Welcome home! Sheffield’s Bryony Page returning today after claiming second Olympic medal at Tokyo Games
Sheffield’s Bryony Page is due to return home today after claiming her second Olympic medal on the bounce with bronze in the women’s trampoline event.
The 30-year-old, who lives in Crookes and trains at Graves Health and Leisure Centre – having started trampolining aged just nine – scored 55.735 to finish behind Chinese pair Zhu Xueying and Liu Lingling.
It follows her surprise silver in Rio in 2016, when she became the first Team GB trampolinist to win an Olympic medal.
She is also the first person from the Steel City to take home a medal at this summer’s Games.
“I can’t quite believe it still," University of Sheffield biology graduate Page said. “The day went painfully slow and painfully quick at the same time.
“I’m extremely happy and relieved, I can’t believe I’ve got a second Olympic medal, it’s amazing.”
Page has fought through a two-year injury ordeal since her since her success at Rio – and battled a crisis of confidence.
Page added: "My foot is still not fully healed but I don’t notice it unless I’m stood on a hard surface for a long time, which luckily isn’t a problem with trampoline.
"The first surgery didn’t solve the injury so I had to go in again and I was out for two years. My second surgery caused of bit of nerve damage and that put some doubt in my mind about whether I could get back on the trampoline.
"I'm just grateful to be back doing what I love, getting back to the standard I was in Rio and then pushing on. I might not have shown my very best but it was the best I could have done.
"I can’t believe I’ve got a second Olympic medal, it's a moment of pure joy really."
Her coach, Paul Greaves, told The Star: “I’m just immensely proud, I feel amazing, honest, because, you know how much the athletes give.
"When she was injured she would come into every training session and bounce on her back – because she couldn’t bounce on her foot – just to try and stimulate something, which shows how dedicated she is.
"A lot of athletes might have thought after winning a medal initially and having to turn up to the gym six times a week and training: ‘well, I’ll take the medal and enjoy other aspects of life’. But Bryony loves all aspects of the sport – I think that’s what keeps her going.”
Page has been working with Greaves, who is also a senior lecturer in sport and physical activity at Sheffield Hallam University, since 2010.
In that time she has won three successive British Championship titles and team gold at the 2013 World Championships.
“I was doing BBC 5 Live commentary and I don’t know how I held it together,” Greaves added.
"It’s just a little bit surreal and amazing, absolutely amazing.
"I feel emotionally proud because of the difficulties we have had to overcome in the past year alone with the restrictions and training being taken away from us for a few months.
"We were so thankful we were allowed back to training at the start of June last year, without that she wouldn’t have got the medal today.”
The pair have kept in touch “almost every day” while Page has been in Tokyo.
"She’s had a really happy experience out there even before winning the medal,” said Greaves.
"While it’s been a very different games they have made it as special for the athletes as they possibly could.”
Page is due to travel back to the UK on Monday and while there aren't many gymnasts still earning podium spots in their thirties, she has no intention of quitting.
The World Championships later this year is her next target.
"I just love this sport, it feels like you are flying," she said.
"I love bouncing high and being able to spin fast and twist, and when I do the skills how I want them to be it feels amazing, almost like driving your own rollercoaster."
Page qualified for the final at the Ariake Arena in third place after her two routines – thanks to a little help from her lucky dinosaur lunchbox, which she brought with her to the competition.
She led with the two Chinese athletes still to go but a pair of strong routines ensured the Briton had to be content with bronze.
Zhu is ranked as the world number two behind Liu, while Page, who was brought up in Cheshire, is sixth.
Greaves said: "I feel absolutely incredible. To get to go to a second Games is an amazing achievement anyway. I think it’s phenomenal that she’s done that.
“We just want to see the sport grow and with opportunities like this and winning a medal, we don’t know who the future medallists are going to be.
"It could be a person watching it on the TV or listening on the radio. We would love to see the sport of trampolining grow and more people take part in a sport where you feel like you’re flying.”
Page earned a sports scholarship while studying in Sheffield and graduated in 2015.
Staff at Sport Sheffield, the sporting facility attached to the university, were ‘glued to the TV’ from 5am to watch her in the final.
Greg Unwin from Sport Sheffield said: “All of us are extremely proud of Bryony's achievements over the past 24 hours.
"Bryony is extremely dedicated to her sport and is an absolute inspiration to those involved in The University of Sheffield Trampoline Club.
"We look forward to seeing her come back to Sport Sheffield to show off her second Olympic medal.”
At least three more Sheffield-based athletes will be bringing back medals from Tokyo after boxers Karriss Artingstall, Ben Whittaker and Pat McCormack, who all train at the English Institute of Sport, won their respective quarter-final fights to ensure they leave Tokyo with nothing less than a bronze medal each.