Beth Tweddle: Addicted to Gymnastics

I came across an article in The Independent on Sunday by Alan Hubbard. Beth Tweddle discusses Spelbound, her company “Total Gymnastics” and the 2012 Olympics.

Tweddle, the best gymnast Britain has ever produced, who came away with two individual golds and a team silver, puts it down to “a new belief, particularly among the younger gymnasts, hard work, the right coaching and Lottery funding”.

The 25-year-old “Tweds” has become the sport’s talisman having made her international debut in 2001 and winning Commonwealth, European and two world titles. “A lot of people have asked me ‘why do you keep going?’ ” she says. “The motivation is still there and I have one dream: to win a medal in 2012. Any colour will do. I am very hopeful about our chances in the Olympics because there is great strength in depth, particularly among the women.”

Gymnastics has a new look, and female competitors have a new shape. Amanda Kirby, the most successful club coach in the country, explains that there is more emphasis on strength and athleticism. The sport hasn’t changed, neither have the skills, but the training workload has. The time when young gymnasts were all skin and bone has passed. Now you need all-round fitness and a bit more muscle. Kirby, who has coached Tweddle since 1997, says: “The great thing about Beth is her mental strength. She is not exceptionally talented physically but she works tremendously hard. Her determination and dedication are phenomenal.”

Dedication is certainly the name of her game. The line between perfection and pain is as delicately balanced as a pair of feet on the beam, and she has had to bounce back after a number of injuries which have seen her undergo three shoulder operations and half a dozen on her ankles.

Read the full article here

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