Oldham savours chance to make history

29 July 2012 / 13:42

Six months ago, gymnast Sam Oldham thought his hopes of representing Great Britain at the London Olympics were over.

On Monday he will try to help British gymnastics make history by winning a medal in the men's team final at the North Greenwich Arena.

The five-man British team of Louis Smith, Daniel Purvis, Kristian Thomas, Max Whitlock and Oldham finished third in team qualification behind the United States and Russia on Saturday, booking themselves Britain's first men's team final place since 1924.

For some, Oldham was a surprise inclusion in the Olympic team after he missed out on the European Championships, where Britain won team gold - their first ever in a major championships, while he recovered from a torn pectoral muscle.

"Six months ago I wasn't doing anything in the gym so just to get here was an amazing achievement," Oldham said. "For me and the team [qualifying], it's an incredible achievement.

"It's not just six months that have gone into this, it's decades of training from all of us. I've been training 12 years for this. That 12 years goes into those five routines."

The 19-year-old suffered his injury in world competition in Tokyo late last year where he competed despite a broken collar bone. His recovery meant he was unable to help the British men secure Olympic qualification at January's test event and was only a reserve for the European championships.

But in Olympic qualification, Oldham helped Britain beat defending Olympic team champions China by two-clear points, although he is refusing to write them off in the final.

He said: "We're just going to do what we did again, keep our heads down and do our routines. Obviously it's a great achievement beating the Chinese but they're Olympic champions so they will pull it out when they need to but we'll just do our job again."

The scoring system changes for the final, with three gymnasts from every team competing on each piece of apparatus with all three scores counting towards the overall total.