British Gymnastics is sad to announce the sudden passing of Carol Ford on the morning of 27th April 2017. Carol was a woman with determination and drive who set into motion the actions that have led to the incredible success that our men’s artistic gymnasts are having in the world today.
Carol was, for her time a rare and unique coach – a female who coached “Men’s Artistic Gymnastics” of which she did to the highest possible level. Indeed, she was the first ever female to head the coaching team of a men’s artistic international team. Carol was very passionate about the sport, always willing to give her time and expertise. Her ability to pass knowledge onto the boys she coached was excellent.
After first getting involved in the sport with her son Simon, Carol became qualified to run her own club and was eventually offered the position of head coach for men’s gymnastics by Len and Yvonne Arnold at Harrow School of Gymnastics. There she continually produced excellent male gymnasts. Her prodigy was “Kanukai Jackson” who became British Champion twice and became the All-around Champion at the 2002 Commonwealth Games. At the age of 16 at a national final, Kanukai was the first ever junior to perform a handspring double front somersault vault, which he performed with incredible power blowing the ceiling of the junior code at the time. He actually scored 11.10 for that vault but 10.00 was the highest score anyone could be given. This meant the code had to be revaluated – an incredible achievement at that time.
For many years’ Carol ran and organised the men’s artistic discipline for the London Gymnastics Federation. She was also an extremely able coach in general gymnastics, inspiring love of the sport and excellence basics for many hundreds, probably thousands of young boys in her time. She also got involved with the Men’s National Disability Squad training with Jackie Lewis and Dave Balmer passing on her knowledge and expertise and was an excellent mentor who always had time to encourage new coaches to join her team.
Carol made many incredible contributions to our sport and will missed by all those who knew her.