MAX Whitlock has spoken of his pride at being made an ambassador for England for next year’s home Commonwealth Games – the event which really started him on his path to glory at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The 20-year-old is one of a dozen athletes who have been chosen to represent England in the role in the lead up to next year’s top international event in Glasgow.
It will see the South Essex Gymnastics Club star attending special guest appearances in the run up to the 11-day competition, which starts in July 2014.
“My main aim is just to make the team, but to get the chance to be involved like this in a home Games and raise more awareness is an honour,” he said.
It was at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi where Whitlock really announced his arrival on the world stage with two silver medals and a bronze.
That gave him a springboard to earn and unexpected spot in the Team GB squad for last summer’s Games, and he capped the fairytale with double bronze.
Whitlock’s progression has continued apace, and he was given the honour of leading the Great Britain team at this year’s successful European Championships, where he claimed a gold on the floor as part of the nation’s impressive medal haul. But he admits how the bedrock for his success was laid in India three years ago.
He said: “The Commonwealth Games is a massive competition and in Delhi it was a massive step for me to try to qualify for London.
“The experience is similar to the Olympic Games in that you stay in a village and it’s a multi-sport event.
“That was an important experience for me because I was a young athlete.
“This time around, and on the back of the London Olympics, it could be another important stepping stone to getting a place at the Olympics in Rio.”