Recently, Courtney Tulloch competed at the European Championships in Munich, where he won Bronze on the Rings and, alongside his British teammates James Hall, Joe Fraser, Jake Jarman and Giarnni Regini-Moran, he became European champion, winning the Team Gold, which was the first time the Great Britain men’s team had won Gold in ten years. Courtney represented Team England at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham earlier this year, retaining his individual title on Rings, as well as the England team retaining their title, after they competed in 2018 at the Gold Coast, and during his time at these Games, he was one of the athletes chosen to meet King Charles (then Prince Charles). Having competed at the 2022 British Championships in Liverpool, Courtney once again retained his Rings title, and he has now been selected to return to Liverpool later this month to represent Team GB at the World Championships. We talked to Courtney about winning Bronze on Rings and Team Gold at the European Championships in Munich, retaining his Rings and Team titles at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham this summer and his success at the British Championships in Liverpool.
At the recent European Championships in Munich, you won Bronze on the Rings, what was the competition like to compete at and how was it winning the individual medal?
I love competing at big competitions so to do my Rings routine the way I did and come away with a Bronze medal made me very happy. I was very confident in myself leading up to the final because training has gone very well and my coach made sure I was in the best shape possible. Obviously you want to be standing on top of the podium, but this time you have to take the small victories and this will only encourage me to fight and push even harder at the World Championships in October.
You represented Great Britain at Munich, which saw the team win Gold, how did it feel becoming European champion alongside your teammates James Hall, Joe Fraser, Jake Jarman and Giarnni Regini-Moran?
Winning Gold in the Team is an incredible achievement for us. Great Britain hadn’t won in ten years so to be able to say we are European champions is amazing. This is only the beginning for our team and we want to prove we are one of the best out there in the world, not only Europe.
Do you have any favourite memories from competing at the European Championships over the years, which has seen you also medal at Bern in 2016, Cluj-Napoca in 2017 and Glasgow in 2018?
My favourite memory of competing at the European Championships was my first ever in 2016, where I won my first European medal being part of a team with my idols – Louis Smith, Kristian Thomas, Nile Wilson and Daniel Purvis.
Earlier this year, you were selected for Team England at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, which was the same team as Munich, what was the atmosphere like from a home crowd at a major international multi-sport event and how was it meeting King Charles (then Prince Charles) during your time there?
The atmosphere in Birmingham was an experience I will never forget in my life. The crowd were so loud and we had never really experienced anything like that before, but it only inspired us and motivated us to do better. Meeting Prince Charles was very surreal. I still can’t believe that happened as I wasn’t sure who I was going to meet.
How was it retaining the title in the Team competition and your individual title on Rings and how did you stay focused during the finals?
Retaining titles is a very difficult thing. In the Team event, I was quite relaxed and confident because I was around my teammates, but in the Rings final, I was up there alone and the pressure was on. I remember waking up in the morning and thinking ‘I’m not going to lose today’, and I just went in with that mindset and it paid off. I don’t think it’s fully sunk in yet. I’m a four-time Commonwealth champion. There are not many people that can say that.
What did you enjoy most about staying in the Birmingham athletes village and how different was the experience competing there than your previous Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast in 2018?
The best thing about the athletes village is just being around so many people that are from completely different countries as you but are also very similar to you. It’s hard to explain but you all have respect for each other and you all want the best for each other, but at the same time you all want to beat each other and win. And with this being my second Commonwealth Games, I sort of knew what to expect and experience always helps.
The Gold Coast marked your Commonwealth Games debut, do you remember how you felt qualifying for the finals and winning your first Commonwealth medals with Gold in the Team and on Rings and Silver on the Vault?
I was very lucky and spoilt to have Gold Coast as my first Commonwealth Games. I remember not really knowing what to expect but I fell in love with Australia, it’s a stunning country. Coming away with two Golds and a Silver on Vault, I think was pretty unexpected and people didn’t really expect that of me, however, I always believed in myself and knew I could have that success in that competition.
You retained your title on the Rings at this year’s British Championships, what was this like?
I love competing at the British Championships because you’re in front of all your family and friends and it’s a good tester at the beginning of the year to see where you’re at and how you’re doing, so to retain my British Championships title is always a good step in the right direction. Also, it gives me a good confidence boost for the rest of the year.
At the World Challenge Cup in Koper, you won Silver on the Vault, how was the experience competing in Slovenia?
In Slovenia, I remember the day before I fell on my Rings dismount so I was pretty annoyed with myself, so going into the Vault final, I felt like I had a point to prove. So to get the Silver on Vault I was pleased. Slovenia World Cup is where I won my first World Cup medal as a senior gymnast, so it has a special place in my heart.
In 2019, you became the World Cup champion on Rings at Baku, can you tell us about competing there?
Baku World Cup is a truly fun and enjoyable competition. The arena is incredible. Baku as a country is very beautiful, lots of tall buildings, blue skies and warm weather! Really enjoyed my time out there. I remember in 2019, everything just came together. I had no injuries and just felt very strong. And to go out there and win Gold on Rings was just the cherry on top of an incredible trip.
After returning to major competitions since the pandemic closed gyms, can you tell us about some of the other competitions you’ve been part of?
So, after/during the pandemic, I went to the European Championships in Switzerland and the World Championships in Japan at the end of 2021. 2020 and 2021 were very difficult years for obvious reasons. They just seemed to stop start stop start and because of that I find it hard to remember what competitions I actually did compete in.
Where does your love of gymnastics come from and how did you start?
I started gymnastics when I was six years old. I remember watching someone do a cartwheel or flip on TV and just being amazed by it and wanted to copy. My mum said I picked up the skills quite quick and thought we should try to get me into the local gymnastics club and also that would help get some energy out because I was bouncing off the walls, that’s where it all began.
The thing I love the most about gymnastics is competing. I’m a very competitive person and always want to be on the podium. There is no better feeling then setting a goal, working your hardest day in, day out and then getting your rewards for all your hard work and sacrifices.
What would you say are some of your other stand-out highlights from your gymnastics career at both senior and junior level?
The stand-out highlights for me in my career has to be back-to-back Commonwealth Games champion on Rings and double Youth Olympic champion as a junior. Something I’m also very proud about is having two skills named after me in the code of points, not many gymnasts in the world can say their surname will be in the book of gymnastics forever.
What is a typical training day for you and how has it been transferring to South Essex Gymnastics Club?
I train roughly four hours a day and three times a week in the weights gym doing S&C. Even though I don’t compete All-Around anymore, my coach likes me to train on all the events every day as this helps with fitness. But most of my time and focus goes towards Rings and Vault. South Essex Gymnastics Club is an amazing gym club with incredible coaches. The focus on attention to detail and planning is on another level and is why I believe so many successful gymnasts have come from this club.
How do you like to spend your time away from your career?
Outside of the gym, I like to spend time with my friends and they’re all pretty competitive so it’s normally doing other sports or games nights. I’m quite into fashion so I do like shopping. Something I’m looking at doing in the future is being a strength and conditioning coach, so I would like to start working towards that in the future.
Do you have any competitions coming up that you can tell us about or that you are targeting?
World Championships is coming up at the end of October. This will be my last competition of the year and definitely the hardest. We’ve had an incredible year as a team and for me personally, and we just need to carry on that momentum and buzz we are on and I believe we can create history in Liverpool.
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