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Introducing Britain's Top Gymnast Beth Tweddle

2003 was a year of mixed fortune for Beth who struggled with ankle injuries throughout the year, meaning she was unable to compete all 4 events at the World Championships in Anaheim , California . Beth was still an essential member of the team and her scores were a crucial factor in GB qualifying a team to the Athens Olympic Games

However, the work was not over for Beth like it was for her team mates, she qualified to the bars finals and desperately wanted to make up for the disappointment a year ago when many felt she deserved the bronze medal but had to settle for 4th . Competing first, Beth performed her routine to the best of her ability and had to sit back and watch the 7 remaining competitors take their turn. In the end only two would surpass Beth, and history was made once again with another bronze medal.

2004 was the year that Beth had been working for since she was 7. With her ultimate goal of the 2004 Olympics in sight, Beth was determined to stay injury free so that she could compete in the all-around in Athens . At the European championships in Amsterdam Beth helped the team place an unprecedented 5th and placed 11th AA. Only legendary bar worker Svetlana Khorkina bettered Beth's score.

Beth's silver medal was actually the 400th medal ever to be awarded at a European Championships and she received a special award from Nadia Comaneci. At the National championships later that year Beth easily retained her 4th All-Around title and it was not a surprise to anyone that she successfully made the Olympic team. Athens proved to be an amazing experience for the then teenager.

For the last six years one British gymnast has dominated competitions both at home and abroad. 20-year-old Beth Tweddle won her first National title back in 2001 and has won every year since then, a feat she last repeated in July 2006.

The 2006 British Championships for Women held in The Guildford Spectrum over the weekend 7/9th July 2006 will be long remembered with two memorable events:

• The 21-year-old “Prima” of British Gymnastics, Beth Tweddle from Liverpool convincingly won her sixth British overall title in a row (Overall score- 60.750), thus leaving only one last record in the sport’s history still unbeaten by herself, i.e. Pat Hurst’s eight British titles, between 1947 and 1956!

In addition to this, Beth won the 2006 British titles on A. Bars, Beam and Floor and was awarded with three very special Trophies:

Pat Hurst Trophy for the highest score on A. Bars (16.050)
The Elite Trophy for the highest score on Vault or Floor (15.450, Floor)
The Arun Trophy for the highest score on Beam- 14.850

“After my injury at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in March, I felt pretty down, but continued training and regained my confidence after the recent Friendly International GB versus China in Liverpool. I am very happy with my performances in Guildford and will now concentrate on my preparation for the World Championships in Aarhus (DEN), in October”, said Beth.

So far Beth has had a spectacular career that has far surpassed the results and recognition of any British gymnast before her. Despite having a successful year in 2001, it was in 2002 when people around the world started to take notice of this excellent bars worker. In May Beth competed at the European Championships, held in Greece . Placing 14th AA, she qualified to bars and beam finals. After an amazing display on the asymmetric bars, Beth won Great Britain 's first ever European medal for a female gymnast, a bronze. At the Manchester Commonwealth Games Beth helped the British team to silver and repeated her 2nd place finish in the all-around competition. Going one better in event finals, Beth won gold on her specialty event in front of a delighted home-crowd.

photo Sarah Kirby

In her early career, Beth trained locally at Crewe & Nantwich GC under top coaches Charlie Oaks and Fergus Beedham. Beth was fairly successful as she came up through the levels and was a member of the British Under-12s squad from 1994 to 1996. After her first British Espoir Championships in 1997, Beth switched clubs to City of Liverpool club.

The move obviously suited Beth, as she has progressed and developed considerably since moving there. Disaster struck at the 1998 British Championships when Beth broke her foot warming up for the Espoir floor finals. Her injury was identical to one that had denied team mate Emma Williams the Junior AA title the previous day. It was a cruel double blow for the Liverpool programme, but every cloud has a silver lining, and many observers trace the story of Beth's bars brilliance back to this period when she was unable to put any pressure on her foot, and bars work was the only alternative to conditioning as she recovered from the injury.

DOB April 1st 1985
PLACE OF BIRTH Johannesburg, South Africa
HOME TOWN Bunbury, Cheshire
UNIVERSITY Liverpool St. John Moore's
FAMILY Dad Jerry, Mum Anne, brother James
Despite not having the results she had hoped for after not qualifying for the bar final and a disastrous beam routine opening her All-Around competition, Beth enjoyed every second her month of being an Olympian. Staying in the Olympic village with the rest of the British team, Beth enjoyed mingling with stars from other sports and other countries and was captured on the BBC footage of the closing ceremony on the shoulders of a member of the hockey team, waving her GB flag!

Beth has stated that she intends on competing at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne , Australia . After this Beth will see how she is feeling but Beijing 2008 is definitely a possibility. Beth is currently in her first year at Liverpool's St John Moore University and recently won the BUSA Championships.

The Liverpool team have been dominant in recent years, helped largely by Beth's amazing scores and a talented crop of junior gymnasts. She splits her training time between Liverpool and the national training centre, Lileshall. At Liverpool Beth is coached by Amanda Kirby, a 1984 Olympic gymnast and now world-renowned high-performance coach.
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