Max Whitlock looks forward to a home Commonwealth Games

Double Olympic champion Max Whitlock won his gold medals on two different continents but he is not a huge fan of travelling the world – so is looking forward to a home Commonwealth Games next year.

The 28-year-old gymnast returned from Tokyo having repeated his Rio 2016 triumph on the pommel horse but admits after spending so much time with his family – wife Leah and two-year-old daughter Willow – during the pandemic the effects of a trip to the Far East were heightened.

It is partly why the prospect of competing in Birmingham next summer is so appealing.

Max Whitlock poses in front of the Library of Birmingham
Whitlock is looking forward to a multi-sport event on home soil (Jacob King/PA)

“I’ve always been someone who has struggled with going away and with the last year and a half, the time we have all had being stuck at home, this time is no different,” he told the PA news agency.

“(It’s) even more heightened in a sense because we have had that time at home and been used to it.

“Travelling was hard, I miss my family, I miss Willow loads. I was FaceTiming every day but it is not the same.”

Whitlock will not have the same problems when the Commonwealths come around and, unlike the Olympics, it will be in front of fans with the national ticket ballot opening on Wednesday.

“We are massively looking forward to it,” he added.

“We’ve missed sporting events for a very long time so this is is a chance to get close to the action and see it live in the flesh.

Olympic gymnast Max Whitlock poses in front of a bull statue at the Birmingham Bullring
Whitlock’s gold medal in Tokyo made him the most successful pommel horse gymnast in history (Jacob King/PA)

“The Commonwealth Games is one of those huge ones, it’s a key competition in the calendar for every single athlete.

“It is a multi-sport event so it brings a whole new atmosphere, seeing different athletes and other sporting events going on at the same time.

“It’s crazy and an experience people will not want to miss and if you can get close to it now, grab it, because you don’t get a home Games very often.”

More than one million tickets priced £22 or less are available in the ballot, which runs until September 30, for the biggest multi-sport event to be held in the UK since the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.