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Whitlock sets sights on Paris and LA to become a five-time Olympian

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ax Whitlock has set his sights on becoming a five-time Olympian, targeting not just Paris in three years’ time but Los Angeles in 2028, after winning gymnastics gold.

The 28-year-old opened the pommel horse final in Tokyo with a stunning routine of 15.583, which his rivals could not get close to for his third Olympic gold and sixth Olympic medal in all.

And, speaking today, he said he had his sights on another two Olympiads.

“I was thinking about Paris before Tokyo even started,” he said. “I would really love to make it four Olympics Games there.

“I feel very proud to have done my third and get the results to go with it. A three-year cycle helps me out a lot. I’m 28 years old now, so every year that goes by gets harder and harder.

“Paris will be here before we know. I’d love to look towards that and then who knows? At that point in my career I will have to look how the British team is bearing up and see if there’s an opening to give LA a shot. We’ll see how strong the team is looking.”

Whitlock’s latest medal took Team GB to 10 gold medals in all at the Tokyo Games to date with a medal rush set to follow in the likes of equestrian and sailing in the next 24 hours.

Prior to his final, he admitted he had been the most nervous he had ever felt in an Olympic career which began back at London 2012. And seeing Team GB gymnasts and athletes from other sports coming back to the Olympic village with gold, silver and bronze only piled on the pressure more in the lengthy build-up to his final.

But speaking to his wife Leah, who watched on from their Essex home with daughter Willow and other family members, she reminded him: “It’s just gymnastics.”

Whitlock prefers to go later on in his finals to enable him to know whether he should go for his hardest routine or else play it safer, depending on how his rivals had gone before him. But going first he had no choice but to go for his highest difficulty — and nailed a near-perfect routine.

“I felt the pressure was on massively this time,” he said. “That was the most nervous I felt for any competition I’ve done my whole life, so to pull it off, I’m really pleased.”

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