On This Day in 2016: Max Whitlock makes history at Rio Olympics

Whitlock also won gold on the pommel horse in Brazil.

By Press Association Published: 14 August 2020 - 5.00am

On this day in 2016, Max Whitlock ended Great Britain’s 120-year wait for a gymnastics Olympic gold medal at the Rio Games.

Whitlock took gold on the floor, before doubling his tally two hours later on the pommel horse, becoming the first British athlete in 44 years to win two individual Olympic titles on the same day.

It was believed he only had a slim chance of a podium place on the floor, but the then 23-year-old landed an impressive score of 15.633. He then refused to watch his rivals’ routines, and edged two Brazilians to take the gold.

Whitlock's medal on the floor ended Britain's 120-year wait for a gymnastics gold
Whitlock’s medal on the floor ended Britain’s 120-year wait for a gymnastics gold (David Davies/PA)

On the pommel horse, his victory pushed team-mate Louis Smith into the silver medal position, landing 15.966 compared to his compatriot’s 15.833.

Whitlock had already secured a medal at Rio, a bronze in the all-round competition the previous week.

Speaking after his heroics, he said: “It was quite difficult – I couldn’t take in what had happened on the floor.

Whitlock followed up his gold on the floor with one on the pommel horse two hours later
Whitlock followed up his gold on the floor with one on the pommel horse two hours later (David Davies/PA)

“It hit me like a ton of bricks because I wasn’t watching any of the routines before or after me, it was crazy and it made history.

“But I knew I had another job to do – I had to head back in the training gym, refocus and start warming up for the pommel because I had one more routine to do and now I can proudly say I have finished the Olympics with a smile on my face.

“This has out-done our expectations. This was my first floor final in the Olympics and the fact it only comes around once every four years makes it even more special. It makes me feel complete I think.”