Exciting things happened in East Village yesterday, as Beth Tweddle MBE, who we spoke to earlier this year, chose none other than East Village’s brand-new school in which to break some headline-grabbing news. One year to the day since she won a bronze medal, Beth is retiring from competitive gymnastics. But it isn’t all bad news – instead of lying on a beach and taking a well-deserved break, Britain’s best gymnast is launching her first academy and the first athlete-led Olympic Legacy project from within the park itself.
What’s more, it will also actually be hosted in the glorious Chobham Academy, which overlooks where the bronze medallist stayed during the London 2012 Olympics. The Beth Tweddle Academy is part of a national
legacy programme run by Total Gymnastics, which aims to help as many children as possible to take up gymnastics. And if the take-up of this sport is anything like cycling, then we are sure the future Team GB will be a force to be reckoned with.
Beth said her aim is to allow children to quickly discover the sport, rather than slogging through other ones like she did. “I want to give every child an opportunity to try gymnastics. I had to try a lot of sports before I found gymnastics, this way children can have a go; they might love it, they might hate it, but at least we’ve given them the opportunity to try it.”
Looking at her CV, there is no one better placed than Beth to inspire the next generation of winners. Her achievements include winning bronze on the uneven bars last year, being crowned triple World Champion, six-time European Champion and seven-time consecutive National Champion. Then off the padded mats, she won ITV’s ‘Dancing on Ice’ with skating partner Daniel Whiston last year.
But she doesn’t let these wins go to her head. “I don’t think my achievements will ever really
sink in,” she said. “But when I do look back I can be very proud of what I’ve done and how I’ve done it. With hard work there’s always a way to succeed and always a way to achieve your dreams.”
Beth isn’t the only one excited about this new partnership. East Village proudly welcomes the first athlete-led legacy project to the former Olympic site. Derek Gorman, from East Village said: “We are thrilled to welcome Beth back to East Village and we’d like to congratulate her on her tremendous achievements at the London Games and throughout her career. It’s fantastic news that a Beth Tweddle Academy will be coming to Chobham Academy, bringing a first-class gymnastics programme to our doorstep for new residents and the existing local community to enjoy.”
Chobham Academy will work with Total Gymnastics, which is run by Beth and fellow Olympian Steve Parry, to provide gymnastics for boys and girls aged 2-14 years old. There will be Gym Stars programme for children aged two to eight and the British Gymnastics Proficiency programme for eight to fourteen year-old. Currently there are 11 Beth Tweddle Academies and 46 leisure centres running the Gym Stars programme. All in all, over 5,000 children are currently given the opportunity to try gymnastics across the UK.