Hemel Hempstead's Max Whitlock is an Olympic champion again!

The Hemel Hempstead-born gymnast retained his pommel horse title in Tokyo to take his place alongside the Team GB greats

Sunday, 1st August 2021, 12:03 pm
Updated Sunday, 1st August 2021, 12:04 pm
Hemel Hempstead's Max Whitlock shows off his gold medal after retaining his Olympic pommel horse title in Tokyo. Pictures by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Hemel Hempstead’s Max Whitlock is a double Olympic pommel horse champion after he retained his title in Tokyo this morning (Sunday).

The 28-year-old was born and raised in Hemel and attended Longdean School while spending the early days of his gymnastics career at Sapphire School of Gymnastics in the town.

He won the pommel horse Olympic title in Rio five years ago and repeated the trick today.

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Max Whitlock went first in the competition and produced a performance that couldn't be beaten

Going first in the competition, Whitlock set the standard as he maintained excellent momentum during his routine and scored a huge 15.583.

It was a score that couldn’t be beaten by any of the next seven finalists as the Hemel boy was able to celebrate even more success at the Games.

Whitlock, who now represents South Essex Gymnastics Club, is now ranked amongst the Team GB greats with six Olympic medals - three golds and three bronze - to his name.

Speaking to the BBC, Whitlock said: “I feel absolutely lost for words.

Max Whitlock celebrates after he was crowned Olympic pommel horse champion for a second time

“I can’t even describe the feeling, I feel completely overwhelmed and it feels very, very surreal.

“I have been watching the sports, Team GB have been doing absolutely incredible, the gold medals have been flowing in and I just wanted to do the same thing.

“To come out here and get my own, I feel very proud.

“The pressure was there and I could really feel that. It’s the most pressured environment I have ever been in.

“Chasing is 10 times easier than retaining, I have learnt that throughout my journey, I feel fortunate to have been able to learn that.

“Experience pays a lot in situations like this and I am just incredibly happy and thankful for the journey that we have been on to get here.

“I literally can’t quite believe it.”