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GB gymnasts smash medal target

August 12, 2012 13:17 pm

Great Britain's artistic gymnasts surpassed all expectations and smashed their medal target in their most successful ever Olympic Games.

The men's squad of Louis Smith, Daniel Purvis, Max Whitlock, Kristian Thomas and Sam Oldham kick-started the medal rush when they won Britain's first Olympic men's team medal in a century by claiming bronze.

Smith, an individual bronze medallist on the pommel horse in Beijing, upgraded to silver on the apparatus with Whitlock closely behind in bronze, before Beth Tweddle claimed her first Olympic medal on the uneven bars.

In her Olympic swansong, Tweddle swung to bronze to win Britain's fourth medal and beat the target of one to two gymnastics medals at the Games.

It also doubled Team GB's Olympic gymnastics medal haul of all time - only four had been won in the history of the Games before London 2012.

The Great Britain women - Tweddle, Hannah Whelan, Rebecca Tunney, Imogen Cairns and Jennifer Pinches - also achieved their best Olympic gymnastics team result in the post-war era after they finished sixth in the team final.

Purvis admitted the success for British gymnastics at the Games had been unprecedented.

He said: "Going into this Games were weren't expecting this.

"Realistically we were thinking about Louis' pommel medal and then we knew there was an outside chance for me and Kristian in the all-around but to get four medals, it's just been amazing.

"The girls did amazing as well with Beth on the bars. I think it is the belief of everything. British gymnastics is on a very big high at the moment."

And the Liverpool-born gymnast, who also competed in the individual all-around final with Thomas, believes the future is now bright for the road to the Rio Games in 2016.

Purvis said: "It's a really strong team coming up. Four years is a long time away but hopefully we will be able to field a strong team.

"We've got a good set of juniors coming up. It's good now that we have the belief after these Games."

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