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  Training now for 2008 Olympics
Updated 18 August 2004, 17.06

When most children get home from school they want to watch TV, play on a games console or, if they have to, do their homework.

But 12-year-old Johanna has a much more demanding activity planned when she arrives home in Athens.

She spends six hours every single day practicing rhythmic gymnastics because she is hoping to compete for Greece in the sport in the next Olympics.


Rhythmic gymnastics is the less well-known part of the sport, and sees the gymnasts use props and music to make up routines.

To some it might look a bit easier than artistic gymnastics, which includes apparatus and sees the gymnasts tumble and balance to earn marks.

But rhythmic gymnastics is not as easy as it looks, and according to Johanna is really hard work.

"It is very difficult. You have to look after lots of different things, like being very good at the exercises.

"It's also really important that you take care of your weight," but added that "hard work always pays back".


The girls take a quick break from training

Johanna also gets to take part in the gymnastics gala in these Games on 24 August, in between special performances from Olympic and world champions.

"I am happy and proud to represent Greece, but nervous at the same time," she admitted.

And Johanna hasn't just got the next four years planned out; she knows exactly what she wants to do after that too.

"I hope to be a very good gymnast and maybe win a medal in the next Olympics and then maybe become a dancer in the royal ballet in London."

And if she keeps on working this hard, she could well achieve her dream.

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