British gymnastics teams named

  • Last Updated: July 24 2012, 11:50 BST

Louis Smith and Beth Tweddle will lead the men's and women's artistic gymnastics teams at London 2012, but Daniel Keatings misses out.

Louis Smith: Named in the squad

Smith, who won bronze on the pommel horse at the Beijing Games four years ago, and three-time world champion Tweddle each head up a five-strong team for the Games.

Keatings, the 2010 European pommel horse champion who competed with Smith as the only other male gymnast in the last Olympic Games, is not included while 15-year-old Rebecca Tunney becomes the youngest member of Team GB after being name in the women's team.

The men's team also comprises three-time British champion Daniel Purvis, 2010 European floor champion Kristian Thomas, Commonwealth Games double silver medallist Max Whitlock and 2012 Youth Olympic Games gold medallist Sam Oldham.

Vault specialist Ruslan Panteleymonov, who was part of the team which won their first European Gymnastics team gold medal in Montpellier this year, misses out.

Smith, who won Great Britain's first individual gymnastics medal in 100 years when he claimed bronze in Beijing, said: "It's been such an intense time in the lead up to the announcement with such a strong squad to pick from.

"Now we've got to do the business at the Games, which we're all capable of.

"It's just been a crazy four years since Beijing, for me and especially for gymnastics in this country.

"I'm not sure anyone ever expected such rapid development and it's such a positive thing for everyone involved in the sport."

Smith also admitted Keatings' omission was a tough one.

"It's sad that he didn't make the team," said Smith.

"I've trained with him for years and years and am friends with him and his family.

"It goes to show you the strength-in-depth of the squad so you've got to remain positive and support the guys in the team.

"It's a very good team and it's unfortunate that he couldn't be in it."

However, Keatings could still make the Games if a member of the team is struck with a late injury.

Smith said: "Dan is still training. He's in the reserves slot so if anything did happen he will be jumping at the chance to fill in."

British Gymnastics Olympic Performance director Tim Jones revealed the decision to omit all-around medal hopeful Keatings came after hours of discussion about the best fit for the team.

Keatings, who has recently been recovering from ankle ligament damage, was not part of the squad who won European team gold.

His place has been filled in the Olympic squad by 19-year-olds Whitlock and Oldham, who also pushed out Panteleymonov.

"We're going to the games and we're obviously looking to get the best team result alongside the best all-around result alongside the best apparatus result," Jones said.

"That's when the decisions have to be made as each of the gymnasts bring with them different strengths.

"There's a lot of gymnasts who come with us along the journey. Some of them have fallen away earlier than others but, when it came down to it, the men's probably had eight or nine gymnasts within consideration.

"But the decisions we've made we're going to stand by them and back them and these are the people who we think are going to do a job for us."

Smith admits he is feeling the weight of expectation more than ever.

The 23-year-old set a new personal best of 16.375 on the pommel horse at last month's trials, and with media attention growing, he knows he must not get ahead of himself.

"It's very different from Beijing," Smith said. "There's a lot more expectation and a lot more pressure involved.

"I have a lot to live up to but it's tough. When I say I've grown as an athlete, mentally I'm a lot stronger than I was four years ago.

"The expectation grows but also you learn how to deal with that over the years. I feel like I'm in a very strong place at the minute.

"Realistically thinking the medal chance is always there but psychologically to give myself the best chance I just want to go there and not worry about medals.

"It's what I've always said and what I'll always keep saying. Self expectation is the worst kind.

"No-one wants to perform more than myself so I just want to go there and do myself justice."

But Smith does not consider himself to be Britain's only medal prospect in the men's event.

He said: "I think our most realistic target is individual apparatus and all-around medals.

"Providing we hit all our routines I think we can finish in the top five in the world in the Olympic Games as a team, but I think if we're looking for medals and results our best chance is as individuals.

"You have Kristian on floor, me and Max on pommel, Kristian on vault and Purvis on parallel bars and Kristian on high bar as well so there's a real chance of making finals and even medals as well."

The women's team, led by the experienced Tweddle, is made up of Tunney, who was recently crowned British champion in her first year of senior competition, 2012 European beam bronze medallist Hannah Whelan, three-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist Imogen Cairns and British beam champion Jennifer Pinches.

London 2012 will be the last chance for 27-year-old Tweddle to add an Olympic medal to her impressive record before she retires from the sport.

The seven-time British champion will be competing in her third Olympic Games and admitted it has been a long road since Beijing four years ago.

Tweddle said: "It is of course a huge honour to be selected to Team GB for the Olympic Games. This is my third Olympics and with it being on home soil it is definitely the most special.

"From Beijing to here has been a long journey. After 2008 I wasn't even sure I would carry on but the huge support for London and the enthusiasm of the public has really motivated me."

The GB rhythmic gymnastics team, who secured their place at the Games following an appeal, was also named.

Captain Rachel Smith will lead a six-strong team of Louisa Pouli, Francesca Fox, Georgina Cassar, Jade Faulkner and Lynne Hutchison. Francesca Jones will also represent Team GB in the individual rhythmic event.

In trampoline, Kat Driscoll will fill the only spot available for Great Britain.

The British champion earned a place in the women's competition at last year's World Championships in Birmingham, with the men missing out.

Men's artistic gymnastics team for London 2012 (age): Louis Smith (23), Daniel Purvis (21), Kristian Thomas (23), Max Whitlock (19), Sam Oldham (19).

Women's artistic gymnastics team for London 2012 (age): Beth Tweddle (27), Rebecca Tunney (15), Hannah Whelan (20), Imogen Cairns (23), Jennifer Pinches (18).

Rhythmic gymnastics team for London 2012 (age): Rachel Smith (captain, 19), Georgina Cassar (18), Jade Faulkner (18), Lynne Hutchison (17), Louisa Pouli (22), Francesca Fox (20).

Individual rhythmic gymnast for 2012: Francesca Jones (21).

Trampoline (age): Katherine Driscoll (26).