Tracie Ang, 25, National Gymnast
Blazer, H&M; earring, Bremen Wong; dress, Tracie’s own.
One look at the effervescent Tracie and you can’t help but feel just as optimistic as she presents herself. Bubbly personality aside, hard work and sacrifices have made her the great national gymnast that she is today. Her supportive family drives her to be a better version of herself every day, and it shows in each polished pose after another. Much like gymnastics, life is a balancing act — Tracie admires and looks up to her best friend Pandelela Rinong for being able to finesse juggling work and life.
how did you get involved with gymnastics, and how was the journey like in becoming the athlete you are today?
I’m a national gymnast for Malaysia, primarily in Artistic Gymnastics (not to be confused with rhythmic gymnastics) which involves tumbling, flipping, splits and dancing in a routine on various apparatus. I was introduced to the sport at seven years of age, and have been training for 18 years ever since. I took the opportunity even though I had no idea what it was all about and went to the gym to start training. A few months after that, the coach decided to form a team to compete at school level and also state level. I tried my very best and I made it to the team.
As years went by, I trained even harder and won lots of medals, mostly gold, in both school and state level competitions. One of my biggest achievements came while I was competing at junior level, when I was the only state-level gymnast selected to be in the 2005 SEA Games—the rest were from the national team. I was only 12 years old, competing with adults, and I won a bronze medal which impressed the national team coaches and I was handpicked to join their team the following year.
Another memorable achievement was winning the gold medal for floor exercise at the 2016 World Challenge Cup in Slovenia. It was memorable to me because it was my first World Cup medal, and it’s gold, meaning I created history for Malaysia to win the first gold medal at the World Cup. This ranks with my 2017 SEA Games as I felt proud to compete at my home ground, where I won a set of medals, as you never know when Malaysia will be hosting the next big sporting game.
What one or two things do you believe differentiates you from your competitors?
I always believe that the hard effort and sacrifices that I’ve made will boost my confidence to perform better. I always tell myself that I do it for myself and I shouldn’t care about my competitors because I have to perform what I have prepared and there’s nothing else I can change at the very last minute. I still believe in myself even though I’m the oldest gymnast in Malaysia.
Can you tell us any habits you have that set up success every day?
All I do everyday is basically the same things I’ve done since young — juggling between training and classes. Besides doing that, I do my recovery sessions such as massages, ice baths and physiotherapy almost everyday. On other days, I meet my psychologist and nutritionist for consultations when needed. Most of the time, I would see my doctors to make sure I’m fit to play and I will be sent for rehabilitation when in need as well (too many injuries which is normal for a gymnast). During my free time, I would hang out with my best friends and have cheat days (my stress relievers). I would sometimes do some arts and crafts or sketching as well, as they make me feel good.
I would say overcoming pain. I’ve had three surgeries already yet I’m still passionate in doing what I like, even though people try to stop me. Taking the risk after surgery is not easy as I have to be fully recovered, mentally prepared and be able to perform at my best.
— The most courageous thing that Tracie has done.
Who or what empowers you in life? Why?
My family is my main lifeline. They always support me in everything, even when they aren’t there—I know their hearts are with me. My besties are my inspiration as well as some of them have achieved great things in sports and some are currently still active. Meeting great athletes and sharing thoughts would be my motivation to improve myself. Also all the people that I have worked before, especially my coaches, who have given me a lot of experiences towards the journey of my life.
The most important discovery you’ve made in the past year?
I have experienced a lot of differences in the energy I receive. For me, meeting great athletes and great people have made me feel more positive and mentally stronger—I am blessed to take the opportunities given to me.
What is the worst setback you’ve faced in your career and how did you overcome it?
One of the moments that I can recall was in November 2014. I had my first major surgery, for my hip, and it took me just few months to recover. I put all my beliefs that I would come back stronger in a very short period and I went through hard times during this period but I told myself that it was going be worth it. In June 2015, I was fit to play and I won the team a gold medal at the Singapore SEA Games. My success came from all the people who work with me during my dark period—the hard work totally paid off.
I didn’t have any dream when I was little, as I was introduced to gymnastics at very young age. I just wanted to be a simple girl and I never thought that I would be a national gymnast like where I am today—it just came naturally.
— Tracie on her dream job when she was a kid.
What woman inspires you? Why?
One of my besties, Pandelela, the diving queen inspired me to go further in my career. I look up to her and I admire her capabilities as successful female athlete. I respect her for balancing her career and daily lifestyle as well. I like the way she is — even if I hadn’t been involved in sports, she would still be my role model. She was there for me along my journey before she created hers-tory for her achievements.
What are you most curious about in life? Why?
I like art and fashion but sometimes I don’t understand the real meaning behind it. I’m curious as I still can’t find the answers. Sometimes, I feel that art and fashion are expressed as “weird/ugly” and that’s quite difficult for me to understand. Hey, maybe being weird is the best!
What does “pushing the envelope” mean to you?
That I can beyond my capabilities—pushing the limits of my boundaries. For example, I’m pushing my limits at 25 and maintaining my performance as other Malaysian gymnasts have not reached at my age yet! I’m still standing! I wouldn’t just want to be a gymnast, and I’m still learning new things everyday.
For the rest of 2018, what are you looking forward to?
I hope to achieve greater results this year and that would lead me to grab medals whenever I perform very well. I’m rooting for the Asian Games in Indonesia.