Max broke history by becoming GB’s first ever Olympic gold medallist and the first British gymnast to medal on the floor exercise at a Games. He now has a total of five Olympic medals (two in London and three in Rio), making him the most decorated Olympic gymnast in British history. These medals also give Team GB a total of five gymnastics medals in Rio making it their most successful ever, with more finals still to come.
Starting on the floor, Max looked cool and calm under pressure, performing an outstanding routine with very few errors. He scored a strong 15.633 and then had to sit back and wait. As he did, each gymnast failed to outscore him and he was crowned the first ever British Gymnastics Olympic Champion.
Moving on to the pommel horse, Max had to very quickly refocus. Louis Smith joined him at this point as they both looked to fight it out for the top spot. Louis up first opted for his slightly easier, although still world class routine and set the benchmark of 15.833. Max didn’t hold back going for his difficult routine, knowing he needed to go all out to win gold. He executed it excellently to score 15.966 and take his second gold medal, with Louis taking the silver.
Max Whitlock said: “This has outdone all of my expectations and I am proud to say I have made history. The Olympic Games only come around once every four years and that is what makes it so special.
Louis congratulated me coming out which I really appreciated. We are one and two in the world and that is a great place to be.
I’ll have a bit of time out but that’s not me done. It’ll be back in the gym soon and working hard as this motivates me to do even more in the sport.”
Louis Smith MBE said: “I would have loved to have won the gold medal. What British athlete wouldn’t want to win the Olympic gold medal? However, I would rather lose to Max than anyone else. The gold is coming back to Britain. What a legacy Max is already building. It is bad for me but good for the sport and that is how it should be.
I have always played catch up to Max since I came back to the sport following my break after London 2012. The evolution of sport is that the next generation pushes it and takes it to new levels. It was tough but at the same time I am so proud of what I have done.
I’m not just doing this for myself. There are so many who have helped me and believed in me and that is why I couldn’t hold back the tears. I am proud that I have played a part in getting the ball rolling for British gymnastics and taking us to this point. I take some credit in getting us to this stage but Max was out there on his own and the reason Max won is because of Max. He deserves it.”
Kristian Thomas also competed in the men’s floor final with a strong routine to score 15.058 and finish in 7th place.
Kristian Thomas: “The atmosphere was absolutely amazing, especially having two Brazilian gymnasts in there and being part of a final that will without a shadow of a doubt go down in history within British Gymnastics. It was a clean routine from me but it wasn’t as clean as I potentially can do. Even so, I gave it everything out there.”
British Gymnastics CEO, Jane Allen commented: “What a Games! Unbelievable performances by our men tonight – Max double gold Olympic medallist, fantastic silver medal for Louis & strong performance from Kristian. We came, fired up, determined to succeed and show just what British gymnasts were capable of and we’ve done it! This night will be written into the British Gymnastics history books forever more. With our medal target already achieved and our younger gymnastsNile Wilson and Amy Tinkler, still to compete, the future of British Gymnastics has never looked brighter.”