As Amy Tinkler battled it out in Rio, members of her gymnastics club gathered for a sleepover to cheer her on. Dani Walker joined them.
CHEERS and whistles to rival those in the Olympic gymnastics arena could be heard from Amy Tinkler’s North-East teammates as she took to the floor.
About 50 members of South Durham Gymnastics Club, aged between eight and 15-years-old, together with their coaches, held a sleepover in the gym, in Spennymoor, to show their support for their hero.
Armed with their personalised Amy T-shirts and Union Jack flags and hats, the backing for the Durham High School student was clear to see and hear.
But while the gymnasts and coaches watched nervously, Amy demonstrated the nerves of steel she is rapidly becoming known for.
There were shouts of “come on Amy” as the fearless 16-year-old tackled her first piece of apparatus.
The Bishop Auckland youngster received a score of 14.466 on the floor much to the delight of the members of the Spennymoor-based club, who saved her the loudest cheer of the night.
They watched closely as Amy gave a confident performance that demonstrated her ability and the reason why she will take part in the individual floor final later in the week.
She had even more reason to smile when she followed up her success on the floor with a score of 14.933 on the vault.
Union Jack bunting, Rio flags and balloons spelling out her name decorate South Durham Gymnastics Club, which is based in Spennymoor Leisure Centre, to show support for Amy.
The British team may have missed out on a medal, finishing fifth, but her home club couldn’t be more proud of their Olympian.
“She was really amazing,” said 12-year-old Lydia Scott who was one of the gymnasts watching from the gym. “She did her best for the team, absolutely brilliant.”
Leah Greenland, 12, added: “It was really inspirational watching her. She is a great role model and really gets us in the right mindset when we train with her.”
Senior coach Kelly Milnes said Amy would be sure of a hero’s welcome on her return.
“She went with no expectations but she just delivered for the team as we knew she would,” she said. “She thrives on the adrenaline and she has a great future ahead of her.
“It is so east to forget how amazing she is. She is really special and she inspires a whole generation of gymnasts. We are so proud of her.”