A woman from Northampton is celebrating after helping Team GB to a historic silver medal at the Rio Olympics
Northampton’s Tracy Whittaker-Smith hailed a new dawn for British trampolining after guiding Bryony Page to a historic Olympic silver medal at the Rio games.
Whittaker-Smith, head coach of the British men’s and women’s trampoline teams and director of Northamptonshire Trampoline Gymnastics Academy (NTGA), was by Page’s side in the Rio Olympic Arena on Friday evening as the 25-year-old scored 56.040 to become the UK’s first-ever Olympic trampoline medallist, a total bettered only by Canada’s Rosie McLennan, who retained her Olympic title with a score of 56.465.
Page’s GB team-mate Kat Driscoll finished sixth with a score of 53.645 to achieve the team’s pre-games target of one medallist and one finalist in the women’s event, while Whittaker-Smith helped Nathan Bailey to ninth in the men’s event the following day – the first time a British male has competed in trampoline at the games since Athens 2014.
NTGA has a history of Olympic involvement, having produced Great Britain’s first female Olympic trampolinist (Jaime Moore, Sydney 2000) and hosted pre-Olympic training for teams from Japan and Australia prior to the London 2012 Games. Rio 2016 is Whittaker-Smith’s second Olympics as national coach following her selection for the London 2012 Olympics and her fourth in total, with previous representation on the support teams in Sydney 2000 and Beijing 2008.
Tracy Whittaker-Smith said: “It’s hard to put in to words the emotions after such an incredible weekend – in the team we all believed that this was possible and the gymnasts went out and achieved their aims and dreams, we could not be more proud of them. It was simply an amazing experience to be part of and one that will live long in the memory.
“Ever since trampolining was introduced in to the Olympics in 2000, we have been pushing to compete with established nations such as Russia and China, to battle it out for the medals.
“To see Bryony compete the final routine she did and finish second only to the 2012 Olympic Champion was breath-taking and shows the work the whole of the GB squad have been putting in, especially in the four years since London 2012.
“The list of people to thank is extremely long, but this has been made possible by the staff at British Gymnastics who have supported us unreservedly, as well as the support staff at the English Institute of Sport and UK Sport.
“I’m so proud to have been part of Great Britain’s first trampolining Olympic medal and hope that this will inspire gymnasts up and down the country – including those in our own gym in Northampton – to go that extra mile in search of Olympic glory for Great Britain, knowing that it is possible to mix it with the world’s best.”