Thursday 8 December 2016

Beth Tweddle back in the saddle after horrifying crash on The Jump

Published 23/07/2016 | 19:16

Beth Tweddle at the Ultimate Sports day hosted at the East Village in Stratford, London
Beth Tweddle at the Ultimate Sports day hosted at the East Village in Stratford, London

Former Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle says she is back in the saddle after a horrifying crash on TV show The Jump that left her needing spinal surgery.

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The 31-year-old, who is Britain's most successful gymnast, had part of her hip removed to fuse two fractured vertebrae in her neck after she crashed into a barrier when landing a jump on the Channel 4 winter sports show in February.

Having at one point needed her parents' help to walk down the hospital corridor, she said she has recently completed a 25-mile charity cycle ride, which was one of the goals she set herself on her return from Austria.

Tweddle said: "I enjoy cycling now, I've done the charity bike ride recently. (It's) a bit of leisurely cycling, none of this fast-paced round the velodrome."

Speaking about her recovery after the traumatic crash, she added : "I'm still working with my physio and doctors and psychologist. My family and friends have been really supportive.

"It's still a difficult thing to talk about and it's something I chose to keep quite private."

Tweddle will be in the spotlight in the coming weeks as she heads to the Olympics in Rio do Janeiro to commentate on the gymnastics for the BBC and she thinks this could the year for Britain's first gold medal.

She said: "There's so much medal potential within the British gymnastics team at the minute. That's the difference, we're sending our strongest team.

"In the past it's maybe been about one or two people that were picking up medals, but now there are a number of names on that team who could pick up medals."

She singled out 23-year-old Max Whitlock for glory.

"He has had the most incredible couple of years and some good results so I think he's tipped for a couple of medals," she said.

While not being drawn on whether the number of athletes who had pulled out of the games due to concerns over Zika virus was an overreaction, she said: "For me, I'm happy to go and had I been an athlete, I would have gone as well."

Press Association

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