By Gymnastics NSW
Kaylen McDonald – 18, coach and Special Olympics men’s artistic gymnast
Kaylen has an intellectual disability and ADHD.
What do you like most about gymnastics?
The thing I like most about gymnastics is that I can show people my skills and that I can meet new friends.
What age did you first start gymnastics? What pathway did you take?
I started gymnastics when I was two years old. The pathway I took was going from KinderGym to doing Special Olympics Gymnastics, which I have been doing for 16 years now.
What are you looking forward to the most at the Special Olympics World Games?
I am looking forward to meeting new friends from different countries around the world. I am also looking forward to learning German culture. I am also looking forward to challenging myself.
What advice do I have to give to other kids/teens that may like to reach the Special Olympics one day?
Some advice I have is to try your very best and if you don’t succeed the first time you will have a lot more opportunities to get to the Special Olympics. This is the oath of the Special Olympics: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt”.
How did you become a gymnastics coach?
I became a gymnastics coach by asking the boss if I could coach gymnastics and she said yes. So I started the mentee program at the start of last year.
Who do you teach?
I coach beginners, aged 4-12, and I also coach ninja which is like parkour. I also coach School PE at Bankstown city YMCA and Epping YMCA.
What do you love about coaching?
I love that I can teach kids/teens the skills I learnt throughout the 16 years of doing gymnastics. I also love coaching because I can help the kids/teens to build confidence and muscle.