Gymnastics: Olympic hero Beth Tweddle retires after raising the bar for Britain

London 2012 bronze medallist will open academy to unearth stars of the future

A year to the day since she claimed Olympic bronze in the uneven bars, Beth Tweddle became the latest star of London 2012 to announce her retirement after a glittering career that has helped to transform gymnastics in Britain.

As with Sir Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton, Rebecca Adlington and Sir Ben Ainslie in cycling, swimming and sailing respectively, the three-times world champion's departure at the age of 28 marks the end of an era. Before Tweddle came along, no British gymnast had even won a medal at a World Championships, but she leaves as the standard bearer for a sport which has made significant strides since she first represented her country in junior competition aged nine.

"It's been a hard decision to make; gymnastics has been and always will be a massive part of my life," Tweddle said at Chobham Academy, a new school which opens next month on the site of the London 2012 Athletes' Village that will house the new Beth Tweddle Academy.

"Following the Olympics I've had a lot of projects and recently I've had a bit more time to get back into the gym and decide whether I could put 100 per cent into it, and I know now deep down I can't commit to the hours and training to remain at the very top. I don't think my achievements will ever really sink in but when I do look back I can be very proud of what I've done and how I've done it."

Those achievements make up some list. As well as last year's bronze and world titles in 2006, 2009 and 2010, Tweddle was a six-time European champion and seven-time national champion but her true legacy was helping to improve Britain's reputation as a poor relation of the gymnastics fraternity .

An unprecedented four gymnastics medals in London – two more than the target set by UK Sport – has left the sport in rude health ahead of next year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Now Tweddle is hoping Total Gymnastics, the company she set up with former Olympic swimmer Steve Parry, can help to unearth new talent as part of a government-sponsored national programme. "The London 2012 Olympics is where I achieved my life-long dream and now I hope I can inspire the next generation by providing the opportunity to try gymnastics," said Tweddle.

"The [Chobham Academy] school opens this September and my academy will be starting in mid-October. I want to give every child an opportunity. I had to try a lot of sports before I found gymnastics. This way children can have a go; they might love it, they might hate it, but we've given them the opportunity to try it."

Brilliant Beth: Tweddle's triumphs

2000 Gold Junior C'wealth Games. 2002 Gold Commonwealth Games.

2003 First Briton to win a World Championship medal (bronze). 2004 Silver at European Championships on uneven bars.

2006 First Briton to win European Championship gold. First Briton to be world champion. Gold again on uneven bars at World Cup final.

2009 Wins World title a second time.

2010 Gold medals on uneven bars at European and World Championships plus gold in floor event at Europeans.

2012 Olympic bronze on uneven bars.

News
Patrick Stewart in the classiest ice bucket to date
peopleSir Patrick took a more understated approach to the challenge
News
The current recommendation from Britain's Chief Medical Officer, is that people refrain from drinking on at least two days a week
scienceTheory is that hangovers are caused by methanol poisoning
Arts and Entertainment
tvWe have created an infogaphic that looks back over the previous incarnations of the Doctor
Sport
Olivier Giroud celebrates after his late goal saved Arsenal a point at Goodison Park
football Giroud rescues a point for Arsenal after they trailed by two goals
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
News
newsComedian Lee Hurst started trend with first tweet using the hashtag
News
i100
News
Australian rapper Iggy Azalea was left red faced but, thankfully, unhurt after taking a few too many steps backwards, sending her tumbling off the stage.
people
Life and Style
A nearly completed RoboThespian robot inside the Engineered Arts workshop is tested in Penryn, England. The Cornish company, operating from an industrial unit near Falmouth, is the world's only maker of commercially available life sized humanoid robots
techSuper-intelligent robots could decide destroying the human race is the kindest thing to do
Life and Style
techConcept would see planes coated in layer of micro-sensors and able to sense wear and tear
News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
News
newsRyan Crighton goes in search of the capo dei capi
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
News
i100
Extras
indybest

Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Software Developer (Java /C# Programmer)- London

£30000 - £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A global investment management fi...

Senior Network Engineer-(CCIE, CCNP, Cisco, London)

£65000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Engineer-(CCIE, CC...

Senior Network Analyst - (CCIE, Cisco, CISSP)

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Analyst - (CCIE, C...

Senior Network Engineer-(Design, Implementation, CCIE)

£60000 - £80000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Engineer-(Design, ...

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition