Olympic success inspires a new generation of gymnasts at Cotswolds Gym Club
GYMNASTICS has had a fantastic year. Olympic bronze medal success for Team GB favourite Beth Tweddle in front of an ecstatic home crowd was one highlight. But it was the men's gymnastics squad who really caught the imagination, winning their first team medal in a century by claiming bronze.
Proof that this really did inspire a generation could be found at this year's annual Cotswolds Gymnastics Club Christmas display, with more boys than ever taking their turn to dazzle the audience with their routines.
Coach Claire Marriott said: "After the Olympics we had a real influx of boys wanting to join the club. The Olympics inspired everyone. I have really noticed a difference as a coach since then."
The appreciative audience at the 2012 Christmas display may have noticed the difference too. This show is always a Christmas cracker, but this year it seemed that there was renewed height and precision in the Arabian somersaults, handspring front somersaults and double twisting straight back somersaults.
As always the display squad kicked off proceedings performing to Adele's Rising in the Deep, showing incredible power and grace. With superb tumbling and brilliant choreography this was a statement of intent by the club and the rest of the show did not let the audience down.
Everyone had their moment in the spotlight. The club runs several different sessions throughout the week and at the weekend and each gymnast had a part to play. The club's several hundred members start early and it was this group of under-5's who were on next. It's hard to know if there are any future Olympic hopefuls in this bunch, but if they stick with the Cotswold Gymnastics Club then this potential will surely be recognised and nurtured.
There were so many highlights throughout the display. The young squad, a group of up and coming gymnasts, received a fantastic crowd reaction for their routine to Candy Girls and the Wednesday session of girls 10 years and over put on a great show with excellent tumbles and a stunning central lift.
Jubilee Madness, performed by the 5-7 year olds, took us back to the summer jubilee celebrations. It was great to see so many of the new boys in this group, and the addition of a union flag for gymnasts to run under was a nice touch.
The newly-formed boys squad put on one of my favourite displays of the day, called Ahoy Me Hearties. The squad, dressed in pirate gear, included medal winners Forrest Fry, Jake Winter and Liam Caudle and would never disappoint with this trio of exceptional gymnasts. This was a really innovative display.
The first half closed with another personal favourite. The squad of seven girls performed to Diamonds and the music perfectly complemented the moves. These girls really shone brightly.
The spirit of fun that this club embodies came to fore in the second half, with around 30 gymnasts from the Saturday session wearing leg warmers and performing to Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.
The Friday night group of older girls looked like they were really enjoying themselves when they firmly took the reins with a Gangnam-style inspired routine. And the coaches quite rightly had a chance to show why this club is so successful, with a bit of Dirty Dancing to Time of My Life.
A new routine from the display squad for 2012/13, performed to a Queen medley, was breathtaking with astonishing tumbles, great choreography and humour, as the boys donned tutus and leg warmers for I want to Break Free. This routine has it all, and it is hoped that the wider community might get to see more of it in the coming year.
The event closed with Vault madness, the annual vaulting extravaganza, a high energy, high tempo routine.
Coach Rachel Rogers said: "I am very proud of them. We have done more preparation this year than ever before. The gymnasts know what to expect now. Every year people can see the progress we are making and the fact that all the gymnasts love it."
CLUB HIGHLIGHTS: 2012:
- January 2012 - South West Gym Fusion: The competition squads performed their display routines at the South West Gym Fusion festival in Taunton.
- February 2012 - South West Tumbling Competition: Forrest Fry and Jake Winters won medals in their age groups.
- March 2012 - Girls County Levels: Jessica Marriott level 4 silver medal winner (age 14 plus), Katie Mace level 5 gold medal winner (age 11-12 age group) Phoebe Restorick level 5 gold medal winner (age 14 plus.) May 2012 - Cirencester Deer Park STEMPE fair.
- June 2012 - Cirencester Jubilee Parade: Performances in the Abbey Grounds. June 2012 - County Novice Competition: 30 gymnasts represented the gym club at county level winning several medals.
- October 2012 - Forest of Dean County Competition: The boys competed at Forest of Dean. Liam Caudle won gold, Jake Winter took bronze and Forrest Fry won gold in his first ever six piece competition.
- December 2012 - Christmas show.