Max Whitlock sets his sights on further Olympic glory

Max Whitlock
Max Whitlock

London 2012 star Max Whitlock has set his sights on leading the British gymnastics team at the Rio 2016 Olympics after claiming the prestigious English Championship title last weekend.

Hemel Hempstead hero Max, 20, bagged two bronze medals at the Olympics in London last summer, and the Adeyfield man is now targeting future Olympic glory.

Olympic silver medallist Louis Smith skippered the team in London but he is not expected to compete this year after taking on other projects.

“I would absolutely love to lead the team in Rio,” said Max.

“Louis led the team in London and he did a great job, and it would be a real honour for me to do the same.”

Max had has a few months for his Olympic exploits to sink in, and he admits that his experience in London has made him hungry for future success.

“It does still feel weird if I think about it (being an Olympic medallist), but I’ve done that and now I want to add to it,” he said.

Max certainly looks on track to significantly bolster his medal collection over the next few years, and he started by winning the overall title at the English Championships in his first competition since the Games.

The former Longdean School pupil finished in first place overall with a score of 89.4 at the Europa Centre in Kent, and added gold medals on both the pommel horse and floor.

He scored 15.9 on pommel – his specialist apparatus – and 15.0 on the floor, and added silver medals on the rings and parallel bars.

The competition counted as a trial for the European Championships to be held in Moscow in April this year, where Max will be hoping to continue his sparkling form.

He will also be competing in a World Cup event in France later this month, before swiftly heading off to the British Championships in Liverpool on March 23 and 24.

South Essex Gymnastics Club member Max said: “I want to get in the team for the British Championships and hopefully I will be doing the pommel and the floor as well because I’ve really upped my routine.

“I’m really focussing on my training at the moment with three big competitions coming up.”