19 July 2015Beth sets sights on new goal of getting youngsters to follow their dreams
The three-time world champion, six-time European champion and seven-time national champion is Britain’s most successful gymnast.
Despite retiring after winning bronze at London 2012, Beth remains an ambassador for the sport and admits she will never fully leave it behind.
She said: “Gymnastics is all I’ve ever really known and I’ll always be passionate about it.
“While I no longer compete professionally, I’m still keen to get new blood into the sport and feel it’s crucial to get kids involved early. There’s so many projects and initiatives now and I’d love to see more girls taking up gymnastics.
“Staring at a young age gave me the opportunity to achieve my goals before the age of 30.
“I also think we have great female role models in competitors like Jessica Ennis and Ellie Simmonds. Women are finally being noticed in sport for all the right reasons.”
Growing up, Beth, 30, was encouraged to take up gymnastics by her parents, who felt she could put her excess energy to better use.
She explains: “I’m very active and struggled to sit still for long periods.
“My parents felt I should have a focus on something and gymnastics appealed to me.
“It wasn’t until my early teens when I thought I was all right at it but you don’t feel you’re good until you qualify for something such as the world championships.”
Beth’s record-breaking medal haul began, aged 17, at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, where she collected a gold and two silvers.
Throughout the next decade, she went on to win more than 20 golds in major championships.
Her achievements were made all the more remarkable by the fact she battled a knee problem to remain successful in a sport in which it is rare to compete much beyond the age of 20.
She made the tough decision to retire from the sport after the London 2012 games and admits it wasn’t an easy decision to make.
But now Beth is focusing on her role as an ambassador for the 2015 FIG World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Glasgow.
The 10-day event will bring together more than 500 gymnasts from 80 nations, all vying to be crowned 2015 world champion.
Beth said: “It’s a honour to be involved and I hope we have lots of people come along to show their support. The Commonwealth Games were hugely successful and showed just how much Glasgow has to offer.
“I know from visiting many schools around the country that it has helped to get more kids involved with sport and we need to keep building on this.”
The FIG World Artistic Gymnastics Championships take place at the SSE Hydro from October 23-November 1.