Never mind the pressure of being reigning World Games gold medalists. Of being favored to medal, maybe even win World gold at Synchronised Trampoline, a discipline where not only one but two people have to do everything right and at the same time.
The fact was that Kat Driscoll and Amanda Parker had never not won a medal at an international competition they'd entered. Ever.
That kind of reputation tends to breed pressure, or confidence, or both. Fortunately for Parker and Driscoll, confidence won out during the women's Synchronised Trampoline final at the 29th World Championships in Sofia (BUL) Saturday evening, permitting them to give Britain its second gold medal of the championships.
"We've got a lot of pressure on us," Driscoll said. "We know that people have been saying there's an expectation for medals because we've medaled at every international we've done now. So we were trying to forget about everything else that had happened, forget about prelims, forget about yesterday and just start today fresh, same as we would do at any other competition."
That was a lot to forget. The pair entered the final ranked sixth out of the eight after looking uncharacteristically less than in synch during Friday's qualifying round. In addition, the British team won gold in the women's Trampoline team competition Friday night, their first World team victory in 21 years.
"To get this result is just an incredible feeling," Parker said. "There was a lot of hype and everything, [people saying] 'You can get another gold medal,' but it was about doing the job, doing the business, and you get what you get then."
China's Li Dan and Zhong Xingping, who shared the World Games title with Driscoll and Parker this past summer in Cali (COL), received the highest execution score of any pair in the final but finished behind the British in difficulty and synchronicity, settling for silver with 47.100. Ukraine's Diana Kliuchnyk and Nataliia Moskvina, seventh in the qualifying round, performed a solid exercise to take bronze (46.700) as other pairs faltered.
Canadian pair Rosannagh MacLennan and Samantha Sendel were in first place going into the final, but a fall from Sendel early in the final took them out of medal contention.
That cleared the way for Parker and Driscoll. Even though it was the World Championships, they've found that not changing their habits is the best way to deal with the pressure -- and to keep their streak alive.
"We did what we always do, which is just enjoy it," Parker said. "Before we get on and start our routine, we smile at each other, and it's the best thing we can do."
Tune in on Twitter and follow @officialFIG for updates and live commentary during the competitions. Photos can be found on Facebook and www.fig-photos.com, while highlight clips as well as videos of individual routines are posted on the Gymnastics YouTube channel.
For more information and for live scoring connect to http://sofia2013.fig-gymnastics.com/!