Great Britain’s double Olympic gymnastics champion; Max Whitlock, encouraged young gymnasts to follow in his footsteps as he led a special masterclass to launch the 2016 School Games.
The 2016 School Games are a major multi-sport event for elite young athletes taking place at Loughborough University from 1-4 September.
1,600 athletes from across the UK will compete in 12 sports, seven of which include disability disciplines, at the four-day spectacular which is supported by National Lottery funding from Sport England and delivered by the Youth Sport Trust.
Max, who became Britain’s first gymnastics gold medallist at Rio after claiming Gold medals in the individual floor and pommel horse, showed a group of gymnasts, who are due to compete at the 2016 School Games this week, the floor and vault techniques that have helped him to become one of the best gymnasts in the world.
Speaking at the masterclass, Max said:
Meeting some of the gymnasts here today reminds me of when I was setting out in my career and had ambitions to compete for Great Britain at a senior level. Rio was an incredible experience and to share some of that with the young gymnasts today is such a privilege.
The 2016 School Games aims to replicate the experience of a major sporting event like an Olympic and Paralympic or Commonwealth Games. It has spectacular opening and closing ceremonies, an athletes’ village and a full education programme that gives the competing athletes a unique insight into the world of elite sport.
“Going to an Olympic, Paralympic or Commonwealth Games is an incredible experience but it can also be a daunting one. The 2016 School Games provides young athletes with a taste of what a major multi-sport event experience is like and that can only help them in their future sporting careers.”
The School Games have provided a springboard for many of today’s biggest names in sport. Previous competitors include Paralympic gold medallists Ellie Simmonds, Hannah Cockroft and Jonnie Peacock along with GB sprinter Adam Gemili and heptathlete Katrina Johnson-Thompson.
Maisie Methuen who took part in the masterclass today, said:
“It has been fantastic to meet Max today and hear what it was like to compete at the Rio Olympic Games. The next few days at the School Games are going to be an incredible experience for me as we don’t mix with other sports in our regular gymnastics season. I have ambitions to compete for Great Britain in the future and the School Games is a vital step for me towards that.”
Following the gymnastics masterclass Max Whitlock will attend the spectacular opening ceremony of the 2016 School Games and officially open the event. The ceremony will include dance and music performances and the reading of the official oaths.
Loughborough University will host 11 of the sports at the 2016 School Games as well as providing an Olympic style athletes’ village, which will give competitors a real flavour of a major multi-sport event.
The School Games is set across four levels with the Loughborough event providing the national platform of sporting competition. Across the year young people compete in a range of sport at class-v-class, school-v-school and in county-wide sport festivals as part of the Games.