It’s always great for the sport when a gymnast is rewarded for their professionalism, dedication and unselfish service to others. So, it’s fitting that two-time Olympic gymnast and multiple major championship medallist, Kristian Thomas, has been elected onto the BOA’s Athletes’ Commission.
This is, of course, an advisory group set up to ensure the athletes’ viewpoint and interests are at the heart of everything the BOA does. The Commission has 12 members, made up of a mixture of retired and current athletes from summer and winter sports.
It was founded in 2004 to represent the interests of athletes in Great Britain to major decision-makers in the sport. The brief also included assisting athletes in member sports to both setup and maintain athlete representative structures. It’s also specified that all candidates must have competed for Team GB at an Olympic Games or Olympic Winter Games within the past 12 years, and no earlier than Turin 2006.
A Sporting Honour
It’s a great honour for the 29-year-old former artistic gymnast from Wolverhampton to be chosen as one of five new members serving a four-year term from 2019 to 2022. It means Kristian will be at the heart of the decision-making process for Team GB so he can have a key part to play on how the sport continues to develop long into the future. No doubt his experience will be called upon frequently having performed at the highest level for a number of years.
He was, in fact, the first male gymnast ever to win a medal in ‘vault’, landing a bronze in the 2013 World Championships. Two years later he won his first major international title, securing gold in the floor exercise at the 2015 European Artistic Gymnastics Championships. And we can’t forget his contribution as part of the British team that won gold in the 2012 European Championships team event, and a historic bronze in the same event at the 2012 London Olympics.
For those who know Kristian well it comes as no surprise to see him further an ambition not just to help up and coming athletes, but also those currently working hard with Tokyo 2020 on the horizon. It’s a huge responsibility, but this exceptional athlete will surely take it all in his stride.
Kristian said: “I’m delighted to have been elected onto the BOA Athlete’s Commission. To have been elected by fellow peers and Olympians is something I’m very proud of and I’m looking forward to getting started in January.
“I hope to be able to share my experiences and perspectives to ensure the athletes are at the pillar of Team GB, supporting their journey and successes. The role will also help my development and skill-set as an athlete ambassador for British Gymnastics.”
This well-respected gymnast who trained at Earls Gymnastics Club in Halesowen and lives near Cannock, announced his retirement from gymnastics last year. He’s currently coaching at Park Wrekin Gymnastics Club in Telford.
“The BOA Athletes’ Commission is in place to ensure that athletes’ interests continue to be at the heart of everything the BOA does,” said BOA Athletes’ Commission Chair Ben Hawes. “The six new members will be a fantastic addition to our group and I look forward to working with them as we build towards Tokyo 2020, Beijing 2022 and beyond.”
Just short of 800 votes were cast with more than a third of eligible and potential Olympians voting in the election. A total of 21 athletes stood for the six positions.
The Commission is involved in a range of projects from developing the team’s values and philosophies to athlete opportunities and transition, team kit and agreements to the input into accreditation panels and Games-time welfare planning. They’ll also work with other stakeholders to ensure teams competing at Summer, Winter and Youth Olympic Games and Festivals are fully prepared.
Elected alongside Kristian are Rio 2016 hockey gold medallist Georgie Twigg, track cycling gold and silver medallist Callum Skinner, snowboarder Aimee Fuller and Winter Olympic medal-winning swimmer, Liam Tancock.
An Example to Follow
It’s an excellent example to anyone just starting out at one of our many gymnastics’ clubs, of just what can be achieved if you have the right stuff. It’s also important to highlight how former gymnasts can put so much back into the sport once they have retired. We look forward to seeing Kristian’s influence in the coming years. We’re sure he’ll do a great job.
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