2012 Olympians Hannah England and Kristian Thomas have been appointed as British Gymnastics’ Athlete Ambassadors.
Middle distance runner Hannah and gymnast Kristian will act as representatives for our gymnasts and chairs of the Athlete Leadership Group. The new roles will provide a mechanism for our athletes to communicate their views and opinions to British Gymnastics and support the Performance Director and Performance Team in developing a positive and supportive culture within the World Class Programme.
Hannah, who is also chair of UK Athletics Athletes’ Commission is looking forward to supporting our gymnasts, saying: “My own extensive experience as an international athlete has opened my eyes to the importance of productive relationships between athletes and their governing bodies. This is paramount to optimising performance and athlete welfare. It has been a great year chairing the Athletes Commission in my own sport and I sincerely look forward to using my experience and perspective to support all the British Gymnastics athletes.”
Kristian retired from gymnastics last year completing a career that saw him take multiple individual honours at World Championships, European Championships and Commonwealth Games, win Olympic bronze with the British team at London 2012 and captain the team in Rio 2016. He’s looking forward to bring his years of experience to the role, saying: “I’m very excited to be taking on the athlete ambassador role. Working alongside the gymnasts and British Gymnastics to continue establishing a positive culture in which gymnasts can maximise their potential is something I’m very passionate about. Gymnastics has given me incredible opportunities and experiences, and the athlete ambassador role is the perfect way for me to share some of those experiences with the existing and next generation of gymnasts. “
British Gymnastics Performance Director, James Thomas: “Engaging and working with gymnasts is a crucial part of our Tokyo plan. The ambassador roles are designed to give gymnasts an additional route for advice and support through forming an athlete leadership team and also to provide a link with the management of the programme. Both Hannah and Kristian bring a wealth of experience to the roles and we will be giving them all the support they need to develop a relationship with the gymnasts in the World Class Programme.”
James Bell, Head of Culture at UK Sport: “Across the high-performance system the role of the athlete representative has been enhanced and emphasised in the Tokyo cycle and it is great to see British Gymnastics take a lead in this area by appointing two senior athletes into the Athlete Ambassador role. It is particularly encouraging to see senior athletes such as Hannah representing athletes from different sports as we consistently see the benefits of building relationships and sharing experiences from different sporting contexts across the high-performance system. Having worked closely with both Hannah and Kristian through the Athlete Representative induction events recently I am confident they contribute positively to the gymnasts’ experience on the World Class Programme and advocate effectively to ensure their voice is listened to.”