Max Whitlock is very delighted with the opportunity to get selected as one of the stars nominated for the 2015 BBC Sports Personality of the Year to be awarded in Belfast on Sunday, December 20.
In the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships held in Glasgow last October, Whitlock has set a new record in the world of gymnastics after winning the gold medal in the pommel horse event, making him the first-ever British man to win a world gymnastics title. Aside from that, he had also won silver in both the floor and team competition.
In spite of a young age (22), the English gymnast already possesses a total of 21 major competition medals. Despite suffering from glandular fever earlier this year, the young gymnast still made a successful run in his gymnastics journey this year.
After the list of nominees were revealed, a lot of people expressed their disagreement over the inclusion of Tyson Fury (boxer) on the shortlisted athletes, but the British gymnast, Whitlock, said that everyone deserves their moment.
“All the athletes have been chosen by a board of judges and they have been picked because of their results,” The English gymnast said.
“Every athlete deserves to be there because of their achievements this year and at the end of the day it is down to the public to vote for who are their favourite people.”
The 22-year-old gymnast, who was also in the list of candidates in the 2014 edition of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year is hopeful of becoming the second gymnast to make it to the top three of the awards, after Beth Tweddle, who was ranked third in the 2006 edition of the event.
However, regardless of the final results, Max Whitlock believes that his nomination suggests just how well-known gymnastics has become since the days when his sport barely gets any attention and recognition.
“For me it’s a massive honour to be up among those names on the list. It’s not something I ever really thought about as a kid because it was not really something that happened to gymnasts.” The 22 year-old gymnast said.
“Beth and Louis (Smith) got it rolling in terms of more people beginning to recognise the sport and it’s just got stronger and stronger ever since. Our target is just to keep improving and the juniors coming through all the time bodes really well.”
As a part of his build-up to the Sports Personality Programme, Whitlock toured different schools in Northern Ireland, and seeing the kids showing a great deal of enthusiasm in his sport ensures a bright future for gymnastics.
“Just seeing how excited kids are about gymnastics and wanting to get involved is a great thing for me,” added Whitlock. “It’s a brilliant sport to get involved in at school and it’s up to us to help push it forward.
“Hopefully the gymnastics fans will vote for me but there is a lot of great competition in there and for the way she came back after a long time out if there’s one person who stands out on the list it’s got to be Jessica Ennis-Hill for me.”
The public will decide the winner from the list of 12 nominees during the live show with a vote during the BBC One on Sunday, December 20. If Max Whitlock wins this award, he will be the first-ever gymnast to do so.
Whitlock will be contending against Lewis Hamilton (Formula One), Lizzie Armitstead (Cycling), Lucy Bronze (Football), Jessica Ennis-Hill (Track and Field), Mo Farah (Running), Chris Froome (Cycling), Tyson Fury (Boxing), Adam Peaty (Swimming), Andy Murray (Swimming), Kevin Sinfield (Rugby) and Greg Rutherford (Track and Field).
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