Basildon’s Whitlock strikes double gold

Basildon gymnast Max Whitlock has won two gold medals at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in front of an average TV audience of 10.4 million.

On Sunday 14 August, Whitlock became the first gymnast from Great Britain to win an individual gold medal, triumphing in the individual floor exercise. Later that day, he struck gold again in the individual pommel horse.

The 23-year-old Olympian, who was awarded the freedom of the borough of Basildon in April 2016, also won bronze in the all-round gymnastics event at the Rio Games.

Winning two golds and a bronze medal is an improvement on Whitlock’s tally at London 2012, when he scooped two bronze medals.

Whitlock's achievements have been lauded as particularly impressive given that he struggled with a nasty dose of glandular fever in 2015.

In a post-event interview, Whitlock said: "I go in to do my job for hours and hours in the gym for years. You only get a minute here to show what you've been working on and I've done it today – at the Olympic Games. I just don't know what to say. I'm just delighted. 

'I knew I had to refocus. I knew I still had a job to do. Now I can take them both in at the same time. I got really emotional. I wasn't watching any routines or anything and suddenly it just hit me and I realised what I had done."

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