OLYMPIAN Laura Gallagher is back from Tokyo having made us all proud at her first Games.

The 32-year-old, from Westonzoyland, made her Olympic debut in Tokyo after injuries ruled her out of previous Games.

But after failing to make the final in her event - trampolining - she said she was gutted.

“Training had been going really well in Tokyo, the day before I got some new personal bests, and I was looking forward to the competition," she said.

"I am gutted with how it went, regardless of if you get a medal or not, you want to feel proud of your performance and I wasn’t.

"It was a real shock.”

All Olympic athletes spend years training and Gallagher has done a lot of her work at the Quayside Trampoline & Gym Club, in Bridgwater, where she has been a member for more than two decades.

Bridgwater Mercury: Team GB photo

She has also been training with her teammates and spending a lot of time away from family and friends - and feels like she let herself down with the result.

“You have such a big build up and in the blink of an eye it’s gone," she said.

"It is harsh because in my sport you only get one shot at it.”

But she said she tried to savour the experience, despite her struggles in competition.

“Everyone goes to the Olympics to win representing their country, and when things go wrong, you have to remember we are not robots, it really hurts,” she said.

“Not everyone can have that fairytale ending.

"For those that do, it is so inspiring, and it has inspired me.”

Bridgwater Mercury: Mid routine

The Olympic Village is often a topic of conversation, with people often assuming it is one big party.

According to Gallagher though, for Tokyo at least, it was very rigid and organised, due to Covid protocols.

“The camp was very restricted as you can imagine," she explained.

"When you ate food, you were sat at tables with plastic screens separating everyone. Also, you only had access to two outdoor zones - the balcony in your room and a small, supervised space outside.”

On top of a strict living environment, Gallagher says athletes were not able to go and watch other Olympic sports, only their own discipline.

But that didn’t stop Laura and her teammates cheering on the likes of fellow gymnasts Amelie Morgan, Alice Kinsella and the Gadirova twins in their events.

Even though it may take some time to process this result, Gallagher has her eyes on the World Trampolining Championships later this year, set to take place in Baku, Azerbaijan.

“I am going to take some time off, but the plan is to compete in Baku in November,” she said.

And without giving much away, she also hinted at a potential push for the Paris Olympics in 2024.

“It’s such a strange feeling, having to plan every scenario years in advance, but what I can say is I didn’t expect to feel so inspired.

"My stats and scores are improving, and I feel more complete as an athlete than ever before. I am not finished!”

When asked what her highlight of the Games were, Gallagher said the Opening Ceremony, where she was one of the 30 Team GB athletes selected to walk behind the flag bearers.

Bridgwater Mercury: Opening ceremony, Laura Gallagher is on the right hand side with white mask on.

“The opening ceremony was an amazing experience, walking out was really special to me and I felt privileged to have made it to an Olympic Games, the arena was stunning.”

Now what does every returning athlete do when they get back to their hometown? Well for Laura it was fish and chips and a walk on Burnham beach with her husband Matt and their dog.

“When I got back on Sunday, Matt asked me what I want to do first, and I said I would love some fish and chips!

"You can’t beat fish and chips on Burnham seafront.”

She did stress that fish and chips is not in her diet when competing.

But whatever the result, Laura did Bridgwater - and Somerset - proud.