Britain’s women’s gymnastics team shocked the sport by becoming the first since 1928 to win a medal in the Olympic team final as they came from behind to dramatically win bronze on Tuesday.
“I can’t believe it, it’s more than a dream come true,” said Jennifer Gadirova. “My dream was to compete in and experience the Olympics and even being here is an achievement in itself. Our main objective was to make Paris 2024. Not to mention leaving with a medal. It’s amazing and there are words to describe it.
After starting the final with an unsatisfying routine from Amelie Morgan on the balance beam, the British team of twins Jennifer and Jessica Gadirova, Alice Kinsella and Morgan resolutely rallied as they went under the radar, with most eyes on Japan, China or Italy to grab the bronze medal.
Kinsella said: “With the beam we fell and left it behind, we broke the beam and went to the floor and broke the floor and the vault, that’s when we knew we could do it. Then we broke some bars and we did it.
After lagging behind for much of the competition, Great Britain came in with a strong spin of the jump anchored by the Gadirova twins, who own two of the world’s best double-twist Yurchenko jumps, coming close to third place as they made their way to the uneven bars.
Some teams would be intimidated by the possibility, but instead they had a sublime uneven bars rotation with three excellent routines from Jessica Gadirova, Kinsella and Morgan, exceeding their qualifying routines by more than a point. The ROC and USA teams won gold and silver.
“Obviously after the vault I looked up and thought, ‘Okay, we could potentially get a medal,’ Kinsella said. “So I thought I was going to do the best bar routine I could do, which I did. I got a personal best so I’m really happy with that and then when we saw we were third I was speechless, on the floor, crying and everything.
There has been a lot of talk about the selection of the British squad, with the four first-time Olympians chosen while world bars silver medalist Rebecca Downie was omitted in controversial circumstances. The Tokyo gymnasts said they took note of all the criticisms and used them as motivation to perform.
“We’ve had a lot of criticism saying we’re an inexperienced team, and I think we did so well to put that behind us and made history,” Morgan said. “We have proven that no matter your age, your background, we were selected for this team for a reason and we came here and did our job.
“When there are reviews on social media, you are certainly aware of it. You have to try to do without it but it stays on your mind, I think for us to go out there and prove people wrong was the icing on the cake.