Imogen Cairns named in Great Britain's Olympic squad

Gazette Series: Imogen Cairns Imogen Cairns

FORMER Fromeside gymnast Imogen Cairns is in line to realise her dream of competing at the London 2012 Olympics.

The 23-year-old, who grew up in Winterbourne, was one of five women’s artistic gymnasts named in Great Britain’s squad yesterday.

It will be the second time Cairns has represented her country at the Olympics, but that looked a distant dream when she suffered career-threatening injuries to both feet in her first competition after Beijing 2008.

She fought back by winning two gold medals and one silver at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, and shelved plans to retire in a bid to compete at her home Olympics.

Recognised as one of the best vaulters in the country, Cairns joins Jennifer Pinches, Rebecca Tunney, Beth Tweddle and Hannah Whelan in Great Britain’s artistic team.

Team GB Chef de Mission Andy Hunt said: “Representing your country at the Olympics is a very unique, special experience and I am sure this talented and determined group of gymnasts will play a full part as members of our greatest team at our home Olympic Games.

“The group of athletes selected possesses a good balance of youth and experience, with Beth Tweddle competing in her third Olympic Games, and Beijing bronze medallist Louis Smith, Imogen Cairns and Hannah Whelan all competing at their second.

The rest of the team will be making their Olympic debuts at London 2012, including 15-year-old Rebecca Tunney, who will be Team GB’s youngest athlete this summer.

“Gymnastics in the UK has gone from strength to strength since Beijing 2008. Never before have we won so many international gymnastics medals and had such a successful Olympic cycle as the last four years and I am fully confident that with the support of the UK behind them, our gymnasts will deliver many memorable performances to inspire the nation.”

British Gymnastics Olympic Performance Director Tim Jones added: “The competition for places has been intense and we had both the luxury and challenge of so many great gymnasts to select from.

“We go into the Games in great shape with more gymnasts capable of making their mark than ever before.

“The mood in the camp is positive and we are all looking forwards to building our reputation ever further with a strong showing at London 2012.”

Cairns started gymnastics at Fromeside when she was six-year-old, but she followed her long-time coach Liz Kincaid to the Academy in Portishead when she was 14.

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