Whitlock, 28, the most successful British artistic gymnast in history, hopes to add to his tally of two Olympic golds and three bronzes in Sunday’s final of the pommel.
The team GB star is separated from Willow, two, and wife Leah while he competes in Tokyo. He said Willow appears to have gymnastics in her genes, and is attending pre-school classes and doing forward rolls.
Last December, Whitlock posted a video of himself doing a backflip while holding the toddler adding the caption “when my wife isn’t looking” and a laughing emoji. And he got a boost at the start of the Games when Leah with whom he has been since they were 14, posted a video of Willow cheering her dad on from home, hugging a giant poster of him.
He said: “I hope Willow will be watching me. She’s starting to recognise me and says ‘dad’ pointing at a big poster up in my gym.
“It’s just a case of whether she’s interested or not on the day. She’s probably be more interested in Paw Patrol if that’s on instead or playing outside. It’s a shame she can’t come to Tokyo but she is a huge push for me trying to go on at the top level for as long as I can so she can watch me in the top competitions.”
During the pandemic, Whitlock would use his sofa as a pommel horse while stuck at home.
But he said there were “huge positives” to lockdown, adding: “I’ve always been someone who likes being at home. So that side of it wasn’t too difficult.
“It wasn’t like being stranded. Willow has just turned two and I was at home for that stage of her learning, which was really nice.
“Training was exciting at the first. I was in the garden in good weather.
“But that kind of wore off. There were times when the motivation ebbed off a little bit.
“I wanted to come out of lockdown, if not a better athlete, then at least the same as when I entered it.”
Max Whitlock is an ambassador for DFS, the official homeware partner of Team GB.
Brad Pitt ‘in new legal suit against Angelina Jolie over French vineyard’
According to DailyMail.com, new court papers accuse Jolie of trying to remove Pitt from a deal to sell her shares in the former couple’s French property and vineyard, Chateau Miraval.
The website says the court papers were filed in Luxembourg on Tuesday in regard to the property in Correns, France.
It says the lawsuit suggests Miraval is owned by Quimicum – which both Pitt and Jolie have a 50 per cent take in through their companies Mondo Bongo and Nouvel respectively.
The suit reportedly alleges that Jolie is attempting to flog her 50 per cent stake while circumventing Pitt’s right of first refusal. It allegedly claims she is attempting to profit from the “incredible amount of work, time and money” invested by Pitt and his business partners.
The papers alleged say: “We understand that behind this systematic obstruction, the real purpose of Nouvel and its shareholder [Jolie] is to sell its stake in Chateau Miraval SA in a way that would circumvent Mondo Bongo’s right of first refusal (as provided in Quimicum’s articles of approval), taking, as a result, a capital gain raised thanks to Mondo Bongo’s investment and to which Nouvel did not contribute.”
The representatives of both Pitt and Jolie have been contacted for comment.
The actress filed for divorce in 2016 and the former Hollywood golden couple, who share six children, have been wrangling in legal proceedings concerning their separation in California largely shielded from public view.
Pitt, 57, was accused of being abusive toward his then-15-year-old son Maddox during the flight, but investigations by child welfare officials and the FBI were closed with no charges being filed.
Jolie, 46, made the allegation in an interview with The Guardian promoting her new book, Know Your Rights And Claim Them, which aims to equip children with the knowledge to challenge injustices.
Asked whether she feared for the safety of her own children, she replied: “Yes, for my family. My whole family.”
Jolie described the divorce and custody proceedings as “horrific”.
She added: “It doesn’t start with the violation (the plane incident). It’s so much more complicated than that.”
Jolie admitted she could not talk in more detail because of her “legal situation” but the newspaper reported she nodded to confirm she was referencing the divorce and allegations she made against her Pitt.
Pitt has always denied being physically abusive towards his children. He has admitted to having alcohol issues around the time of the couple’s separation and to have shouted at one of children in relation to the reported plane incident in 2016.
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