After disappointment at the Commonwealth Games; Max Whitlock has pledged to up the difficulty of his routines even further as he prepares for this summer’s European Championships.
Tuesday marked 100 days until the continental event gets underway in Glasgow, Whitlock is wasting no time in preparing and is already back in the gym just ten days after the Gold Coast games ended.
But after failing to win gold in either of the pommel horse or floor events in Australia – both apparatus upon which he is Olympic champion – he is not going to play it safe in Glasgow.
“Glasgow won’t be too soon to see an increase in the difficulty of my routines. That’s why I went straight back into the gym after Gold Coast,” he said.
“It was about making sure I make the upgrades now, trying to mirror what I did from London to Rio with the first two years of the cycle packing in the difficulty and taking the risks to make sure I then have time to consolidate for the Olympic Games.
“Hopefully that will work and I can stick to that plan. I’m looking to get some big upgrades for the Europeans and I can’t wait to get going.”
Whitlock received the same score as pommel horse winner Rhys McClenaghan on the Gold Coast but took silver thanks to his lower execution mark.
And his sixth-place finish on the floor came following two errors in his routine.
But he admits he knew there was potential for errors going into the Games having already upped the difficulty of his routines ahead of the event.
“I’ve made more upgrades and knew at the beginning of the year that my routines would be risky - and it showed in Australia,” he added.
“But I can take so much away from Australia. It’s the competitions that don’t go to plan, where you make mistakes, that you learn from.
“You don’t learn anything from perfect competitions.
“So I’ve managed to take lessons from this and taken a lot of motivation. I’ve got the fire back – it’s maybe what I needed in order to be more picky, more particular in the training gym.”
Northern Ireland’s McClenaghan did not hold back having won the Commonwealth title, tweeting that he was coming for Whitlock’s world gold next.
But the champ welcomed the challenge and insisted he would not have it any other way.
“If there weren’t younger guys coming through then there would be a big problem. Success breeds success. These young kids believe it is possible because they see seniors doing it,” he concluded.
“It’s pushing them and it’s motivating them.
“For me, some of the best competitions I’ve competed are when I’ve been in the highest pressured environments.
“It’s great to have people like Rhys coming through and I gain so much motivation from it.
“It pushes me. I thrive off the challenge and I can’t wait to get out there.”