Often known as Great Britain’s most successful female gymnast, Beth Tweddle MBE is among the few greats who have reached the top in two separate disciplines – the asymmetric bars and the floor. In 2006, she made history by becoming the only British gymnast ever, at the time, to make the shortlist for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
With 28 medals to her name, including 14 golds, eight silver, and six bronze, Beth retired in 2013 and is now a popular sporting pundit, gymnastics trainer, charity ambassador, and sought-after motivational sports speaker.
Born in South Africa, Beth Tweddle moved to the UK at 18 months old. At age seven, Beth started competing in gymnastics at the Crewe and Nantwich club before moving to the City of Liverpool Gymnastics Club in 1997.
A keen learner, Beth completed a degree in sports science from Liverpool Jon Moores University in 2007 before joining the University of Liverpool’s physiotherapy programme in 2012.
Beth started competing professionally in 2001 when she first appeared at the Belgium World Championships. This was followed the next year by appearances at the Greece European Championships, Manchester Commonwealth Game – where she won a silver medal in the all-around final – and the Hungarian World Championships. This medal-winning streak would continue throughout her career, gaining another three gold and two bronze medals at World Championships, six gold, four silver, and one bronze at the European Championships, a gold and two silver medals at the World Cup Finals, three gold and two bronze medals at the World University Games, and one gold and a second silver Commonwealth medal.
Whilst the recipient of many medals elsewhere, that elusive Olympic medal didn’t appear until the 2012 London games. Her first foray into the Olympics was in Athens in 2004, where the British team placed 11th, and she placed 19th. In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the British team scored 9th, and she placed 4th in the uneven bars. The support of a home game saw Beth finally get her hands on an Olympic medal – winning a bronze in the uneven bars final. Whilst London was the last Olympics she competed in, Beth has commentated and presented for the games since, mainly for the BBC.
Since retiring from professional Gymnastics, Beth has been a familiar face on our television screens as a pundit, commentator, and reality show contestant.
She has been a guest on shows including A Question of Sport (2007-2021), The One Show (2009-2012), Hole in the Wall (2009), Pointless Celebrities (2019), Celebrity Chase (2014-2021), The Wright Stuff (2014), Lorraine (2014), Sky News Breakfast (2021), and Dancing on Ice (2013-2019) – which she won in 2013. She also commentates for the BBC and Sky Sports, as well as on BBC Radio.
However, not every appearance ended well. In 2016, Beth took part in the TV series The Jump. While training in Austria for a skiing task, Beth was injured; she was rushed to hospital and had emergency surgery on her back, with her vertebrae fused using bone the surgeons took from her hip. Worried about her, Beth’s social media following of over 186,000 were relieved when she told them that, with the proper physio, she was able to walk again.
Beth is a big believer in using her position to help charities that mean something to her. These include ‘Your Life’, a charity which aims to increase the number of young people over 16 studying Maths and Physics, ‘Alder Hey Children’s Charity’, which raises funds to support the children’s hospital in Liverpool, ‘Claire House’, a children’s hospice, ‘Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity’ which helps support the London-based children hospital, and, unsurprisingly, the ‘British Gymnastics Foundation’, which aims to create opportunities for the less fortunate communities through gymnastics.
Beth is as successful outside of gymnastics as she was in it, holding a number of accreditations in sports science and physio. In 2012, she set up Total Gymnastics Academies, which works with national schools to add gym classes to their curriculum. She also set up #trainwithBeth, UK-based camps which offered children bespoke, elite gymnastics experiences.
She is not entirely removed from the world of professional gymnastics and has worked with the International Gymnastics Federation as a Global Athlete representative. She has also worked as a Director for Switch the Play, which helps professional athletes gain training and a career after sport.
Beth’s achievements in gymnastics, and her success after retiring, have made her a highly desirable motivational speaker, working across the spectrum, from school children to blue-chip company leaders.
– Olympic Games
– Peak Performance
– Overcoming Adversity
– Achieving Goals
– Leadership and Teamwork
Everyone was engaged and loved hearing what she had to say and she was super easy to deal with on the night. It was very cool that she brought her medal.
Beth was great! Very down to earth and easy to work with. She connected well with our audience and her keynote was very inspirational.