Former Dancing on Ice winner Beth Tweddle looks ahead to the World Gymnastics Championships and and the return of the ITV skating show she won...
Beth Tweddle isn’t short of a medal or two. The gymnast won three World Championship golds over the years and took home the bronze for the uneven bars in London 2012.
But having retired in 2013, she’s now part of the BBC commentary team covering this year’s World Gymnastics Championships in Montreal – and after the success of Team GB in Rio, there are high hopes for a similar medal haul!
Here the former Dancing on Ice and The Jump star tells What’s On TV who could be bringing home gold for Britain…
So what excitement can we expect from Montreal? "It’s a very different year! There’s not only a new code of points that all the gymnasts are getting used to, but also a lot of the top gymnasts have either taken a bit of a break or they’ve retired, so there are a lot of new faces. But any stadium that has a bit of history, like Montreal does for the 1976 Olympics, creates that atmosphere gymnasts love to perform in."
There are high hopes for Max Whitlock, who won two golds in Rio, aren’t there? "Yeah, definitely. Max didn’t compete in the first part of the year, but he’s been back in training. I’ve see lots of videos of him performing and he’s ready. He was just a baby in London 2012, but he’s got a lot more competitions under his belt since then and he’ll be able to really draw on that experience. But whether he wins or not will depend on who he’s up against."
Nile Wilson is another British hope. Tell us about him… He’s back training after injury and he’ll be doing the high bar, which is literally about fraction of seconds of timing. It’s the blue ribbon ‘edge of your seat’ event that everyone loves watching. There are some big releases, some big tricks involved and there can also be some big crashes. Nile loves interacting with his fans on social media, too – they like to see his behind the scenes stuff!
Claudia Fragapane is also back in action after her stint on Strictly last year… Yes, she competed in the British Championships back in April, which was her first competition since being on Strictly and she really used the skills she picked up on the show in her floor routine! A lot of her choreography on floor now is inspired from her time on Strictly. I spoke to her coach and they’ve spent quite a lot of time picking out bits from her Strictly dance routines and working out which ones will work well in her routine."
And she’ll be up against Amy Tinkler, who won bronze in Rio… "Yes, it’s nice to have a couple of Brits that are so good! Amy had surgery earlier this year, so she’s also returning from injury, but she loves walking out into a big stadium and performing – she just switches up another level!"
Are there any new stars we should be looking out for? "So many of the newer stars have medal potential and Courtney Tulloch, who’s on the rings, is definitely one to watch. James Hall is a hope in the all-around, then there’s a young gymnast called Georgia-Mae Fenton, who’s got an incredible bar routine – she’s a definite potential for a medal."
Do you miss competing? "When I first became part of the commentary team, I’d be watching and wishing I was out on the floor. But now I just think about how many hours they’ve put in and all the ups and downs, the injuries and upset they’ve had to go through, and I’m quite happy to sit on the other side of the fence!"
Dancing On Ice is making a return after three years off air. Do you still have fond memories of your 2013 win? "Yes, I loved every minute of doing that show. It came at the right time for me straight after London 2012 and it gave me another focus. I’m still really good friends with Dan, my skating partner, and though I’m not skating at the minute, I’ve still got my skates!"
There are two slots on the judging panel alongside Torvill and Dean still to be announced. Would you be interested? "I’d never say no to anything! Obviously, having been a non-skater to suddenly have to perform live in front of people I’d know how they were feeling. But, no, I’m just looking forward to it coming back – I can’t wait to watch it!"
* The World Gymnastics Championships are on BBC2 every day from Thursday October 5
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