressure like leading up to Sydney? And could anything have been done differently to either sort of not burn out gymnasts so fast or help you achieve a better result?
LISA: No I dont think I think we were like people forget that our team that we sent out we had never as a country sent a whole team out to an Olympic Games. So we were the first team to ever send a whole team out to the Olympics. That had never happened. People dont mention that, like before, you know, myself, Annika, Paula, Rochelle, we did the Worlds wed only ever sent one or two gymnasts out to the Olympics. A whole team had never gone. Its never been accomplished.
LISA: So, you know, we were centralized before the Olympics. I think that we were as ready as we could have ever been. I think us as a team, we were 110% ready. Like you could have woke us up at, you know, four oclock in the morning, told us to get in the gym and do a floor routine, we could have done it.
LISA: You know, were the only team to have all done our routines and hit them all clean. Not one of us fell in that competition. You know, like I said, it was a lot more political back then and being British was a lot harder for us, you know.
EMMA: Well the vault in that allaround took Annika out. If you remember. LISA: Yeah. Mmhmm. She rolled her ankle. She did a
EMMA: Yeah she did.
EMMA: You know, it was an amazing accomplishment and, you know
LISA: It wasnt about to be fair, it wasnt about the individual at that time. You know, it was about putting Great Britain on the mark and I had done my job as far as the Grand Prix and the Europeans and stuff. I was getting myself out there, namewise. You know, and what I did helped the likes of Beth and Becky get individual medals. But you know, what my team did was help the likes of Great Britain get that medal, you know at Euros and stuff, so you know, I think as a it was more about the team than the individual at that point, you know.
LISA: You had to get the team out there and, you know, to move forward for individuals, the team had to be established.
LISA: So as a team, I think we worked very well and I think, like I said, we were as ready as we would have ever been.
EMMA: Yeah. You kind of nicked my next question, as well, so. Ill read it out anyway. You achieved so many firsts for GB, you and Annika before you. You know, you really paved the
way for the likes of Beth and Becky and you were the first GB gymnast to win a Grand Prix gold. How did that feel for you to pave the way for what we now see today?
LISA: I mean, you know, the thing is, I never…really was in awe of anybody. Like I was never one of those to sit in front of the TV screen and watch gymnastics because Id get frustrated because Id look and be like well I can do better. So, you know, I would always like Khorkina and that lot, when I first met them, everyone was like oh my God but I was just like you alright?. You know, and I wouldnt look at them as in [gasps] oh my God. I would look at them and be like you know what, Im gonna beat you one day.
LISA: You know, and I did. And for me, like, I dont know like, I just I took it all in my stride. Like and I dont look at a girl and be like well actually youre ten years younger than me. Ill be like well youre quite good so actually youre who I need to watch. I dont look at that? I will look at your gymnastics. I wont look at your name, I wont look at your age, I will look at your gymnastics. So if youre a potential threat to me, then youre who I need to be watching. You know, I dont ever get in awe of anybody like I know what job I need to do and I will try my hardest to achieve that. When I won like the um I won bar gold at the Romanian Invitational. I
cant even remember what the competition was called now. But it was the first time a British gymnast had done that. And I wasnt happy. I wasnt happy that I had won because in my eyes, my top contender messed up.
LISA: So my coach is going But you won. It doesnt matter. She fell and I was like Yeah but I
want to beat her when shes good. EMMA: Exactly.
LISA: I dont want to beat her when she fell off. You know, I want thats how Ive always been, though.
EMMA: Yeah. Yeah. Well its a proper battle then. LISA: Yeah.
EMMA: So lets talk about some injuries. I saw you last year at the British and you were kind enough to show me your gigantic elephant foot. Have you ever had anything bad thats taken you out of competition?
LISA: Well I snapped my arm in the junior British.
EMMA: Yeah. I want to know about that. Do you still have plates in it now?
