EXCLUSIVE: Team GB's Brinn Bevan buzzing for iPro World Cup of Gymnastics
Brinn Bevan can’t wait to make his all-around World Cup debut – and on home soil at The O2.
The 19-year-old will represent Britain, alongside Sam Oldham, in the male section of the iPro World Cup of Gymnastics on Saturday 8th April.
After using the British Championships at the end of March as a warm-up to see where he’s at, Bevan is thrilled to be able to take to the world stage once again.
Speaking exclusively to Sports Gazette, he said: “So it’s a new Olympic cycle – there’s a new code and new rule changes.
“We’ve had to completely change the layout of some of our routines so this year’s a real tester.
“The World Cup of Gymnastics will be my first all-around World Cup so I’m really excited just to be involved in it.
“If I can go there, show my face and be pleased with my performance then it’ll be absolutely fantastic.”
Just under two weeks to this beauty, excited to get back on the world stage! pic.twitter.com/kuvCtfvYjI— Brinn Bevan (@brinnbevan) 29 March 2017
Both the sport and Bevan – who has risen from 2006 British Championships U12 Champion to part of the silver medal-winning 2015 World Championship team – have come on in leaps and bounds over the last few years.
And performing at the iconic London venue will be a stark contrast to when the talented gymnast first competed.
But Bevan has admitted his gymnastics career almost didn’t get off to the best of starts.
He said: “I competed in my first competition at seven years old.
“I nearly got the team disqualified because you actually had to be eight.
“We won a bronze medal and I got interviewed straight after and the first question they asked me was ‘how old are you?’ and obviously I was going to say seven because I was young and I didn’t know any different.”
Reflecting on when he first sat up and took notice of international competition, Bevan picked out two household names who helped Team GB make their mark on the world of gymnastics.
He said: “My first memory of gymnastics at a high level was heading into the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
“I remember seeing all the adverts and everything on TV and I remember watching Louis (Smith) and Dan Keatings.
“That was what really made me want to strive for success and achieve as well in my own right.”
Bevan delivered a strong set of performances on his Olympic debut in Rio and was part of the British men’s team that came agonisingly close to making the podium, ultimately finishing fourth.
But overall Team GB enjoyed a record-breaking medal haul in gymnastics and trampolining in summer, picking up seven medals – many of which were historic firsts.
One of the standout performances undoubtedly came from Max Whitlock, who claimed both the men’s floor and pommel horse titles.
And Bevan, who trains alongside Whitlock at South Essex Gymnastics Club, says the 24-year-old and Double Olympic champion is one of his biggest idols.
He said: “I get to see what he does, how he trains and how hard he works.
“It’s really inspiring to be able to watch that and follow in his footsteps almost.”
The Team GB squad is unbelievably tight knit as shown by their camaraderie at Rio 2016.
But, when asked, Bevan admitted that the role of team joker tends to switch between them.
He said: “I think we all keep that role at times.
“At the 2016 Olympic Games, it was definitely Louis [Smith].
“He lightened the mood and kept us pretty relaxed as though we were in a training environment.
“It was really nice because heading out into the competition arena with 16,000 people chanting your name or your country, it really kept you grounded.”
The unforgiving nature of the sport in exposing and magnifying the slightest wobble or lack of focus on any of the apparatus means there is a lot of nervous energy beforehand.
Bevan said: “I think everyone gets nervous heading into big competitions.
“Me personally, I concentrate on my breathing and it’s just about having a bit of a laugh and a joke.
“Before heading out into that arena [at Rio], I remember kind of singing and dancing to Michael Jackson and that really lightened the mood for me and made me think of other things rather than what I was about to do.”
In terms of pre-competition rituals, Bevan listens to certain songs or genres beforehand to get psyched up.
While no two gymnasts are the same, he has stated that all competitors tend to follow similar patterns in their preparation.
He said: “Everyone likes to keep the same routine.
“Heading into it if you can produce the same things in training, then hopefully you can do the same thing in competition.”
A big crowd with high expectations is set to fill The O2 with around 17,000 tickets already reportedly snapped up.
But the charismatic and self-deprecating gymnast has a word of warning for the fans.
He said: “I don’t look as tall as I do on TV!
“I’m only like 5’6’’ so don’t be expecting big things when you meet me.
“My gymnastics is going to be big but not my height!”
The iPro World Cup of Gymnastics will be broadcast exclusively on Sky Sports Mix, which is available to all Sky customers.