Job search
Job Search

People: Max Whitlock on creating gymnastics opportunities for children

Olympic gymnast

Published in Sports Management 2018 issue 3
Read on turning pages | Download PDF of this issue
Max Whitlock is a five-time Olympic medallist in gymnastics / © Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/PA Images
Max Whitlock is a five-time Olympic medallist in gymnastics/ © Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/PA Images

Tell us about your recent partnership with Everyone Active to launch Max Whitlock Gymnastics
We wanted to set up the partnership to combat the long waiting lists for gymnastics that currently exist around the country. There are so many kids that want to take part in gymnastics but who don’t have the opportunity, because there aren’t enough gymnastics clubs to fulfil the need. We really want to give more kids the opportunity to try the sport and enjoy it.

Our pledge is to get one million children aged four to 11 years old taking part in gymnastics over the next four years. It’s a hard target, but it will be a massive accomplishment. For me and my wife Leah it’s been a huge dream to get the programme up and running and it feels a bit surreal that it’s a reality now.

Training at an Everyone Active centre myself, I know first-hand that their brilliant facilities UK wide offer scope to get children all over the country benefitting from the gymnastics programme. I’m excited to be rolling this out across 30 of their facilities.

How does the programme work?
Leah and I have spent a long time developing the programme from our own experiences within the sport to ensure it’s fun and engaging. It consists of structured sessions that give children the chance to develop and perfect their skills as they progress through the sport and on to competition level, should they choose to.

They can try out lots of different apparatuses within the sport to develop their skills. Parents will also be able to track their child’s progress and we’ve developed our own awards scheme for children to work towards.

You must have inspired many children with your success. Have you noticed this?
It all really started for me at London 2012, but Rio 2016 also had a huge impact. Our country has really come together since the Games, and the interest in gymnastics just keeps on growing.

The results we brought back from Rio as a team made history. I am, of course, proud of my own achievements – coming back with two gold medals, I had kids as young as five coming up to me to tell me that they want to become an Olympic athlete one day.

I started out on a recreational gymnastics programme very similar to the programme I’ve created, and I want to show kids how possible it is for them to achieve and succeed in the sport. To be able to inspire young children to take part in gymnastics is a massive privilege and something I don’t take for granted.

What lessons has sport taught you?
Growing up I was actually really shy, and gymnastics has brought out and boosted my confidence levels. The sport has taught me to be fearless and just go for what you want, as well as strengthening my discipline.

For instance, at one of our launch events there was a young girl who was really scared of heights. She wouldn’t jump off the vault to land on the crash mat, but I supported her through it and she did jump. Her teacher told me that they’ve never been able to get her to jump during her PE sessions at school, so it just shows that programmes like ours in a safe environment can get kids to take part.

I truly believe that gymnastics is one of the best sporting foundations for children, helping them to develop skills that can be used in all aspects of their lives. It’s a sport that has opened many doors for me and I hope it can do the same for others.

What are your current personal goals?
I’ve got the European Championships, which are happening in Glasgow this August and then the World Championships at the end of the year.

The World Championships will also be the first trial for selection into the Olympic team for Tokyo 2020. I’m currently just working on my own performance, training with my team to improve my score during competitions. I’m really looking forward to getting out there and showing everyone what I’ve been working on.

Sign up for FREE ezines & magazines
Sports jobs
Everyone Active
featured job

Swimming Teachers

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive hourly rate
Job location: Nationwide

Duty Manager

Lex Leisure
Salary:
Location: Erith, UK

Leisure Assistant

Circadian Leisure Trust
Salary: £8.21 - £8.70
Location: Bradley Stoke, Bristol, UK

Leisure Assistant

Circadian Leisure Trust
Salary: 8.21 - £8.70
Location: Bradley Stoke, Bristol, UK

Gymnastics Coach

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive
Location: Yateley, United Kingdom

Swimming Teacher

GLL
Salary: Up to £14.34 per hour
Location: Winscombe, Somerset, UK

Gymnastics Coach

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive
Location: Ashfield, United Kingdom

Gymnastics Coach

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive
Location: Bournemouth, United Kingdom

Gymnastics Coach

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive
Location: Fareham, United Kingdom

Gymnastics Coach

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive
Location: Bristol, United Kingdom
recruiting with sports management

Gymnastics Coach

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive
Location: Bristol, United Kingdom

General Manager

Lex Leisure
Salary: Competitive
Location: Broughton Astley, Leicester, UK

Assistant Chef

GLL
Salary: Up to £9.32 per hour
Location: Falmouth, Cornwall, UK

Catering Assistant

GLL
Salary: Up to £8.21 per hour
Location: St Austell, Cornwall, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £8.21 per hour
Location: Workington, Cumbria, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £8.21 per hour
Location: Sleaford, Lincolnshire, UK

Trampoline Coach

GLL
Salary: Up to £15.25 per hour (including annual leave)
Location: York, North Yorkshire, UK
recruiting with sports management

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £9.00 per hour
Location: Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £10.55 per hour
Location: Wembley, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £22,008 per annum
Location: Eltham, London, UK

Sports Assistants

University of Bath
Salary: £18,009 rising to £19,133 + 10% alternating shift allowance
Location: Bath, UK

Activity Co-ordinator

Carmarthenshire County Council
Salary: £27,905 - £32,029
Location: Llanelli, UK

Ballet Teacher

GLL
Salary: Up to £21.65 per hours (inclusive of annual leave)
Location: Sutton, Surrey, UK

CRM Executive

GLL
Salary: Up to £27,991 PA +8% Bonus after qualifying period
Location: Woolwich, London, UK
training with sports management

Duty Officer

Brunel University London
Salary: £29,677 to £34,032 per annum incl. London Allowance
Location: Uxbridge, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £16,696 per annum
Location: Winscombe, Somerset, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £16,696 per annum
Location: Swindon, Wiltshire, UK

National Pool Plant Operator Certificate

Institute of Swimming
Salary:
Location: Nationwide

Swim England Level 2 Teaching Swimming

Institute of Swimming
Salary:
Location: Nationwide

Swim England Level 1 Swimming Assistant (Teaching)

Institute of Swimming
Salary:
Location: Nationwide

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £18,305 per annum
Location: Bath, Somerset, Bath, UK
lifeguard jobs  swimming teacher jobs  recreation assistant jobs  apprenticeships jobs  personal trainer jobs  Gymnastics Coach jobs  duty manager jobs  assistant manager jobs  general manager jobs  assistant general manager jobs  Catering Assistant jobs  Customer Services Advisor jobs 
More jobs

Video Gallery

TVS Sports Surfaces
Established in 2009 as a specialist supplier of noise and vibration solutions, The TVS Group has successfully evolved into four key strategic divisions; TVS Sports Surfaces, TVS Gym Flooring, TVS Play Surfaces and TVS Acoustics.
Visit website
More videos

Company profile

Company profile: Precor
For more than 35 years, Precor has driven fitness forward. We continue that heritage every day, by advancing what’s possible in design innovation, member experience and service.
View full profile >
More company profiles

Featured Supplier

Dyaco grows UK business with new headquarters and key appointment
Following a year of strong growth, leading fitness equipment provider Dyaco has moved to a new UK headquarters in Milton Keynes, marking a significant milestone for the company.
View full details >
More featured suppliers

Diary dates

21-22 Sep 2019
Locations worldwide,
23-26 Sep 2019
JW Marriott Turnberry Resort & Spa, Miami, United States
25 Sep 2019
Coca-Cola Arena, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
15 Oct 2019
Loughborough University, Loughborough, United Kingdom
More diary dates