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
Tuesday 06 August 2013
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.
Latest in Sport
Mario Balotelli to Liverpool: Best memes as Twitter reacts to imminent £16m transfer
Manchester United transfer news: Louis van Gaal joins Arsenal and Chelsea in the race for Sami Khedira
Mario Balotelli takes 50 per cent pay cut to join Liverpool as Samuel as Eto’o waits in the wings if deal falls through
Crystal Palace next manager latest: Palace consider Ally McCoist - EXCLUSIVE
Click here for the full story." title="When a youngster asked for an autograph outside Manchester City's training ground, Balotelli demanded to know why the boy was playing truant. After the child revealed he was being bullied, Balotelli drove the boy and his mother to the school in question so he could tackle the bully himself. He demanded to see the headmaster to make him aware of the issue and then mediated between the two boys to resolve the problem. A source said: 'Mario feels strongly about bullying.' Click here for the full story." width="88" height="52" />Mario Balotelli: The funniest stories
- 1 'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
- 2 West poised to join forces with President Assad in face of Islamic State
- 3 Mother fed her daughter tapeworms to make her skinny for pageant
- 4 Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
- 5 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
£30000 - £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A global investment management fi...
£65000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Engineer-(CCIE, CC...
£70000 - £80000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Analyst - (CCIE, C...
£60000 - £80000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Engineer-(Design, ...