Multiple major championship medallist, Kristian Thomas, has been inducted in to the British Gymnastics Hall of Fame at the 2017 National Awards held in Duxford, Cambridge.
Having enjoyed a career that has spanned more than a decade, which included winning medals at European and World Championships and a famous team bronze at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Kristian becomes only the second person inducted in to the Hall of Fame, joining Beth Tweddle MBE, who was inducted in 2014.
The Hall of Fame is the ultimate award within the British Gymnastics awards list, celebrating the outstanding achievements of British gymnasts on the highest international stage; the culture of self-belief, tenacity and enthusiasm which they have shown and their ability to have inspired and become role models for the younger generation.
And it was Beth herself that was present at the National Awards to induct Kristian on Saturday 21st October, at an evening celebrating the outstanding achievements of people within the gymnastics community.
Receiving the award from Beth, Kristian said: “It’s obviously a great privilege to be inducted. Gymnastics has been my life for over 20 years, and to be recognised and honoured is something I’m very proud of. It’s never something that you think of when you first start out in a sport, but to celebrate the ending of my career as a gymnast in this way is obviously fantastic.
“Gymnastics has been so much more to me than just a sport. I’ve got to travel the world, I’ve competed in sold out arenas, represented my country and won medals for my country. It’s been an incredible journey. 23 years ago, when I walked through the doors at Earls Gymnastics Club at five years old, I would never have thought I’d be here.
“I think what has been really important is the coach-gymnast relationship I’ve had. Luckily for me I’ve had that relationship from the moment I walked through the door at Earls. Michelle (Bradley) has been on this journey with me all the way through to the last competition and I’d like to say a massive thank you to her.
“I’d also like to say thank you to British Gymnastics, the national coaches on the men’s programme; Eddie (Van Hoof), thank you for having continued faith in me through team selections. Also, a big thank you to Andrei Popov who has worked tirelessly with me the past 12 years, enabling me to be the best that I can be.
“I’d also like to thank my parents and my wife. They’ve been that constant support network that has been around me from day one. They’ve been through the highs and lows and the ups and downs. They’ve been on this journey from start to finish.
“Lastly, I’d like to thank my teammates. These are the guys I spent day in day out with. These are the guys that have incredible work ethic, drive, energy and passion. They have that positivity they need to get the best out of themselves, and have known how to get the best out of me. It’s been an absolute pleasure sharing the gyms, hotels, airports and podiums with these guys and I wish them all the very best for the future.
“It's a very exciting time for British Gymnastics and as a fan of the sport, and now retired, I’m looking forward to seeing the direction that it goes over the next few years.
“To anybody involved in gymnastics, the three best bits of advice I’ve learned and that I can give you is to dream big, work hard and always listen to your coach!”
- Two-time Olympian (2012 & 2016)
- Historic team bronze at the London 2012 Olympics
- Team captain at the Rio 2016 Olympics
- Two World Championship medals (2013 vault bronze & 2015 team silver)
- Seven medals at European Championships (2010 team silver, 2012 team gold, 2014 team silver & high bar bronze, 2015 floor gold, 2016 team silver & high bar silver)
- Four medals at Commonwealth Games (2006 team bronze, 2014 team gold, high bar silver & vault silver)
- Five-time British apparatus champion (2014 high bar gold, 2015 vault, floor & high bar gold, 2016 vault gold)