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"The talent is there and the awareness is there, the Olympics only happen every 4 years, I was tipped a medal in Athens and Beijing but it took my third Olympics to actually get it.

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"I think if you ask your parents they remember doing a lot more gymnastics in school which has decreased.

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Olympian gymnast Beth Tweddle remains optimistic over the future of gymnastics in Great Britain despite the fact participation in the sport by women over 16 has dropped by 32% over the past two Converse All Star Dainty Sneaker White years.

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"Obviously the figures are there for a reason and we have to take note of them but from my own experience I've only seen an increase."

British Gymnastics is investing of funding from Sport England over four years, with for facility development, for talent pathway and systems and allocated for increasing participation.

"With gymnastics it's always going to be a slow process, we weren't even medalling ten years ago, you can't take a gymnast and make them the world champion overnight it takes them years.

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In 2007 2008, 46,500 over 16's took part in gymnastics once a week, but this number reduced to 31,400 in 2012 13.

it and they have that belief in them and also the judges are constantly keeping an eye out for us.

"It's always really hard to take figures and for me I've seen an increase in participation," Tweddle said.

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However, British Gymnastics have 212,000 members aged up to 16 and 18,000 who are 17+, with 76% of those members female, and they have also seen a 17% growth in recreational membership since the London Olympics in 2012.

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"I have my own academies around the country and since the Olympics my numbers have kept on increasing.

Tweddle, who won bronze in the Uneven Bars at her home Games, remains undeterred by these figures and insists the interest in gymnastics and participation in the sport has never been higher.

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"Sports have different profiles naturally 10 years ago gymnastics hardly had a profile at all it was only the gymnastics world who knew we were competing whereas now we do get support and more media coverage," Tweddle said.

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But the triple World Champion, who retired from the sport in August, is hopeful to see many more British Olympic medallists and remains intent on inspiring future generations to follow in her footsteps.

but if you don't give them the opportunity to try it they may never find it.

"I just want to inspire the younger generation," Tweddle said.

The Olympian is also delighted to have seen a dramatic increase in the sport's profile during her time in gymnastics and is confident this will continue to rise.

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"It's still on the curriculum but if you go and watch a gymnastics lesson it's not how people see it on the TV and in this day and age schools have to consider health and safety and child protection and at the end of the day it's a difficult sport to teach."

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Posted on Friday, July 13, 2007 at 06:40PM by Registered CommenterJhidekim in | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail
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