LISA: No I had them removed. I did it on a Tkatchev on bars. I went super high and my heels flung up behind me. So I kind of fell down head first. I put my hands down. I didnt even realise. Its only when I looked at the audience and I see all their faces like [gasps] and I kind of saw my arm up and out of its place [laughs] So I was kind of like oh, crap and so I just grabbed my arm and yeah thats all I really remember. I mean, touch wood, Ive always been kind of fortunate. I think this is if Im honest, the only way I could have made the comeback. Had I have suffered with the injuries that a lot of gymnasts do suffer with, me doing what Im doing wouldnt have been possible.
EMMA: Of course not.
LISA: You know, so Ive always been quite lucky and Ive always I think Ive always listened to my body. Ive never been one of these gymnasts that you know, I think the mentality is you need to push through it, you need to push through it. And to a certain extent you do need to push through it, but I always listen to my body and if I know that Im potentially gonna make it
worse, then Ill just be like Im not doing it. You know, for me, nothing is worth my health and if I
think somethings gonna be worse for me, then I just wont. So, you know, if I can come into a
gym and Im absolutely dying I mean I suffer with shin splints really badly. I havent this year, touch wood. But I suffer with shin splints in my forearms from Yurchenkos.
LISA: So some days Im just like Natalia, I just cant vault today. I cant, like my arms are so sore Like even when Im just not doing anything with them, theyre throbbing. You know, so in general, Ive not really had those type of injuries. My ankles have always been weak but generally no. Ive been quite lucky, I think.
EMMA: So whats your experience of coming back to competition? Do you feel more confident? Are you more nervous? How do you feel?
LISA: I think when I came back, I was definitely more nervous. Like I felt there was a lot of pressure on me? everyone was kind of eyes on me, wanted see what I was doing. Im kind of at the point where I just really dont care. I want to out there and enjoy myself and perform. You know, and whatever happens, happens. After, whether I get selected or if I dont, it is what it is I go out there to enjoy myself and do what I love to do and put on a performance, if you will. You know?
EMMA: Thats cool. Does your daughter come and watch you compete?
LISA: [laughs] She doesnt. She came to my first British. But no. To be fair, not really, I think anyone thats a mum kind of knows that when youve got a child, youve always got one eye on them [laughs] So its one of those things where I think shell always want my attention and be flapping her arms and go Mummy! Mummy! Come on Mummy! and Ill always have one eye on her, making sure shes behaving herself.
LISA: You know, its not like shes a teenager that I can just trust what shes doing, but half the time you know what she did last time? She literally just went around the arena and was getting autographs off of everyone.
LISA: And she was like oh I went and saw Louis and he gave me his autograph and I said you dont want your mums one? and she was like no [laughs]
EMMA: Oh funny. So apart from Boginskaya, who you mentioned earlier, did you have any other gym idols when you were growing up?
LISA: Um not really, if Im honest. Like, Milosevic, I loved.
LISA: Actually, you know who I always loved was Dominique Dawes. EMMA: Yeah.
LISA: She was my favourite. Like I remember watching the Worlds in Birmingham. I think it was in 92, was it?
EMMA: I have that on video. It was 93. I had it on video and I actually wore the tape out.
LISA: Oh my gosh. I remember her like doing her vault and I remember her standing up on the podium and waving and I really thought she was waving at me and I got so excited, I was like [squeals] And it was actually weird because the first time I met Natalia, she sat behind me at those Worlds and I remember asking her for her autograph.
EMMA: Oh wow.
LISA: And then later on, she becomes my coach [laughs]
EMMA: Thats brilliant. So what do you get up to when you have some free time? Do you actually have any free time? And do you have any secret hobbies that people would be surprised to know about?
LISA: Ooh. Free time I do get free time. Well to be fair, with running a household and everything else, its kind of wrong, but when I do get my free time, do you know what? I love cooking. I absolutely love cooking.
EMMA: If I came to your house for tea, what would you make for me? LISA: Ooh I love I cook Italian food a lot, so.
LISA: I am like a lamb and salad kind of person. I just I love it. I love cooking. Im the cook in my friend group, like me and my friend Chantelle, we are the cooks. Whenever theres food, its always me and her cooking, you know. But I do like proper I love cooking proper food, and my cakes and everything else. So I dont skimp and get jar food stuff.
