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Tokyo Olympics: Max Whitlock hailed as Britain's greatest ever gymnast after winning gold in men's pommel horse

·2-min read

Max Whitlock has been hailed as Britain's greatest ever gymnast after winning gold in the men's pommel horse at the Tokyo Olympics.

The defending Olympic champion produced a stunning performance with a complex routine to record a huge score of 15.583 in the final.

The 28-year-old, who was the first athlete to take to the apparatus in the competition, punched his fist after his dismount.

Team GB called Whitlock "the greatest gymnast this country has ever produced" after his victory as he secured his sixth Olympic medal - including three golds - over three Games.

It is Great Britain's tenth gold of the Tokyo Olympics after Charlotte Worthington earlier won the women's BMX freestyle.

After winning gold, Whitlock told the BBC: "I feel completely overwhelmed. It feels very, very surreal.

"This is probably the most pressured environment I've ever been in.

"Going up first is hard... it meant I had to go all out.

"That was the biggest routine I've been training for."

Whitlock is only the sixth Briton to win at least six Olympic medals, following in the footsteps of Sir Bradley Wiggins, Sir Chris Hoy, Jason Kenny, Sir Steve Redgrave and Charlotte Dujardin in reaching the milestone.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted his congratulations to Whitlock, saying the gymnast's gold was "another fantastic result for Team GB".

Before the final, Whitlock's wife Leah revealed she and the couple's two-year-old daughter Willow were watching from home, as COVID restrictions prevent athletes' families from attending the Games.

Whitlock was already Team GB's most successful Olympic gymnast after winning two gold medals and a bronze at Rio 2016 and two bronzes at London 2012.

The gymnast from Hertfordshire made history at the Rio Games when he won Great Britain's first medal in the all-around event for 108 years.

At those Games, he also became the first British gold medallist in artistic gymnastics with victory in the floor and pommel horse events.

After his routine in Tokyo, Whitlock was forced to wait as the rest of his rivals tried and failed to match his total, with Chinese Taipei's Chih Kai Lee coming closest on 15.4, and Japan's Kazuma Kaya Kohei Kameyama taking bronze.

Ireland's Rhys McClenaghan, who qualified with the joint top score alongside Lee, came off the apparatus early and missed out on a medal.

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