Gymnastics has seen a significant resurgence in both popularity and success in the UK in recent years. Much of the success can be attributed to legends such as Louis Smith and Beth Tweddle, as well as Everyone Active Sporting Champions Brinn Bevan, Jay Thompson and, of course, Max Whitlock.
Here, Brinn and Jay took time out of their busy training schedules to tell us all about how they first got into gymnastics, whether or not they have any superstitions or routines during competitions, what their preferred music to train to is, who we should be looking out for in competition and much, much more.
What Inspired Them to Take up Gymnastics?
Both Brinn and Jay were energetic and hyperactive children, and first came into contact with the sport while watching it on television – Jay watching the 2004 Athens Olympics, while Brinn was transfixed by the 2008 Beijing Games – and from there their interest spiralled. Jay’s grandmother, with whom he was watching the games enrolled him in a local gymnastics club and the rest, as they say, is history.
Brinn was a little older than Jay when he first began to take gymnastics seriously – about 11 years old – and his energetic, hyperactive personality was leading to things in the house getting broken, so it was thought best to harness this energy in a more productive manner!
Who Should we be Looking Out for in British Gymnastics?
Going into the 2019 Gymnastics World Cup in Birmingham, it’s Brinn who has been identified – by Jay himself – as one of the leading lights in the British Gymnastics team, alongside the likes of Nile Wilson and Joe Fraser.
How Does Their Training Regimes Change Going Into a Major Gymnastics Tournament
According to Brinn, his training routine doesn’t alter much whether he’s just about to head into a competition, or on a standard day. For him, training is all about consistency and continuing to do enough repetitions of the routines to ensure he can execute them perfectly.
For Jay, however, going into a major tournament means a significant ramp up in the intensity of his training routine. He does a lot more fitness work to make sure he is in absolutely peak physical condition for the competition.
Do They Have any Rituals or Mantras Before Going Into Competition?
Brinn’s not particularly superstitious, he just likes to make sure his kit is all in order and everything is nicely organised. Meanwhile, Jay advocates sticking to a good sleeping pattern and ensuring you pack a lot of energy-rich carbohydrates into a healthy breakfast to make sure he’s ready for the off.
What Music do They Listen to in Competition and Training?
Brinn’s eclectic taste in music means he’s rarely invited to choose the tunes that are being played in training. He maintains, however, that choosing the right music, whether that’s some hardcore heavy metal, or something a little more chilled is vital for getting himself in the right frame of mind for training and competition.
Who Should we be Cheering for at the Forthcoming British Gymnastics Championships?
Three of the country’s best gymnasts all train at Everyone Active’s Basildon Sporting Village in Essex – Brinn and Jay themselves, as well as double Olympic Champion and fellow Everyone Active Sporting Champion Max Whitlock. You could argue that British gymnastics has never looked stronger with such a deep pool of talent to choose from, with everyone fighting fit and ready to go.
What Setbacks Have They Endured in Their Gymnastics Career so far?
A life in professional sport will always bring challenges with it and Jay and Brinn are no exception. Injury is the enemy of any sportsman, and our pair have had to fight their battles with injury just like everyone else. Jay dislocated his elbow, snapping ligaments and tendons in the process, while Brinn broke his leg in 2015 – just a few months before he was due to take part in the 2018 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Jay also required reconstructive surgery, with every doctor telling him it was unlikely he would be able to return to competition at the same standard as before. The way he kept himself going through adversity was knowing that he’d found something that made him happy and keeping focused on the bigger picture to keep himself going.
Meanwhile, Brinn also had to go under the knife in an attempt to put his leg back together and the day after his operation he was back in the gym, working to make his body stronger and fitter than it was before the injury. He did keep off the broken leg, however!
What are the Proudest Moments of Their Gymnastics Careers so far?
For Brinn, he’s got a couple of moments that he’s particularly proud of. The first is being part of the 2015 World Championship silver medal-winning team, while making the Team GB squad for the 2016 Rio Olympics was special too, especially coming so soon after his broken leg.
Similarly, one of Jay’s proudest achievements stems from coming back from his horrific elbow injury and getting back to competition. Furthermore, winning the 2012 European Gymnastics Championship ranks highly in Jay’s career so far.
How do you get Into Gymnastics in 2019?
Who better to ask how to get into the sport than two of the country’s best gymnasts? Brinn’s advice is direct and to the point. “Get stuck in” he says “there’s nothing you can do to prepare yourself for it, you’ve just got to get involved and start enjoying it.”
In a similar vein, Jay advises you to just “get out there and do it”. He says “there’s no better time than now. Try it, come to an adult gym session and have a go.”