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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future