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The year in sport 2018: Gymnastics

2018 had a few milestone moments to treasure in Gymnastics, a sport which continues to grow in popularity and recognition around the world.

This year saw 22,000 gymnasts involved in British Gymnastics events, with 11,260 medals awarded to those athletes. All this was witnessed in front of 50,000 spectators over the course of the year. 

This year was the 130th anniversary of British Gymnastics, first founded in 1988, and in this anniversary year there were many British Gymnasts with a lot to celebrate.

Max Whitlock MBE, 25, who was the first ever Briton to win gold at the World Championships in 2016, claimed the 2018 Pommel Horse silver World Championship medal in artistic gymnastics, despite achieving the same score as the eventual winner Xiao Ruoteng, only to lose out to a lower execution score (8.366 to 8.566).

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Acrobatic men’s pair Charlie Tate and Adam Upcott claimed the world bronze at the World Championships while Elliot Browne and Shanice Davidson, just 18 years old, also claimed silver medals in the tumbling in St Petersburg.

Junior level gymnastics also showed off some of the bright upcoming British talents of the sport, with 15-year-old Amelie Morgan making British history. Morgan won five medals at the European Championships, writing history by becoming the first British gymnast to achieve this at at this event.

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Morgan then built on that success by winning three medals at the Youth Olympic Games taking a silver medal on the floor, a bronze on the beam and adding that to her silver in the all-round gymnastics final in Buenos Aires. 

16-year-old Andrew Stamp made history himself on day eight of the competition by winning his first, and Team GB’s first ever, Youth Olympic medal in the trampoline gymnastics. Stamp won the silver medal, losing out on gold to China’s Fantao Fu.

At the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Nile Wilson was the main man for Team GB as he claimed five medals, three gold and two silver, making him the most decorated gymnast of the games, amongst many other athletes competing as well. 

2018 also saw Louis Smith, a Team GB Olympian, retire from gymnastics at the age of 29. Smith is one of the most decorated gymnasts in Team GB history, winning four medals altogether.

His very first was ten years ago, in the Gymnastics Pomell Horse where he claimed a bronze medal at just 19 years of age in Beijing, his first taste of Olympic gymnastics.

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He then came back four years later in London 2012, in front of his home crowd, where he medalled twice more, winning a bronze in the Gymnastics Team All-Round and then a silver in the Gymnastics Pommelled Horse as well. Smith then completed a hat-trick of medals in the Pommelled Horse by winning silver in Rio in 2016, his last appearance at the Olympics. 

Smith also won three World Championship silver medals, two of them gold and a Commonwealth Games Pommel Horse title. 

There has been a flurry of upcoming British talent, and a passing of the torch as British gymnastics salutes the retiring Louis Smith. But 2018 also saw the successful bid to host the 2022 World Artistic Gymnastic Championships in Liverpool, an event which will take place in May. 

Featured photograph/Wikipedia Commons/Pierre-Yves Beaudouin

James Bayliss
James Bayliss, 23, is half Italian, half English and raised in London. He grew up in the capital doing several languages at school including French and Spanish before taking a degree in Italian and Business at the University of Kent. His studies at university started to shape his path in journalism as well, as his final year dissertation explored the relationship between football and Fascism. James first discovered his passion for journalism after a week of work experience at the Trinity Mirror and has gone back for work experience twice more since, having some articles published online. The work inspired him to create his own blog which he has been running for three years. He’s conducted interviews with some of the best journalists around in Alison Mitchell and Matt Dickinson, and has worked with Walking Football England captain Spencer Pratten on promoting the sport ahead of the upcoming inaugural Euro’s and World Cup. All this time dedicated to journalism has led him to doing a masters and NCTJ diploma at St Mary’s University Twickenham where he continues to learn and be mentored by some of the best in the industry.
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