|(From British Gymnastics)|
Remember in Beijing, when Great Britain, although they had some fabulous gymnasts, were looking distressingly borderline?
Remember when, despite having stand outs like the phenomenal Beth Tweddle, the new all-around talent of Becky Downie, the leg strength of Marissa King, the steadiness of Imogen Cairns and Becky Wing and the delightful new talent that was Hannah Whelan, the girls just could not cut it at qualifications, and found themselves in that awful ninth position?
Something has changed for Great Britain over the past two years.
Three of those girls from Beijing are headed for Rotterdam this year, still the shining lights of their team. In fact, many of those girls are still around, competing either at Worlds or at the Comm Games this month, bringing those competitive experiences with them.
But whether it is the injection of new talents like Danusia Francis, Nicole Hibbert, Niamh Rippin and Jenny Pinches, or the growing consistency of Becky Downie paired with the incredible maturity of Beth Tweddle, or just incredibly good timing, things seem to be coming together for the Brits.
It was strange and delightful to see the Great Britain Team celebrating wildly in Birmingham as the Romanians walked away, somewhat baffled, and saddened, but GBR had put in a great performance and deserved their spot on the podium.
Now that the nation can boast a second place team finish behind Russia at a European Championships, I would like to see this team kick butt in Rotterdam. No, I am not expecting a podium finish, and it will be quite the challenge to defeat this new version of the Romanian team again- but I do hope for a good result.
I am thinking- at least hoping- top five. That, I believe, could be possible.
(Also, look out for an interview with Danusia Francis about her team in the team special in this months TCG Magazine- out in a couple of days!)