Max Antony Whitlock MBE (born 13 January 1993) is a British artistic gymnast. He is a five-time Olympic medalist (all around, team, floor exercise and twice on pommel horse), winning two golds and three bronzes, and a five-time world medalist on the same apparatus with one gold and four silvers. He became Britain's first ever gold medalist in artistic gymnastics when he won both the men's floor and pommel horse exercises at the 2016 Summer Olympics. With ten medals and three titles in Olympic and world championships, Whitlock is the most successful gymnast in his nation's history.
Whitlock came to prominence when he won the bronze medal at pommel horse at the 2012 Summer Olympics and the silver on the apparatus at the 2013 World Championships. He has been European champion on both floor and pommel horse, and won the floor and all-around individual title at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. In 2014, Whitlock won the silver medal in the all-around competition at the 2014 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, matching Daniel Keatings for the best performance in a World all-around competition by a British gymnast. At the 2015 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Glasgow, Scotland, Whitlock became the first British man ever to win a World Championship gold medal, with a score of 16.133 on the pommel horse.
On 12 July 2016, Whitlock was selected for Great Britain's 2016 Olympic gymnastic team. During the Games, he first won a bronze medal in the all-round gymnastics event, which is Great Britain's first medal in this Olympic event for 108 years. Days later he won the gold medals in the Men's Floor and Men's Pommel Horse events, becoming his country's most successful Olympic gymnast, and its first Olympic champion in Gymnastics.
Whitlock was born in Hemel Hempstead on 13 January 1993. He was introduced to gymnastics by a friend from a swimming club when he was seven, and joined the Sapphire School of Gymnastics in Hemel Hempstead. When he was twelve, his coach returned to Slovenia, and Whitlock followed him to Maribor to continue training. He returned three months later and joined South Essex Gymnastics Club in Basildon where he is currently coached by Scott Hann. He attended Longdean School in Hemel Hempstead.
He won gold on pommel horse and floor and was placed second all-around at the 2010 Junior European Championships held in Birmingham.
In October 2010 he was part of the team which won the silver medal for England in the gymnastics in the men's artistic all-around team event at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. He also won the silver medal in the men's pommel horse and a bronze medal in the men's horizontal bar at the same games.
He was an alternative for the British men's team at the 2011 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Tokyo, Japan.
In 2012, he helped the British men's team qualify to the 2012 Summer Olympics in second place at the London Prepares Olympic test event giving clean routines on all six events, and scoring the highest on pommel horse beating his teammate Louis Smith. He went on to win a bronze medal in the Pommel Horse final behind Louis Smith beating world silver medallist Cyril Tommasone.
In May, he was part of the team that won Gold in the European Championships in Montpellier. This was the first time the British men's team had won a Team Gold, beating both Russia and Romania. He also qualified for the Pommel Horse final, where he finished in 6th place.
2012 Summer Olympics
Whitlock was a member of Britain's gymnastics team at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, where he helped the team claim a bronze medal at the team final on 30 July 2012 at the North Greenwich Arena. This was the first time the men's team had won a medal since 1912. He also claimed the bronze medal in the pommel event final, once again beating the 2011 world silver medallist, Cyril Tommasone, with a score of 15.600, with Hungary's Krisztián Berki taking gold with the same score as Whitlock's GB team mate Louis Smith, but winning the gold on account of a higher execution rating.
Whitlock competed at the 2013 European Championships on 19 April 2013. Whitlock won a medal of each colour: a silver medal in the individual all-around competition, with a total score of 89.106 points behind Russian gold medalist David Belyavskiy, a gold medal in the floor exercise with 15.333, and a bronze medal in the pommel horse with 15.500.
Between 19–25 May 2014, at the 2014 European Championships in Sofia. Whitlock, with his four Great Britain teammates, took Team silver medal behind Russia with a total score of 262.087 points. In event finals, Whitlock won the gold medal in pommel horse (16.166) ahead of 2012 Olympic champion Krisztián Berki.
At the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Whitlock, with his four England teammates, took Team gold with a score of 266.804 points. In the artistic individual all-around, Whitlock won the gold medal with a score of 90.631 points. Whitlock won his third gold in the Men's Floor final with a score of 15.533. He took silver in the Pommel Horse final with a score of 15.966 and bronze in the parallel bars final.
Whitlock was chosen to compete for Great Britain at 2014 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Nanning, China. He had a difficult time in qualifications, with a fall on Floor Exercise and costly errors on Pommel Horse. He did not qualify for any of the individual finals, including the All Around due to the two per country rule as he qualified behind teammates Daniel Purvis and Nile Wilson. After the team competition, Wilson pulled out of the All Around competition due to a wrist injury, allowing Whitlock to replace him in the final. He won the silver medal with a score of 90.473, just under a point and a half behind Kohei Uchimura who scored 91.965 to win his fifth World All-Around Championship.
Whitlock competed at the English Championships in March as the defending AA champion. He won gold on pommel horse with a score of 16.4, but struggled significantly on the other events and did not compete on vault, his last event. Due to illness, he only competed on pommel horse at the British Championships, where he won the silver medal behind Louis Smith. After the competition Whitlock was found to have been suffering from glandular fever. Despite this, Whitlock was chosen to compete at the European Championships in Montpellier on the floor and pommel horse. However he did not qualify for any event finals.
After the Championships, his coach announced Whitlock would take a break from training to recover, during which he also cancelled any public appearances and stopped using social media. In May, Whitlock announced on his Twitter he had returned to training.
Whitlock competed as part of the British men's team for the 2015 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Glasgow, Scotland. After some minor mistakes in the qualification rounds, he tied for a place in the final with teammate Nile Wilson, but with the tiebreaker rules applied, Max won the place to the individual all-around final. The men's team, which included team captain Kristian Thomas, Daniel Purvis, Louis Smith, Brinn Bevan, Nile Wilson and alternate James Hall, became the first British men's team to win a medal in the all-around team competition at a World Championships, winning a silver behind Japan. Whitlock and Purvis competed well in the Individual All-Round final. A fall on the High Bar kept Whitlock out of the medals, but he finished strongly on the Floor to gain a place in the top 8. He also posted the highest score on the pommel horse out of all the competitors - 16.100. On 31 October Whitlock competed in the Floor and pommel horse finals. He won the silver medal on floor behind world champion Kenzo Shirai, and later in the afternoon became the first British man ever to win a World Championship gold medal, with a score of 16.133 on the pommel horse. His teammate Louis Smith won the silver medal with a score of 16.033.
Whitlock competed at the Glasgow World Cup on 12 March 2016. He won the all around with 89.299. Whitlock gained the highest scores of the competition on floor and pommel horse, and came second on vault and high bar.
On 12 July 2016, Whitlock was selected for Great Britain's 2016 Olympic gymnastic team, along with Louis Smith, Nile Wilson, Kristian Thomas and Brinn Bevan. He won a bronze medal in the all-round gymnastics event, Great Britain's first in this Olympic event for 108 years. He later went on to win the gold in the individual floor exercise, becoming the first British gymnast to win an individual gold. Within two hours he won a second gold in the individual pommel horse.
Whitlock was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2017 New Year Honours, for services to Gymnastics.