Olympic medal winner wows Badminton girls

November 03 2014

GIRLS at Badminton School had the privilege of receiving a visit from Britain's most successful gymnast, Beth Tweddle.

GIRLS at Badminton School had the privilege of receiving a visit from Britain's most successful gymnast, Beth Tweddle.
The Olympic bronze medallist and three times world champion took 15 pupils, aged 11 and 12, through a programme of gymnastic activities including half hand stands, forward rolls, splits, how to present at the beginning and end of a performance – and the importance of pointy toes.
Tweddle, 29, who received an MBE in 2010 for her dedication to her sport, then gave a memorable and inspiring speech to Year 11s, providing an insight into the highs and lows of being a professional gymnast.
She stressed the importance of hard work, commitment, regular practice, and following their dreams - despite how unachievable they may seem.
Tweddle, who started gymnastics at the age of seven, trained around 25-hours a week while at secondary school - but still made studying her top priority. "Even as a top athlete, you still have to do your homework," she said.
Athens was the first Olympic event that Tweddle competed in at the age of 19.
From Athens, she then went on to compete in the Beijing Olympics with ambitions of winning a medal. However, her dreams were shattered after stumbling in the uneven bars final, narrowly missing out on third place.
"I never thought I would step onto the mat again - a lot of decisions had to be made after Beijing, but I always had London 2012 in the back of my mind."
The four years leading up to the 2012 Olympics, were the gymnast's most successful - she won three world titles, and six European titles.
And when it came to the Olympics in London, she finally managed to achieve her dream of picking up a medal.
Tweddle added: "The support and atmosphere at the London Olympics was absolutely incredible. It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.
"Seeing my name come up in third place was such a huge relief after 20 years. I didn't care that I was getting a bronze medal, it felt like gold to me.
"If you have a dream, you can achieve it. There will be set backs, but if you put in the hard work, then anything is possible."
Now retired, Tweddle has started up Total Gymnastics, which involves working with children of all ages across the country, inspiring them to try gymnastics.
She told the Henleaze and Westbury Voice: "They might have a dream, whether it's in an academic subject, sport or music, but just hearing someone who has done it through hard work and determination, then hopefully I can inspire one child and put a smile on their face. 
"You never know, they could be the stars of the future."
Headmistress Rebecca Tear said: “We are delighted to have welcomed Beth to Badminton. Her achievements are an inspiration to us all, but particularly for the girls.
"They thoroughly enjoyed her insightful talks, learning that despite inevitable setbacks, with determination and passion, you can reach your goals.”

Beth Tweddle & Badminton girls