LISA: I think cos my family, Ive got such a mix and blend of background in my family. Its crazy. So Ive got like GermanJewish in me, Ive got Irish, Ive got like Italian and Polish and
something else. Its crazy so Ive always been quite big on cooking in my family so you know. EMMA: Fantastic. Heres another business idea Lisa Mason cookbook. Fitness, there you go. LISA: It might be coming, you never know. I want to do a fitness video, actually [laughs]
EMMA: You should. In fact, you could take me, whos like horrible like lazy and stuff, and you could turn me into you.
EMMA: You could train me to be like super fit and grate cheese on my abs.
LISA: Im actually doing a personal training course, as well. So Im actually at night college on
Thursdays and Monday evenings, so Im doing college as well as training and working, so. EMMA: Oh my goodness.
LISA: Yeah 101 things.
EMMA: Youre superwoman. Ive got one final question for you, and its gonna be quite funny, so I hope you think its funny. So I have to talk about Twitter because youre quite outspoken and your Twitter is very funny. I have to use the Urbandictionary to translate half of your tweets.
EMMA: Im gonna read you a couple of your tweets and you tell me what they mean. LISA: Oh my God [laughs]
EMMA: I love this one so much. Right ok. Its so offputting when a guy is trying to talk to you on social media, then you look at who hes following and its bear ratchets. Swerve.
LISA:[laughs] Oh my God, so you want me to tell you what that means? EMMA: Yeah, go on.
LISA: Ok so basically, like when a guys like trying to talk to you and approach you in a way that hes interested in you and likes you a lot, but then you see the type of girls that he follows and theyre the cheapend tacky video girls that like to twerk and get free drinks and do other activities to get what they want
EMMA: Hahaha you got a boob job and wanna preach no basic. Darling, your face is basic and your body and personality. Get out of here with that shit.
LISA: Oh my God, I really need to start editing my tweets [laughs] Yeah do you know what it is? It frustrates me when um women want to cuss out other females and they want to say stuff like, you know, you must have heard the phrase basic
LISA: Bitch. So for that, its just like someones saying youre bog standard, youre nothing, youre the kind of averagelooking nothing exciting about you. Youre basic. But these girls that are saying it are the ones that are caked in makeup, buy their boobs and wear fake eyelashes, fake tan, long nails, and are so artificial and they think theyre of some kind of higher standard when, you know, if you remove all of that, youre more basic than the ones that youre calling basic.
LISA: So it irritates me. It does. And I just think theres no need for it.
EMMA: Yeah I agree. I like this one too. 5% of girls can pull off high waisted shorts, and the other 95% look like theyre wearing a damn diaper. Bitches thinking they Beyonce.
LISA: [laughs] Youve got tan and a weave, everyone thinks theyre Beyonce and fabulous. Theres certain things you cannot get.
EMMA: Ive met some pricks in my time, but you you are the freaking cactus [laughs]
LISA: [Oh God, I do. Do you know what it is? If I was to give you my Instagram for a day, right, you would have to laugh at the amount of crazy inbox things that I get. And stuff that I hear and the absolute if I may say bollocks, that people talk to me about.
EMMA: I can imagine.
LISA: Im just, Im like Ive had enough. Oh Lord
EMMA: This ones good, too. Be careful whose toes you step on today because they might be connected to the foot that kicks your ass tomorrow. Woo hoo!
LISA: Very true. Karma is an absolute bitch. So I just think treat people how you wish to be treated. You know, and I would never intentionally go out my way to hurt or upset anyone and I
just think if I ever have done, then, like I said, Im very black and white so if Ive done something that obviously Im unaware of, then I would rather you say and then I can apologise for that. You know, but Im not a badminded underhanded bitchy person? its not in my nature. I will voice my opinion about things but I would never intentionally go out my way to make someone feel small or make them feel worthless and, you know, to be fair, I was bullied a lot when I was younger so I think I hate it when I see people like ganging up on people or just inappropriate stuff it justs
gets my back up. I really dislike it. Its just unnecessary, so. EMMA: What sort of bullying? Was it other girls at school?
