FIRST she threw off the moon boot and stepped tentatively onto the apparatus at the Australian gymnastics championships.
Confidence grew to the degree she finished third, despite a restricted routine.
It was enough to be on the plane with the Australian team for New Zealand for an international event.
There she won gold and the all-round title after finishing first on the vault and beam and second on the floor.
Then she won gold again at the national clubs championships in level 10, the highest level; winning the overall pointscore and the vault and beam titles.
Now Emily Bennett's won the NSW senior-gymnast-of-the-year award and her Seven Hills-based Sydney Academy of Gymnastics has won club-of-the-year and coaching team-of-the-year awards.
North Rocks' Bennett suffers from Scheuermann's disease, which affects the vertebrae and requires constant visits to the chiropractor. "She's had a shocking time," was mother's Carmel's description of her daughter's troubled progress. "All's well that ends well."
Now 17, she was spotted as a potential gymnast at 7 and it became very time-consuming. She was training 35 hours a week but gave it away at 12. "She was burnt out," said mum.
Her brother Nathan was a diver and she confined herself to diving, too, but at 14 she returned to gymnastics.
Leap forward to the 2012 Australian club titles. She had an emergency appendectomy on the eve of the games. "She couldn't train for nine days, but she competed," said mum.
"The club needed three gymnasts to compete and she didn't want to let her teammates down. Her doctor was against it."
Jump to last June's NSW titles. She had ankle damage on the second-last vault of the day and had to pull out.'
At the Australian titles she threw off the boot, had the ankle strapped and qualified for New Zealand.
As mum said, all's well that ends well.