Tweddle's Ready For A First Class Routine

5:06 PM

Below is an article on Elizabeth Tweddle by Daily Star writer Kevin Francis, which was published yesterday (14/03/2012).


BETH TWEDDLE has set herself one major Olympic target – to fly home from ­London in first class!
Tweddle will never forget her miserable flight back from the Beijing Games after finishing fourth in the parallel bars.
She failed to win a medal by a whisker in 2008 after taking a backward step on her dismount and her near miss almost made her quit the sport.
Tweddle thought long and hard about it on the flight home, where she was at the rear of the Team GB plane, near the toilets!
She said: “The medal winners were all in first class. There was no upgrade for me because I didn’t have a medal. It was a ­terrible feeling.
“I then had to wait for my bags at the carousel after the winners’ bags had come out quickly as they had special luggage tags.
“This time hopefully I can fly back to Liverpool in first class.
“I will be gutted if I don’t get a ­ first-class flight. That is my ­ambition in life.”
And it’s no more than ­Britain’s most successful ­gymnast of all time deserves after amassing more titles and medals than any other Brit in her sport.
The three-time world champion has almost single-handedly ­reinvented British gymnastics in a prestigious career spanning 10 years. Her global record now places her in the ‘greatest of all time’ category within her sport.
Tweddle is a double Olympian, three-time world champion, ­six-time European champion, Commonwealth champion and won seven consecutive ­national championships between 2001 and 2007.
In 2009 Tweddle claimed her ­second world title in front of a home crowd at the O2 Arena in ­ London, a phenomenal career highlight and a feat she wants to repeat this summer.
Tweddle, 26, will retire after these ­Olympics but almost quit four years ago after what she felt was a disappointing show in ­Beijing.
She said: “I almost quit. I went on holiday straight away after returning because everything was all about Team GB after we came back on the same plane.
“Every newspaper, TV channel and radio station was all about the homecoming and how well we had done.
“But I just didn’t think I had done that well. I hated it and just wanted to get away from it all.
“It was hard. If anyone had said I would come fourth in the Olympics I would have been over the moon.
“But the fact that I came so close made it hard to accept. I thought that was my last chance at the Olympics gone. I didn’t think I would still be here for these Games.
“I thought I had let myself and my coach down, even though there was no real criticism of me.
“In fact, everyone was ­saying how well I had done. I think it was me that was the problem, rather than anyone else.
“It was so hard I literally booked a holiday with my friend right away. We got the first flight out.
“It turned out to be Kavos. But even on a Greek island people kept asking me about the Games.
“It was a horrible experience. I hated myself, I hated the ­­ Olympics and hated gymnastics.
“There was no way I was ­going to carry on in the sport.”
Thankfully, Tweddle did not carry out her threat to walk away – despite the constant ­reminders of what she regarded as her Beijing failure.
She added: “After a week of not training I was ready to get back in the gym and knew I wasn’t ready to walk away.
“Now I have the ideal chance to make amends. There is a lot of pressure because so many ­people want me to get a medal.
“But my coach has sat me down and said that she doesn’t want me to put too much ­pressure on ­myself and simply enjoy ­myself.”
Team 2012, presented by Visa, is helping to deliver Team GB and ParalympicsGB – Our Greatest Team for 2012.

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