LISA: Oh I would get it from all sorts to be fair. People in gymnastics, you know, because I was always kind of naturally talented and maybe not the hardest worker, so I can understand from their point of view, that would p them off a bit. You know, girls at school would be more I think it used to annoy a lot of people I would be very unaware that guys would like me and then girls would get a bit funny and Id get teased by the boys cos all the girls were like had their boobs and were doing all this and I was this skinny little gymnast with an eight pack [laughs] So I
would get teased and called Lisa no boobs and Im just like well Im still 32 and Ive still got no boobs so [laughs]
EMMA: Dont buy any either. Its not a good look [laughs]
LISA: I think I disagree. I think it depends how big you go. If you go in for big boobs, thats fine. I
know so many gymnasts that have had them done. Its crazy.
EMMA: Really? So is there anything else that youd like to talk about or tell us about Lisa? LISA: That you shouldnt always believe everything you hear and I think theres a lot of…kind of
judgement in gymnastics and people like to assume that they know you and know what youre like and what youve been through and they dont, so. Im very straightforward and even when people tweet me or message me or message me, Id say like 98% of the time Ill message them back, you know. And I will reply, so like.
EMMA: You do.
LISA: Any questions that people have, I will answer it, you know. So I dont know, dont just assume? ask a question? if you dont ask, you dont get, do you?
JESSICA: Thanks so much for listening, everybody. Tell us what you thought of the show. Email us, leave a voicemail. remember to support us in any way you see fit. This show is produced by me, Jessica OBeirne. Our content and social media director is Doctor Uncle Tim, PhD. Our audio engineer is the fabulous Ivan Alexander. Our theme song is mixed by Chris Saccullo, as
performed by NWA. Transcription services are provided Katy, Katy, Alex, Amanda, Cece, Hailey
Danicca and Emma. So you guys know were having a little trouble with our transcripts page.
We have almost were almost up to date except were maybe like ten behind, but were trying to get that page fixed. Thank you so much for listening. We will see you guys next week and tell us what you thought of the episode. Thanks for listening.
JESSICA: Can I ask you about what was the craziest banquet or after party at an Olympics or
LISA: Oh my God, really? [laughs]
JESSICA: This can be off the air, if you want. We dont have to record this part.
LISA: The craziest party was China at the World Championships because it was one of those countries that no one speaks Chinese, right? Normally when youre in Europe, someone speaks like Russian or German or French, so you can communicate. So normally you have the banquet and then you go out to a little club or something after. But like I said, no one spoke Chinese so I was like gosh, what are we gonna do? And Im talking in those days, we had
Discmans, so I used to roll around with this big massive pack of CDs, right. I was like I could be a DJ. My playlist is pretty awesome.
EMMA: I used to, as well. I had a case full of CDs.
LISA: Yeah, see? So then I found this little bar down the road and I literally called everyone in their rooms and I was like were having a party, come down to this place and I literally turned this bar, oh my God it was just absolutely epic. It was the best party ever. Everyone just had way too much to drink everyone was dancing on tables and I literally was I was making
snowballs behind the bar and mad cocktails. And then I was being the DJ and playing all like my
90s R&B. I was loving it. It was pretty awesome. It was a very good night. EMMA: [laughs] Thats amazing.
JESSICA: That is awesome.
LISA: Im telling you though, gymnasts now how to party. EMMA: They do. Ive been to a few banquets, you know.
LISA: Yeah, gosh. I tell you, thats one of the funniest things. When I came back and it was going out with all the gymnasts again that I forgot how mad they are. Because if any of if I was out in a normal place and a guy had come at me the way that these gymnasts come at me, they
would have been straight sucker-punched in their faces. You kind of look at them and you go ahh, you just want to tap their heads, and go ‘you’re so cute. Down there with your little self’ You know, but do they know how to party. They’re crazy. Absolutely crazy. I’m at that age now; I get to like 1 o’clock, 2 o’clock and I’m ready to go home.