ax Whitlock has set his sights on becoming a five-time Olympian, targeting not just Paris in three years’ time but Los Angeles in 2028, after winning gymnastics gold.
The 28-year-old opened the pommel horse final in Tokyo with a stunning routine of 15.583, which his rivals could not get close to for his third Olympic gold and sixth Olympic medal in all.
And, speaking today, he said he had his sights on another two Olympiads.
“I was thinking about Paris before Tokyo even started,” he said. “I would really love to make it four Olympics Games there.
“I feel very proud to have done my third and get the results to go with it. A three-year cycle helps me out a lot. I’m 28 years old now, so every year that goes by gets harder and harder.
“Paris will be here before we know. I’d love to look towards that and then who knows? At that point in my career I will have to look how the British team is bearing up and see if there’s an opening to give LA a shot. We’ll see how strong the team is looking.”
Prior to his final, he admitted he had been the most nervous he had ever felt in an Olympic career which began back at London 2012. And seeing Team GB gymnasts and athletes from other sports coming back to the Olympic village with gold, silver and bronze only piled on the pressure more in the lengthy build-up to his final.
But speaking to his wife Leah, who watched on from their Essex home with daughter Willow and other family members, she reminded him: “It’s just gymnastics.”
Whitlock prefers to go later on in his finals to enable him to know whether he should go for his hardest routine or else play it safer, depending on how his rivals had gone before him. But going first he had no choice but to go for his highest difficulty — and nailed a near-perfect routine.
“I felt the pressure was on massively this time,” he said. “That was the most nervous I felt for any competition I’ve done my whole life, so to pull it off, I’m really pleased.”
There was an outpouring of emotion after both his routine — knowing in all likelihood no one would catch him — and come the end, when the gold was officially confirmed.
“It’s kind of a moment that I really wanted to experience again,” he said of winning Olympic gold. “Doing it in Rio and feeling that emotion of hitting the pinnacle of your career, Olympic gold, is so hard to describe.
“It’s a rush of emotions. They hit you like a ton of bricks. With the Team GB athletes coming through with the bronze, silver and then golds, you could really relate to it, having done it before. And I think that piled the pressure on me even more.
“Knowing what it feels like, I’d love to get that experience again, so I’m massively grateful to get that again and it feels like a huge shock, even though you believe you can do it. You still have those doubts, so I cannot believe that I pulled it off really.”
After London 2012, Whitlock took three weeks off. After Rio, it was a three-month break. He joked in the wake of his latest gold, “There’s not enough time to have three years off this time”. Already, his attention has turned to Paris.
Heather Knight accepts Pakistan tour withdrawal but hopes England Women can check out in long run
ngland captain Heather Knight suggests the controversial decision to pull out of the prepared tour of Pakistan was “taken out of our hands” and insists it is critical for women’s cricket that they pay a visit to the state in the long run.
England’s ladies were because of to tour Pakistan for the initially time ever as aspect of a joint white-ball tour with the men’s staff, who were returning for the first time since 2005.
Even so, after New Zealand withdrew their men’s workforce from their tour of Pakistan very last 7 days due to a “credible threat”, the ECB announced on Monday that it too was pulling the plug.
That has drawn fierce criticism from Pakistan, who are confident they can give a protected experience for going to teams.
Knight insisted verdicts on the viability of a tour are not for players, or even captains, to take care of and defended the ECB’s ideal to make the phone.
Talking immediately after her side’s a few-wicket defeat to New Zealand at Leicester, she reported: “We found yesterday that the board experienced built the final decision for us not to go and it’s higher than our heads a minimal bit.
“I feel the the dialogue and the communication between the board and PCA (experienced cricketers’ association) is a robust a person, and it was a tough situation with what experienced gone on with New Zealand.
“I feel using it out of our palms is most likely the right issue to do and, and that was finished with a perspective to consider and glimpse soon after the gamers.
“It’s for the persons higher than us to make people selections and for us to to get on with them and take wherever they are.
“Hopefully, someday in the potential we’ll be able to go. I do consider it is significant for them, notably in women’s cricket with what is going on in the location.”
Knight had a lot more urgent issues to look at as well, obtaining found her side’s batting falter once more at Grace Road.
England were being bowled out although batting 1st for the 3rd activity in a row, this time for an under-energy 178, and would have been even worse off ended up it not for Katherine Brunt’s defiant 49 not out from amount nine.
New Zealand chased it down for the decline of seven wickets many thanks to Maddy Green’s confident 70 not out, with Brunt also professing four for 22 in a dropping cause.
“It was not a sport we should have to win, win, to be honest, we ended up just brief with the bat once again,” claimed Knight.
“We confirmed true combat, which is a great high quality to have in this staff. But as a top purchase we’re quite disappointed in that dressing room immediately after not putting jointly a overall.
“We know the expertise we have received in that batting line-up but we’ve got to uncover a way to turn it about rather quickly as a group and acquire some obligation for currently being the ones to make a rating.”
Extra reporting by PA.
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