Tweddle brings curtain down on career with Olympic medal
Monday, 06 August 2012
August 6 - Beth Tweddle, the most successful female British gymnast in history, marked her final appearance at the Olympic Games with a bronze medal in the uneven bars at the North Greenwich Arena.
The 27-year-old from Liverpool (pictured top), a former world, European and Commonwealth Games champion in the discipline, today scored 15.916 points to finish behind gold medallist Aliya Mustafina of Russia with 16.133 and He Kexin of China, who took silver with 15.933.
The result means Tweddle is the first British woman to secure an Olympic medal in an individual gymnastics competition.
She has now won a medal at every major competition in her best discipline after finishing just outside the medals in an agonising fourth place at Beijing 2008.
Having previously announced that London 2012 would be her last Olympics, the performance marks a fitting Games finale following a superb 12-year international career.
"It's the best feeling in the world to win the bronze medal," said Tweddle, who received deafening support from the home crowd.
"There was one point today I thought I'd end in fourth like in Beijing, so I'm really happy.
"This was the one medal missing from my collection – this is the one I really wanted.
"I tried to keep calm and do what I do best and the crowd were amazing – as soon as I walked into the arena it was incredible.
"I had a step on my dismount but at the end of the day I had to go for the difficult dismount to challenge for a medal.
"To be honest I could say 'what if' but I'm not disappointed in the slightest; any medal, any colour is what I always said I wanted, so I'm extremely happy."
At her current age Tweddle is considered relatively old for an elite female gymnast, but while she insisted there would be no chance of competing at Rio 2016 she will not leave the sport just yet.
"This is definitely my last Olympics," she confirmed.
"[But] I'm not retiring straight away – it would be too much on my mind and body just to stop.
"The federation [British Gymnastics] have said I can keep training a bit so I can decide what I want to do rather than make drastic decisions."
British team-mate Kristian Thomas' bid for a men's individual vault medal evaporated after he was awarded 15.533 following an error during landing in a competition won by Japan's Kohei Uchimura, who beats Germany's Marcel Nguyen.
Thomas had looked set to challenge for a top-three spot after a strong first vault, but a mistake when trying to land after his second attempt saw him drop down the leaderboard and finish in a disappointing eighth place.
August 2012: Smith takes Olympic silver and Whitlock bronze in thrilling pommel horse final
July 2012: British gymnasts secure historic bronze, but not silver, as China retains Olympic title