Gymnastics: Tweddle plots path to Olympic swansong

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The Independent Online

Beth Tweddle insists there is no danger of her motivation levels dropping for competitions in the run-up to London 2012. Tweddle, Great Britain's most successful artistic gymnast, hopes to bring down the curtain on her illustrious career in fitting style next summer by claiming an Olympic medal.

Between now and then the 26-year-old is due to compete in both World and European Championships, with the priority at the former in Tokyo later this year being the team effort to qualify for London.

Individually, Tweddle is already a multiple champion at both levels, but the City of Liverpool athlete insists her desire to win every event she enters will not diminish ahead of the grand finale.

"You can see why you could struggle, but I just love gymnastics," Tweddle said. "I know some athletes have said it is hard to gear themselves up with 2012 so close, but my motivation is that I am a perfectionist and I want to win everything.

"Every competition is a stepping stone towards London. If that was all I had, it would be a long 12 months, whereas I can split it into three sections – one leading into the World Championships, one leading into the European Championships and then one leading into the Olympics."

Tweddle used new routines at the 2011 European Championships in Berlin in April, where she took the bars title for a third successive year, but could only finish fourth in the floor competition she had also won in 2010 and 2009.

Given the level of experimentation, she was satisfied with the outcome. "I felt the routines went really well," Tweddle said. "In qualification, with the bar routine I got the full difficulty, which is what I was hoping for, and the reaction to it seemed pretty good.

"With the floor routine, I was only a couple of tenths [behind the overall winner] and that was with not much training behind it. Between now and the Olympics, my routines won't change that much, so I have a year to stabilise them."

Tweddle suffered concussion and a calf injury in the build-up to Berlin but after a period of rehabilitation is feeling good going into the British Championships, which take place at Liverpool's Echo Arena on 9 to 10 July. "We had a recovery camp in Mexico and I did a lot of work with the medical staff and rehab team," she said.