• Gymnastics

Tweddle retires to launch legacy scheme

ESPN staff
August 6, 2013
Beth Tweddle jumps above children from the Beth Tweddle Academy on the day she announced her retirement © PA Photos

Beth Tweddle, Britain's most successful gymnast, has announced her retirement from the sport to launch the first athlete-led London 2012 legacy programme on the Olympic site.

The three-time world champion has called time on her professional career one year to the day after completing her medal collection with her first Olympic medal at London 2012, a bronze in the asymmetric bars.

The 28-year-old had and had already ruled out heading to Rio in 2016, but will now miss the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014.

"It's been a hard decision to make; gymnastics has been and always will be a massive part of my life," Tweddle said.

"Following the Olympics I've had a lot of projects on and recently I've had a bit more time to get back into the gym and decide whether I could put 100% into it and I know now deep down I can't commit to the hours and training to remain at the very top."

Tweddle claimed three world titles, six European crowns and seven national titles during her career, making her Britain's most decorated gymnast. As well as her Olympic bronze, she also took gold at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002.

She follows cyclists Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton and swimmer Rebecca Adlington in ending her sporting career at London 2012.

Tweddle made the announcement at Chobham Academy, a new school set to open next month in East Village, the new residential development on the site of the London 2012 athletes' village.

Chobham will host the Beth Tweddle Academy, the first athlete-led legacy programme on the London Olympic site, which will provide the opportunity for children to take up gymnastics.

"I don't think my achievements will ever really sink in but when I do look back I can be very proud of what I've done and how I've done it," Tweddle added.

"The London 2012 Olympics is where I achieved my life-long dream and now I hope I can inspire the next generation of youngsters by providing the opportunity for them to try gymnastics.

"I want to give every child an opportunity to try gymnastics. I had to try a lot of sports before I found gymnastics, this way children can have a go; they might love it, they might hate it, but at least we've given them the opportunity to try it."

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