22 May 2015Beth reflects on a successful career
Beth is one of the most inspiring sports stars of a generation, who helped to put British gymnastics on the map.
But Beth Tweddle only realised the impact she had after she retired. The 30-year-old, who is an ambassador for the 2015 World Gymnastics Championships in Glasgow, says she could not reflect on her success while she was competing.
The Commonwealth champion is also an Olympic bronze medallist, a triple World Champion, a six-time European Champion and seven-times consecutive National Champion.
Beth, who left competitive gymnastics in 2013, said: "It's only now I've retired that I think: 'Wow that's what I achieved.'
"Every day I was just training for the next competition. I'd pick up a medal and just think about doing better the next time.
"So you're constantly striving to be the best you can be."
Beth, a born performer, admits the one thing she misses is competing. "I always preferred performing at the big events for the adrenaline, the buzz, the pressure," she said. "I guess it's that show-off element."Beth added another string to her bow as she modelled high street looks for the Evening Times.
It's a far cry from her days of intense training, which saw Beth work out 30 hours a week. However, the ambitious sportswoman did not feel it was a sacrifice. She said: "Your whole lifestyle is balanced around gymnastics. When you go on holiday, when you eat, what you do with your friends. "I didn't see it like that when I was training. I was just doing what I loved. For me I never saw it as a sacrifice - I loved what I did. "It's only now once I've retired I realise the effort and time it took."
Fame has brought with it a downside. Beth, who has faced vile misogynist abuse on social media site Twitter, says she has learned to deal with it. "You have to remember for that one (negative) Tweet coming through there's another 99 positive Tweets, so I've kind of learned to glaze over those," she said. "It's my family and friends opinions' that really count."
There's been no rest for Beth, however. After she stopped competing she launched straight into the ITV series Dancing on Ice, which she and won.
Beth is now focusing her efforts into Total Gymnastics, which she set up with fellow Olympian Steve Parry. The company provides the opportunity for children to take up the sport in schools, leisure centres and gymnastics clubs. She said: "I'm busier than I was when I was actually training. "I live out of a suitcase, I'm in a different city each day. But I love what I do. I go into schools, I speak to children." Beth relates to all the youngsters from the moment they start out.
"You don't necessarily dream about being a top gymnast," she said. "You come to the gym every day because you love what you do. You do it at home. Mums and dads will say they're never sitting still. "They enjoy it, and now you've got young boys getting involved, now there are role models like Louis (Smith) or Max (Whitlock) - different role models within our sport now that everyone can aspire to."
Beth is enthusiastic about the talent in gymnastics. She says the World Gymnastic Championships in Glasgow will be a chance to see some of the rising and established stars. "You've got Claudia Fragapane, you've got Amy Tinkler, then on the boy's side you've got Max, Louis has come back to action, Nile Wilson - another name from the Commonwealth Games - there's so much talent in British gymnastics at the moment."
Despite the progress, Beth says there is always more that can be done to encourage people into the sport.
Although Beth's future won't include performing in gymnastic competitions, she might consider doing another reality TV show... just not Strictly Come Dancing. She said: "There's no plan at the minute but never say never. But I probably wouldn't do Strictly.
"I can't dance at all and Louis has done it. "I'm quite happy at the moment working with family and friends and my own company so I'm enjoying that."
Tickets for the 2015 World Gymnastics Championships are now on sale at www.2015worldgymnastics.com