‘The noise, the party atmosphere’ - World Gymnastics Championships in Liverpool hailed game-changing success

The Championships saw the welcome return of spectators for the first time since 2019 due to the pandemic.

The World Gymnastics Championships in Liverpool drew to a close on Sunday with Team GB’s Jessica Gadirova claiming an historic floor gold medal in front of a sell out crowd.

Nine action packed days of competition at the M&S Arena saw 14 world titles claimed and 79 medals presented as 75 different countries competed in the city.

With over 35,000 tickets sold and 18,500 visitors to the fan zone, the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG) president, Morinari Watanabe, declared the championships in Liverpool a roaring success and said it marked a new dawn for gymnastics.

“As you know, the Beatles created a new music scene. Liverpool World Championships turned gymnastics from sports to entertainment this time. It is the start of the new gymnastics scene,” Watanabe said.

A raucous Liverpool crowd had plenty to cheer about, as Great Britain surpassed their best-ever World’s medal haul set in Glasgow in 2015. An incredible six medals for Team GB came courtesy of the men’s and women’s teams (bronze and silver), Giarnni Regini-Moran claiming a superb gold on the Floor, Jessica Gadirova taking bronze in the individual all-around, Courtney Tulloch snatching bronze on rings before Gadirova made history with an incredible final day gold on Floor.

Both the men’s and women’s teams also achieved automatic qualification to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, the only nation to do so.

Broadcast by the BBC in the UK, more than 900,000 watched GB Men claw their way to a team bronze, and even higher viewing figures were reported over the closing weekend as 10 individual apparatus champions were crowned.

Praise for hosts Liverpool

Beth Tweddle MBE, Olympic medalist and ambassador for the World Gymnastics Championships, said: “I knew it was going to be special, but the results we’ve seen, the crowds, the noise, the party atmosphere, we really have had a show here in Liverpool and the city has really embraced the event. We knew the British team would get really great home support, but as soon as any athlete stepped onto the podium, the noise was so loud.”

Jessica Gadirova claimed an historic floor gold medal for Great Britain on the final day of the World Gymnastics Championship in Liverpool. Image: Alan Edwards

Claire Lewis, chair of the World Gymnastics Championships Liverpool 2022, said: “The last two weeks have been an incredible festival of gymnastics in the city. We are confident that this event will leave a legacy that inspires the city to continue the story of the championships, through local communities, schools, athletes, coaches, and the volunteer workforce.”

Liverpool’s cabinet member for culture and visitor economy, councillor Harry Doyle, said: “The World Gymnastics Championships 2022 has exceeded all our expectations. Audiences from across the world descended on the city and were treated to the most incredible, warm Liverpool welcome, and as always, the city really basked in that limelight as the competition was beamed out to a global audience.”

Championships set new standards in Liverpool

The Championships made the action more accessible and connected with more people than ever before. In a world first for the sport, Liverpool 2022 introduced the first ever use of British Sign Language on screen for the duration of the competition, receiving great acclaim from the deaf community.

Another first for a World Gymnastics Championships, the Fan Zone received more than 18,500 visits from both spectators and non-ticket holders across the nine days of competitive action.

Tying the entire Championships together was the 406-strong volunteer army, who between them clocked a total of 15,000 hours working.