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Jade's Olympic joy
SWINDON’S Jade Faulkner cannot wait to ‘make history’ at London 2012 after having her place in Great Britain’s rhythmic gymnastics squad rubber-stamped yesterday.
The 18-year-old was named alongside Hilperton’s Francesca Fox, captain Rachel Smith, Louisa Pouli, Georgina Cassar and Lynne Hutchison at a British Olympic Association press conference at Loughborough University.
This summer will be the first time Great Britain has had a team compete in rhythmic gymnastics at an Olympics, and Faulkner was understandably delighted at the prospect.
“We all properly feel a part of Team GB now,” she said.
“Making history is really special and I hope the legacy continues after the Games and the profile of the sport can increase.
“I’m really thankful for everyone who has supported me all the way and I hope I can make everyone proud.”
The selection of Faulkner and her teammates brought to an end a hugely controversial episode in Great Britain's Olympic selection process for London 2012.
British Gymnastics had originally declined to nominate the group for selection after they hit the Olympic qualifying score at a London Prepares test event in Greenwich a day late.
However, amid mounting public support, the team successfully appealed that the selection procedure had not been clearly laid out.
“I’m starting to get butterflies,” added Faulkner, who is based at Team Bath with the rest of her teammates.
“All the hard work is done and from now on all we need to do is make sure we maintain what we’ve got.”
The Olympic rhythmic gymnastics will be held at Wembley Arena from August 9-12.
Team GB chef de mission Andy Hunt was positive on Great Britain’s chances of medal success within gymnastics as a whole this summer.
He said: “Never before have we had such a successful Olympic cycle as the last four years and I am fully confident that with the support of the UK behind them, our gymnasts will deliver many memorable performances to inspire the nation.”
British Gymnastics Olympic performance director Tim Jones was equally optimistic.
He said: “We go into the Games in great shape with more gymnasts capable of making their mark than ever before.”