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Korbut backing Tweddle for gold

August 3, 2012 11:51 am

Gymnast Beth Tweddle will win Olympic gold and herald the start of a new era of British gymnastics, according to four-time champion Olga Korbut.

Tweddle will make her final bid for an Olympic medal in Monday's uneven bars final, the day after Beijing bronze medallist Louis Smith mounts his challenge for glory on the pommel horse.

The British men's five made history on Monday night when they won the first Olympic team medal in a century but Korbut, who claimed four golds in the 1972 Munich Games, believes this is only the beginning for the sport in this country.

Tweddle faces stiff competition from world uneven bars champion Viktoria Komova, reigning Olympic champion He Kexin of China and newly crowned individual all-around champion, Gabrielle Douglas of the United States, but Korbut has backed her to win her first Olympic title.

"Beth Tweddle is not at an Olympics for the first time and she will beat Viktoria Komova," Korbut said.

"I do not hope she will win, I know she will win. She has big potential. She is very competitive and has a lot of experience. I don't think she is so much better but she has something. I like her."

Former Soviet Union gymnast Korbut shot to fame 40 years ago at the Munich Games where she revolutionised gymnastics, introducing new complex moves on beam and bars, known as the "Korbut Flip", and prompting renewed worldwide interest in the sport.

The 57-year-old, who was nicknamed the "Sparrow from Minsk" during her Olympic heyday, believes the achievements of the British gymnastics team, especially the men, will help to revolutionise the sport in this country.

"I think the British men can do for gymnastics in this country what I did in 1972," Korbut said. "They are tremendous. What they are doing now is making the impossible, possible.

"Look at them, the men and women. Hello - very good. They will bring more men to gymnastics which means you can choose more. This Olympic Games is just the beginning for British gymnastics. You will see."

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