Inside Max Whitlock’s Tokyo Olympics, when he won a ‘crazy’ third gold and joined Team GB legends.
EXCLUSIVE: Max Whitlock defended his pommel horse championship in Tokyo, making him a three-time Olympic gold medalist. Express Sport speaks with the British gymnast, who has won six medals at the Games so far.
The term “crazy” has a variety of meanings. Crazy is one of them, and it can be used to describe anything unusual. Max Whitlock’s latest Olympic gold was just that – but for all of the right reasons. The Briton became the first man to retain his pommel horse title since Hungary’s Zoltan Magyar in 1980 at this year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Was the outcome unexpected? Not in the sense that Whitlock is a phenomenally high-level athlete who has demonstrated his ability to accomplish such feats time and time again. But, given that there had been nine Games between Magyar defending his gold and Whitlock defending his gold, it was certainly out of the ordinary.
It’s a remarkable achievement that cements Whitlock’s place among the greatest British Olympians of all time. It’s no surprise he describes it as a “wild, crazy emotion.”
Whitlock tells Express Sport exclusively on the set of #OMGB, DFS’s daily social media show from Team GB House in Tokyo: “I did the routine and literally before my feet even landed on the floor in my head I was like ‘Oh my god,’ so I literally got off the podium and hugged Scott and said, “I can’t believe I’ve just done that.”
“Then we sat there and I never typically watch other competitors, but because I was competing first, it was the first time I saw a pommel final live with everyone else, which was pretty great.
“Obviously, it was nerve-wracking. But, as Scott [Hann] and I sat there, I believe he said, ‘You know what, if anyone beats that, they’re the better man on the day.’ I don’t think I could have done anything else.
“It was the most difficult routine I’ve ever done. It was the cleanest routine I’d done over the entire build-up. I couldn’t have done anything else. I’m absolutely thrilled with the performance.”
Whitlock is presently the most successful gymnast in the United Kingdom, and arguably the best in the country’s history. Only his fellow countryman Louis Smith and Romanian Marius Urzica had more pommel horse medals. “Brinkwire News in Condensed Form.”