A new era in British gymnastics is upon us.
Mighty Max Whitlock became the first British artistic gymnast to win gold at an Olympic Games, a surprise gold on floor meant Max had to hastily bottle up his feelings to go again in the pommel horse finals shortly after, an event in which he was one of the favourites to win.
Somehow the 23-year-old held it together, winning a second gold medal minutes later. This time the relief and amazement was palpable as he celebrated with his equally emotional coach Scott Hann.
I was live blogging for Yahoo Sport UK at this point, my fingers dancing across a tear-sodden keyboard, splashing on the keys like miniature Gene Kellys. An emotional moment for British gymnastics and sports fans alike.
We are now gently meandering our way into the next Olympic cycle with many international stars taking time out to Dance with the Stars (American gymnastics queen Simone Biles), take a jump on a wintersports reality show (Britain’s first ever Olympic medalist Louis Smith) or just take a six-months break (Mighty Max himself), so a new generation of gymnasts are coming through.
The increasing popularity of the sport has not been lost on characterful promoter Barry Hearn who has hitched his Matchroom Sport business to British Gymnastics rising star, joining forces with the national governing body in order to take the sport to the next level. No one would bet against him after his successes with world snooker, darts and boxing.
But kudos must be given to the British gymnastics community – particularly British Gymnastics, the gymnasts themselves and the dedicated fans – for getting the sport this far.
The National Lottery played a massive part in enabling Britain’s best gymnasts to become professional athletes, but the use of social media for growing the sport has been vital too.
I spoke to Britain’s Olympic bronze medalists Amy Tinkler and Sam Oldham, and world team silver medalist Brinn Bevan, ahead of the iPro Sport World Cup of Gymnastics, about the importance of social media in their own sporting lives.
*The iPro Sport World Cup of Gymnastics is the third and last in the international series, which will crown the all-around champion in the women’s and men’s competitions at the O2 in London on Saturday 8 April 2017.
The event will be live in the UK on Sky Sports Mix from 1pm-4pm for the women’s competition and 4pm-7pm for the men’s event.
WORLD CUP OF GYMNASTICS SOCIAL