After the London 2012 Olympic Games Jennifer Pinches decided, at just 18 years old, to retire from gymnastics.
She had been part of Team GB’s women’s artistic gymnastics team that finished sixth at the Games, the best post-war result for Britain’s women.
After a year enjoying life and completing her A-Levels, Pinches is now based in Los Angeles and set to compete for UCLA’s Bruins gymnastics team alongside fellow Brit Danusia Francis. Pinches caught up with Team GB before she left for her new life Stateside
“I had achieved my ultimate goal in my elite career and wanted time to pursue other interests that my strict training schedule didn't allow for,” she said of her initial retirement.
“Then I received an email from UCLA in February, asking if I was interested in a scholarship there, which made me rethink whether I was truly finished with gymnastics.
“In my break I experienced many of the things I was hoping to. I felt ready to get back into training again, and begin a new chapter with college gymnastics, rather than elite.
“I also value my education and could not turn down an opportunity to be educated at such a prestigious university.”
In her year away from gymnastics she attained A grades in her A-Levels, taught English in South America, kayaked along the Amazon, snorkelled off the Galapagos Islands and climbed mount Cotopaxi in Ecuador – then mountain biked down.
“I took advantage of the fact that I no longer had so many people relying on me not to be injured and participated in some daring activities,” said the 19-year-old.
“Following my adventures abroad I decided to take on an entirely new kind of challenge at home, creating an iOS App with my boyfriend.
“With his technical programming skills and ideas, and my design work and marketing, we have managed to successfully produce a puzzle game called ‘Laser Chambers'.”
The game has accumulated over 150,000 downloads from the iTunes App Store and topped numerous charts worldwide, but the seemingly tireless entrepreneur could not give up gymnastics completely.
“I have been continuing the Olympic motto to 'Inspire a Generation'. Visiting gymnastics clubs and schools around the country, whilst enjoying having a more flexible timetable,” said Pinches.
Now in pre-season training with her Bruins teammates in Los Angeles, Pinches maintains she will not be aiming for a second Olympic appearance.
“At the moment I still think I have completed my elite career in gymnastics so won't be trying for Rio,” she added.
“Instead I will be trying to excel in college gymnastics for my team, then in the future I would like to work in television.”