Tinkler revelling in role-model duties ahead of iPro World Cup of Gymnastics

Everywhere she goes and everyone she speaks to, Amy Tinkler is introduced as an Olympic bronze medallist.

But, despite eight months passing since being handed that honour, the 17-year-old still pinches herself in amazement every time it is spoken aloud.

But more than simply having a new addition to her name, the life of the teenage gymnast star has now changed considerably more than she could have ever expected.

Tinkler’s new-found experiences have made her a role model and this week she visited Chadwell Primary school as part of the Get Set programme.

On hand to pass on her experiences of sport, the gymnast spoke to the students before leading a session for them all to enjoy, potentially giving the very first introduction to someone who could follow in the footsteps of the Rio 2016 Olympic medallist.

Hopeful of becoming an inspiration to the next generation, Tinkler is a definite advocate for passing on tips and advice, relishing in the chance to pass on the opportunities that she was also given at a young age.

“I gave an assembly at the school and had a chance to talk about my journey, the importance of the Olympic values and the way I got to where I did,” she said.

“Teaching and helping younger people is a big thing for me. In British Gymnastics we have such a talented group of girls coming up and we really need to keep that going, so seeing all the kids and how excited they are is fantastic.

“My life has changed so much, I’ve had some incredible opportunities and coming to schools is definitely one of those things. Coming out of sessions and having kids saying they want to take part in gym classes is something that really means a lot to me.

“I don’t think I’ve got used to it, being an Olympic gold medallist.

“It’s still very surreal and even talking about my Olympic experience sounds like something made up, it’s crazy. It’s definitely something that will take a few years to sink in.”

Such was the magnitude of Tinkler’s achievements, it’s easy to forget that she is also still in the early stages of her career at just 17.

That next step will take her to the iPro World Cup of Gymnastics in two weeks time, looking to strut her stuff in front of home crowds at the 02 Arena, part of a strong British Gymnastics squad fresh from its Rio exploits.

But for Tinkler, any fears of feeling the pressure have been quickly snuffed out.

Having moved from her home in Durham to Essex to join South Essex Gymnastics Club, the 2015 World Championship bronze medallist is keen to make enjoyment the focal point of her competition, something she thinks will bring out her best on the floor.

She said: “I’ve moved to Essex to train and that’s been a big thing for me. It was the best thing to do to improve from Rio but I’m five hours away from home which is a big difference, but it’s something I am enjoying.

“My parents are living down here with me and I get to see friends while South Essex have made me feel so welcome, so quickly, so it does feel like a big family.

“I never feel the pressure of the medal. It’s a massive achievement but there’s nothing more on me now than there was before Rio.

“I just go out there and enjoy it, if you don’t do that then you’re not going to perform your best so it’s massively important to me.

“The iPro World Cup of Gymnastics is going to be pretty big, it’s already got a lot of attention and I’m buzzing for that – it’s going to be different to anything else I’ve experienced for.

“The bigger the crowd the better for me, so to have a home crowd in a massive arena should be brilliant. I love performing and love having so many people to perform in front of will be fantastic, the team is really strong at the moment and we’re all looking forward to it a huge amount.”

Sportsbeat 2017