Looking ahead after his recent victory at the English Championships, Max Whitlock is brimming with pride to have worn English colours in two previous Commonwealth Games, and hopes to make his third appearance on the Gold Coast in 2018.
At the age of just 23, Whitlock’s trophy cabinet is of an impressive magnitude, containing 21 medals from nine major international championships. But Whitlock’s most impressive collection comes from the Commonwealth Games. Winning three medals at his first Games in 2010, the English gymnast went on to sweep the floor with his competitors at the Glasgow 2014 Games, in which he claimed team, all-around and floor golds.
With less than two years to go, Whitlock’s love affair with the Commonwealth Games looks set to continue to the Gold Coast.
“I’m very excited for the Gold Coast. I’d obviously love to do that competition and it would be my third one.
“I’m really looking forward to taking on the Aussies. It should be a brilliant competition and I’ve been out to Australia once; it was an amazing place. If we can go out there and get things done, obviously representing our country, it will be brilliant. The Commonwealth Games is a really nice, relaxed multisport event. I’d love to keep going until then.”
Growing up in Hemel Hempstead and training with the South Essex Gymnastics Club, Whitlock is a home grown champion. Becoming the first ever British man to claim World Championship gold in 2015, the gymnast has for a long time been a source of great national pride. His nomination for Sports Personality of the Year in 2015 certainly indicates his popularity with the nation, and his recent gold in the English Championship pommel horse has kept him in the limelight of English gymnastics. The nation’s appreciation of the gymnast is reflected by his own feelings towards competing for his country.
“I feel proud to represent England. It’s obviously where I’ve been my whole life. You work so hard towards what you do and when you go to receive your kit, representing your country, it’s a great feeling. When you walk out on the stage, you’ve got all the people supporting you and backing you. I love representing England.”
The next major challenge for the gymnast will be the Olympic Games in Rio where Whitlock feels confident in the health and potential of the developing team.
“It’s been an amazing journey. As a sport it’s come on massively over the last few years, and the results have got better and better. It really does push us to go further and aim even higher. Every competition we come off the back of we’re feeling more motivated.
“The pressure’s changed since London 2012; it’s not just going in hoping for a result – people are expecting it. Hopefully in these competitions that are coming up, we can use our experience from Glasgow, from the World Championships, from the Commonwealths, and go into Rio feeling good.”
By the time of the Commonwealth Games in 2018, Team England should be stronger than ever, and Whitlock hopes to be at the forefront of English gymnastics on the Gold Coast.