Olympic hero Dylan Schmidt is jumping into the unknown on Celebrity Treasure Island

The trampolinist reveals the secrets behind his historic win in Tokyo

While performing the trampoline routine that would go on to win him a bronze medal in Tokyo last year, Dylan Schmidt’s mind was blank.

“Not a lot goes through the ol’ noggin when I’m in the moment,” admits the Te Anau-raised athlete, 25. “It’s all muscle memory and I’m just reacting to what’s happening, trying to execute the skills the best I can.”

But when he realised he’d won New Zealand’s first-ever gymnastics medal at an Olympic Games, Dylan was “pretty stoked”. He tells Woman’s Day, “I knew I could still do better, but that I’d done a routine that was good enough to get on the podium, which was something I’d dreamt about. It was a huge step up for me and it got the whole country’s eyes on my sport.

“The reception has been cool and pretty special. A lot of people who don’t follow trampolining saw me as a surprise medal, but my whole team and I knew that if I performed at my best, I was capable of it.”

Trampoline triumph! On the podium with his bronze.

Dylan keeps his bronze “on a little stand on a shelf back home” in Auckland, but he admits, “I still sometimes have to remind myself that I’ve done it – I’ll go look at the medal and touch it.”

In terms of public recognition, the Olympic result has changed Dylan’s life and he admits he probably wouldn’t have been invited to compete on Celebrity Treasure Island without it. Why did he sign up?

“Well, I got a phone call and thought, ‘Why not?’ I watched Survivor as a kid and it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Not many people get to do something like this, plus I’m an outdoorsy guy and I’ve got that natural competitiveness, so I thought it’d be fun.”

To prepare, Dylan binge-watched previous seasons of the show. He says, “I learnt it’s just a game and you can’t take it too seriously, otherwise it’ll get to you. I was also going to do some puzzles, but I didn’t get round to it.”

His biggest inspiration was last year’s runner-up, dancer Lance Savali. Dylan explains, “He just took everything as it came. I don’t think he had a strategy, but he took the opportunities that came up and didn’t overthink it.”

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