Having won an Olympic Bronze medal at the age of sixteen in Rio, Amy Tinkler, now eighteen, is in preparation for this year’s Commonwealth Games, to be held at the Gold Coast in April. Amy has had a great start to her senior career and we’re sure she has many more medals to come. Catching up with Amy recently, we find out about her competition training, her life changing experience at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and how it feels to be an inspiration to younger gymnasts.
You won Bronze on the Floor at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, do you feel your life changed in any way after this?
I guess my life changed massively after winning my medal, in more ways than I expected. The biggest life change was moving four hours away from home to train with Scott Hann (Max Whitlock’s coach) at South Essex, although it wasn’t planned, it was the best change I’ve ever made. I also get recognised quite a lot which is pretty cool, it’s nice to walk down the street and people know you, and to hear that you have had an impact on them and inspired them.
Is it different winning medals in front of a home crowd – like the Bronze you won at the World Cup of Gymnastics at the O2 Arena last year – opposed to winning internationally?
Yes, I guess the support you get from home crowds is always amazing! It stood out to me the most in the World Championships in Glasgow 2015, I’ve never felt anything like that. But every medal means so much to me anyway as it shows the hard work you and your coach have put in.
What is it like finding out you’ve made the GB team for major events?
It’s such an incredible feeling, you feel so proud to represent your country at major events and it’s nice to know that all your hard work has paid off.
Can you describe how it feels winning medals for Team GB?
It’s always an honour to represent Team GB at competitions but to get a medal at the comp makes it so special.
How will you prepare for the 2018 Commonwealth Games?
Myself and Scott (coach) have a plan we are following to make me as confident as possible with my routines, but outside of training, I’m just trying to get super fit so that my body is prepared for anything. 2018 is a very big year with three major events and I am aiming for them all, so my body needs to be as fit as possible.
How much training do you do each week and what is your training schedule?
I train approximately forty hours a week. Most days I do two sessions, Wednesday is a lighter session and fitness and Saturday is slightly shorter also.
Leading up to competitions, how different is your training?
Training itself changes a lot from training skills to routine work, Tuesdays and Thursdays are heavy routine days for us and Saturday is always arm up routine each week in comp season.
You’ve recently returned from an ankle injury, how long did it take to recover?
I didn’t have long to recover from my surgery. I actually had the problem in my ankle for two years but never got it sorted. It needed sorting and I was booked in to have surgery within two weeks. I only started training on my ankle six to eight weeks before Worlds last year, so it was such an achievement for me to make the team in time.
How did you find the transition from junior to senior level?
I found the transition quite easy, when I moved into the senior age group I already had been to a lot of competitions with the current seniors so I knew them well and it just seemed normal to be around them. But it did seem pretty crazy to be training alongside some of my idols.
What is your favourite apparatus and has it always been your favourite?
Floor is my favourite apparatus. I love performing and, for me, the bigger the crowd to perform to the better. Floor has always been my favourite, I’ve got a lot of energy so ever since I was young, I loved dancing about as well as tumbling.
Have you always enjoyed gymnastics more than other sports?
Yes, I’ve done gymnastics since I was two and loved it ever since. I did ballet when I was younger and also swimming for safety but I never enjoyed them as much as gym.
How does it feel being able to do additional events, such as giving presents to hospital patients, through having a gymnastics career?
It’s brilliant! This year was the first Christmas I had in Essex, and the team at the gym visit their local hospital every year so it was great to go with them. It was lovely to see all the children’s faces, seeing them and their families so happy. It’s something I’m wanting to do every Christmas moving forward.
What’s it like hearing young gymnasts’ achievements and knowing you’ve inspired them?
Knowing that I have inspired people is such a good feeling. It’s nice to see so many young children involved in the sport and inspiring the next generation is so important to me.
Would you like to release your own range of sports clothing?
I guess that would be cool, but at the minute I’m just focusing on my gymnastics and if after that I get the opportunity to work on something like this then it’s definitely something I would look into.
We understand you met former Olympic gymnast Nadia Comaneci, how was this?
It was amazing! It was such a shock, to be honest, and it happened so quick! I was in the lift at the World Championships going back to my room and she started talking to me. The whole time I was stood thinking, ‘wait, she actually knows who I am?!’.
Is there anything you enjoy doing in your spare time away from gymnastics?
I don’t have too much spare time so I just like to spend time with my family and chill!
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