Gymnasts achieve aim to inspire

12 August 2012 / 14:10

Olympic medals were never the target for Great Britain's rhythmic gymnasts but they believe they have achieved their aim to inspire the next generation at London 2012.

In both the group and individual all-around events, Britain filled a host nation place, and with scrutiny on whether they were good enough to compete each gymnast knew they had to perform.

The British group - Rachel Smith, Louisa Pouli, Francesca Fox, Lynne Hutchison, Georgina Cassar and Jade Faulkner - finished last in qualification and did not make the final but they were only a fraction of a mark adrift of Canada, which captain Smith believes justifies their place at the Games.

She said: "We were only 0.025 behind the country ahead of us and only one mark behind Germany who qualified for their right in the first place so it shows that we are credible.

"We weren't far, far behind. 0.025 is practically nothing. It's amazing what we've achieved and we couldn't be more proud of what's happened.

"That score is a lot higher than what we got at the test event so we're very happy with it. It's really amazing. For the routine we did I think that score is deserved."

Hutchison said: "The crowd were our reward for all our hard work. It's only just starting to hit us that it's all over now, everything that we've worked for is finished but we couldn't have asked for more at this Olympics. The whole thing has been amazing.

"It was so important for us to make it here as I think we've shown Great Britain what rhythmic gymnastics is, that we can fight to be up with the top teams.

"If something is put into this sport after the Olympics hopefully in the next Olympic Games we'll be fighting with the other countries."

In the individual event, six-time British champion Francesca Jones represented Team GB.

Jones, who has also competed at World and European Championships and the Commonwealth Games, finished last in qualification but hopes she has done enough to inspire a new crop of rhythmic gymnasts in Britain.

Jones said: "I'm not really thinking about positions. For me it's just about doing the best I can and showing rhythmic gymnastics in this country is here and hopefully will inspire a lot of people."