Tweddle clinches Olympic bronze

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Beth Tweddle in the gymnastics Uneven Bars final © BBC Sport

Liverpool’s Beth Tweddle bowed out of her already-successful gymnastics career on a huge high, as she picked up the Olympic medal she craved by winning bronze at London 2012.

The 27-year-old became the first British woman to ever win a gymnastics medal at the Olympics when she finished third in an exciting Uneven Bars final which went right to the wire at the North Greenwich Arena.

As she trained for the Olympics, Tweddle told JMU Journalism she would be happy with any colour medal after collecting every other title out there. The three-time world and six-time European champion achieved her ambition at her third and final Games, following a fourth place finish at Beijing 2008.

The Liverpool John Moores University Sports Science graduate told BBC Sport: “Everyone kept saying to me, ‘You’re a great champ, it doesn’t matter what happens today.’ I kept trying to tell myself that, but I knew if I walked out of here without a medal, I’d have been really disappointed.

“I knew the crowd would be good and I got a lot of texts this morning from people saying they were behind me and rooting for me, and that calmed me down. I know I’ve done the years of hard work, my coach has too, and she’d have been as gutted as me if we’d come away with nothing.”

Her competition was fierce, and she received a huge ovation when she took to the apparatus as the fifth gymnast of eight to contest the final.

Tweddle’s bold routine impressed the judges, despite a big backward step on her dismount, as she was awarded a score of 15.916, which at the time was enough to put her in the silver medal position with just three gymnasts to follow.

Beth Tweddle © BBC Sport

Russian Aliya Mustafina was next up and she immediately dented Beth’s hopes by producing a gold medal-winning performance that pushed Tweddle down into third behind China’s He Kexin.

All eyes were on the final two competitors from Japan and USA to see if they would eclipse the City of Liverpool gymnast, but neither of them managed a better score and Tweddle held on for bronze.

Dad Jerry Tweddle told BBC Sport: “It was absolutely fabulous. We waited a long while for that and she looked so relieved, so happy. It was the first time I’ve even seen her shed a small tear. That’s unusual for Beth and she was just stunning.”

Beth’s mum Anne said: “I’m so happy, I was looking at her and she was crying and smiling, and I was crying and smiling. I’m just so proud.”

Her success adds to the bronze won by Crosby gymnast Daniel Purvis in the men’s team final, as she racked up Team GB’s 38th medal of London 2012, including 16 golds, with none more treasured than Tweddle’s, who is now expected to wind down her competitive career.

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