Whaley Bridge gymnast “on top of the world” after Olympic experience

Gymnastics -Artistic Womens Team final, Great Britain: L-R, Rebecca Tunney, Beth Tweddle, Hannah Whelan, Jennifer Pinches, Imogen Cairns. Photo: Andy Hooper/NOPP.
Gymnastics -Artistic Womens Team final, Great Britain: L-R, Rebecca Tunney, Beth Tweddle, Hannah Whelan, Jennifer Pinches, Imogen Cairns. Photo: Andy Hooper/NOPP.
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PROUD Whaley Bridge gymnast Jennifer Pinches is “on top of the world” after achieving her life’s goal of representing Great Britain at the London 2012 Olympics.

Pinches, making her debut on sport’s biggest stage, was a member of the Team GB squad which finished sixth in Tuesday’s final of the artistic gymnastics team competition - their best post-war performance at the Games.

Jennifer Pinches, of Great Britain, performs her balance beam routine in the artistic women's team final at the London 2012 Olympics. Photo: Andy Hooper/NOPP.

Jennifer Pinches, of Great Britain, performs her balance beam routine in the artistic women's team final at the London 2012 Olympics. Photo: Andy Hooper/NOPP.

The 18-year-old put in a truly gutsy performance at London’s North Greenwich Arena, recovering from a fall on the beam to produce solid floor and vault routines.

Great Britain came sixth overall with a score of 170.495 - the best finish in a women’s gymnastics team final since winning a bronze medal in 1928.

Describing her Olympic experience, Pinches told the Advertiser: “It’s everything I could have dreamed of and more. I am so glad to have represented Britain. The atmosphere and home crowds were inspiring and I am so grateful to everyone who has supported me to get here.

“I have achieved my life’s goal by becoming an Olympian and then by breaking the record for the best result for Britain ever.”

Pinches shrugged off her slip on the beam in Tuesday’s final, for which she scored just 11.833, to post personal best scores of 14.366 on the floor and 14.833 on the vault - the tenth and 14th best scores respectively.

“It was embarrassing and disappointing (falling off the beam) so I wanted to really prove I could perform for the country and the team, on the floor and on the vault,” explained Pinches, who trains at the City of Liverpool Gymnastics Club in the company of Britain’s most famous gymnast Beth Tweddle.

“I went on to achieve my personal best scores on both these apparatus, which I am extremely pleased with.”

Pinches scored 55.266 on the four pieces of apparatus - beam, floor, vault and bars - on Sunday to help Great Britain qualify in fifth place for the team final.

Pinches, a pupil at The King’s School in Macclesfield, said: “Our team performed well, exceeding previous results and achieving what we’d hoped for, to make the team final for the first time.”

And on her future, she added: “Gymnastics is a very young sport so I am not targeting a return in Rio 2016, but I am so happy to have finally achieved my goal. I am over the moon and on top of the world.”

Paying tribute to his daughter’s performance, dad Ian Pinches said he was “incredibly proud” and that messages of congratulations had been received from friends and family around the world.

“I was tremendously impressed by the way Jenni got on with the competition after a bad start,” he said.

“She put in the performance of a lifetime on the floor, beating Beth (Tweddle) and Hannah (Whelan), along with a strong performance on the vault.

“Her personality came across in a way that I didn’t expect it to. You could really see her character shine through.

“The team did themselves proud with their displays of determination and execution, and I hope it goes a long way to inspiring the next generation.”

Ian also revealed how his daughter has been taken to the hearts of thousands of users of the video blogging community Nerdfighters after making their symbol during Tuesday’s televised final.

Pinches’ gymnastics talent was first spotted at the age of six and by the age of nine she had made the national squad. She is the current British champion and national gold medallist on the beam.

Despite an almost full-time gymnastic career, she is a brilliant A star GCSE academic and has also been spotted by leading theatrical casting agents and directors.