Hemel’s Max Whitlock ‘proud to have made Olympic history’

Olympic gymnast Max Whitlock.
Olympic gymnast Max Whitlock.

Hemel’s Olympic gymnastic hero Max Whitlock has spoken of his joy after landing two gold medals in a day.

Max torn up the British gymnastics record books with his performances in Rio where he won the men’s floor and pommel horse titles on Sunday.

He said afterwards: “This has outdone all of my expectations and I am proud to say I have made history. The Olympic Games only come around once every four years and that is what makes it so special.

“It was always going to be tough for me to medal on the floor and I knew I had to go for it so I’m delighted I managed to pull out one of my big scores.

“I just take things as they come and that is why I could focus on the pommel horse. The potential has always been there in the pommel horse but the floor was different and gold didn’t seem possible so I am so pleased.”

He beat Louis Smith into second spot on the pommel horse.

Max added: “Louis congratulated me coming out which I really appreciated. We are one and two in the world and that is a great place to be.

“I’ll have a bit of time out but that’s not me done. It’ll be back in the gym soon and working hard as this motivates me to do even more in the sport.”

Max became GB’s first ever Olympic gold medallist and the first British gymnast to medal on the floor exercise.

His five Olympic medals make him the most decorated Olympic gymnast in British history.

The floor came first where Max performed an outstanding routine with very few errors to earn a score of 15.633, enough to be crowned champion.

However he barely had time to celebrate that with the pommel horse competition shortly afterwards.

Louis Smith performed first and scored 15.833. Max went for a difficult routine to score 15.966 and take his second gold medal, with Louis winning silver.

Louis Smith MBE said: “I would have loved to have won the gold medal. What British athlete wouldn’t want to win the Olympic gold medal? However, I would rather lose to Max than anyone else. The gold is coming back to Britain.

“What a legacy Max is already building. It is bad for me but good for the sport and that is how it should be.

“I have always played catch up to Max since I came back to the sport following my break after London 2012. The evolution of sport is that the next generation pushes it and takes it to new levels. It was tough but at the same time I am so proud of what I have done.

“I’m not just doing this for myself. There are so many who have helped me and believed in me and that is why I couldn’t hold back the tears. I am proud that I have played a part in getting the ball rolling for British gymnastics and taking us to this point.

“I take some credit in getting us to this stage but Max was out there on his own and the reason Max won is because of Max. He deserves it.”