Max Whitlock’s golden 2014 might yet reap further reward, but whatever happens the three-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist insists he heads into next year full of confidence.
As far as seasons go you will be hard tasked to find one better than Whitlock’s in 2014, the 21-year-old kicking things off at the European Championships in Sofia where he upgraded his pommel horse bronze from the previous year to a gold, as well as helping Great Britain to silver in the team competition.
Whitlock then went on represent Team England at the Commonwealth Games and left Glasgow with five medals around his neck, including team, all-around and floor gold, silver in the pommel horse and parallel bars bronze.
However he still had plenty left in the tank as he travelled to Nanning for the World Championships to add all-around silver to his impressive collection.
All this saw Whitlock named on the shortlist for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, the first gymnast to be handed the honour since Beth Tweddle in 2009.
This was an added bonus for Whitlock, but he insists he is staying grounded no matter what happens, with another big year around the corner.
“I was so pleased with this year and getting recognised by being nominated for the Sports Personality award with such big names is amazing,” he said.
“It is great for British Gymnastics too I think as we have had some success this year and it shows that we are heading in the right direction.
“This year has been fantastic and I have actually never had the opportunity to go to the Sports Personality of the Year awards ceremony because I have always been competing or on holiday, so to be able to go and be up for it too is amazing.
“Next year will be just as busy though so I have to keep going. I just have to keep doing what I am doing and keep trying to improve.
“It all starts next year in March with the British Championships and then there is another European and World Championships which will both be massive steps to Rio 2016 so I have to keep going.
“The Europeans are in the same venue as the Glasgow Commonwealth Games too so it will be good to go back there because of the memories, but it is all systems go for Rio now and that is what I am focussing on.”
Whitlock was pipped to the all-around title at the World Championships by Japan’s Kohei Uchimura, the London 2012 Olympic champion.
And while Whitlock was delighted to be among such esteemed company, the Team England star is determined to turn the tables next time around.
“The Europeans was a great start and the Commonwealth Games was great fun but going into the Worlds I started to feel tired as it had been a busy year already,” he added.
“But I knew I had to keep pushing and to be on the podium just behind Kohei Uchimura, who I was brought up idolising and watching, was unbelievable.
“I used to study him loads on Youtube so it was an unreal experience to be next to him on the podium, but now it is all about finishing ahead of him.”
© Sportsbeat 2014