In her first official appearance since taking part in the Channel 4 television programme, The Jump, Beth Tweddle MBE made a welcomed return to the sporting stage when she made a special appearance at the 2016 British Gymnastics Championships on Saturday 9th April.
Beth’s initial surprise appearance was via video message, which was greeted by the capacity crowd of 6,000 with deafening screams and applause.
“I’m taking each day at it comes,” Beth said. “I’m working with the doctors and physios and I am making good progress.”
However, the surprises kept coming as Beth was actually at the event and just prior to Max Whitlock and Claudia Fragapane being crowned winners of the men’s and women’s all-around titles at the 2016 British Gymnastics Championships, she spoke directly to the crowd and also, exclusively, to British Gymnastics.
“The support from the gymnastics community has been unbelievable,” she said. “The cards and best wishes I have received have been amazing. Even when I was in the hospital my parents and management were reading them out to me. The support over the last few months has been overwhelming. The gymnastics community has supported me since I was very young and the support continues and I am so grateful.”
Having said how proud she was that her hometown Liverpool was hosting the 2016 British Gymnastics Championships, she also said of the event:
“It’s such an important competition for every single gymnast competing, especially those trying to get to the Olympic Games.”
“Being in my home town, it’s really nice to be able to come down and see and support all the gymnasts competing. Being an Olympic year, it's obviously very special and I can understand what they are all going through because four years ago I was in the exact position, in my quest to get to the London games.
“It’s been really nice for me to get back into my own world and support all the gymnasts and wish them all well ahead of Rio.”
Speaking about how she uses her Olympic experience to inspire upcoming gymnasts, Beth added:
“I’m often asked to take my Olympic medal with me when I visit the many gymnastics clubs I go to and the children just love to look at it and hold it. The reaction most children have is incredible, which is the reaction you want because you want to inspire the next generation of gymnasts. I was a kid who worked hard and achieved my dreams and many out there can do the same too. British gymnasts have proved that recently with fantastic results after results.”
Finally, speaking about the rise of British Gymnastics, Beth said:
“It’s incredible. A few years ago we were talking about the potential of one Olympic medal, whereas now we are looking at numerous names who could come home with medals from Rio. After the success of the World Championships last year, both the men’s and women’s teams, anything could happen later this year in Rio. The team will shortly be selected so it is an exciting time for all those involved.
“I would just say to those who are selected to go to Rio remember, you’ve done all the hard work to get there. Make the most of every opportunity and just do what you know.”