SIX-TIME Olympic medallist Max Whitlock has been made an OBE for services to gymnastics after adding to his roll of honour at the Tokyo Games.

The 28-year-old, who trains at the South Essex Gymnastics Club in Basildon, claimed his third career Olympic gold when he successfully defended his pommel horse title at the Ariake Arena in August.

The success came at the end of a challenging Olympic cycle – he called it “a million times harder” than the Rio Games – in which Whitlock had initially set his focus on claiming the all-around title before accepting his best chance of success was on the pommel horse.

Even once he had refocused, Whitlock faced major challenges, rivalled by Ireland’s Rhys McClenaghan who had the beating of him at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018 and at the European Games in Glasgow.

Things did not go entirely to plan in Tokyo either, with Whitlock only managing to finish fifth out of eight in qualifying following a mistake.

But when it really mattered Whitlock appeared nerveless, performing first and laying down a score of 15.583 which nobody else could match.

Speaking at the time, Whitlock had told the BBC: “This is probably the most pressured environment I’ve ever been in.

“Experience pays a lot in situations like this and I’m just incredibly happy and thankful for the journey that we’ve been on to get here.”

Whitlock’s gold was his sixth Olympic medal.

He had also won gold in the floor exercise and pommel in Rio, plus an all-around bronze, while he also took team and pommel horse bronze medals in London in 2012 as a teenager.