Wakefield’s Craig Lowther fulfilled a lifelong dream when he flew to Rio de Janeiro today, Thursday, as a member of Great Britain’s gymnastics coaching team at the Olympic Games.
Lowther, who has inspired Wakefield Gym Club gymnasts to considerable success for many years, is in Rio to coach the British trampolining team after helping to transform the sport in this country.
After achieving considerable success in tumbling as a gymnast and a coach, Lowther was appointed Head National Coach of trampolining, tumbling and double mini trampoline in 2012. He was tasked with revitalising British trampolining, which had under-performed at Olympics level for many years.
The Wakefield coach proceeded to do just that and since his appointment, Great Britain have won four individual European medals with the women claiming two European titles and the World team crown.
The World Championships glory resulted in two British women qualifying for the Rio Olympics in Kat Driscoll, 30, and Sheffield’s Bryony Page, 25. It is the first time two female British trampolinists have qualified for an Olympics and only China and Belarus have matched Britain in getting two women to Rio.
They will be joined by Nathan Bailey, 22, who is the first British male in 12 years to compete in the Olympics.
And Lowther can’t wait to savour Olympic competition, saying: “As a gymnast, I never made it to the Olympics as tumbling was not an Olympic sport.
“It is any sportsperson’s or coach’s ambition to be able to go to the Olympic Games. It has been mine since I first went into the gym and then watched the Olympics on television.
“I am very excited about going to the Olympic Games and immensely proud to be representing Great Britain at the most important sporting event in the world.”
No medal targets have been set for Britain’s trampolinists but the trio’s qualification has already surpassed expectations. Lowther explained: “The target was to get one trampolinist to Rio so to get three is fantastic.
“I will be happy if we can reach one final. That will hopefully inspire others to take up the sport and we can build for more success in future Olympics.”
The men’s trampoline events take place on August 12 with the women’s events following on August 13.
Read tomorrow’s Wakefield Express for more on this story