In their last event in Tokyo 2020, Aylesbury’s amazing twin gymnasts Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova showed off their skills in the Olympic floor exercise final on Monday.
Having already won team bronze as half of Great Britain’s quartet, they had both qualified among the top eight gymnasts competing for the floor medals.
Jessica – the current European Champion – was sixth with a score of 14.000 (5.6 difficulty and 8.4 execution) and Jennifer – who until American legend Simone Biles withdrew from the event on Sunday had been first reserve – was seventh with a score of 13.233 (5.1 difficulty and 8.133 execution).
The 16-year-olds, who finished their GCSEs at Aylesbury Vale Academy earlier this summer, are coached by Joshua and Molly Richardson at Aylesbury Gymnastics Academy. Josh has been in Tokyo supporting them throughout.
Back in the gym at home, Molly has been keeping in daily contact and nervously watching their performances on television.
“It’s been an absolute whirlwind to say the least – crazy times,” said the coach, who has been working with the girls for about four years.
“My mum came over and we watched their floor final together – and it’s the most excited I have been so far. The floor is their strongest event along with the vault. They have such beautiful artistry and power.
“I knew they would both give the performance of their life. I spoke to them and texted before, just reminding them this is their last performance in Tokyo, just go out and enjoy it and soak it all up.
“I can’t even begin to put into words how proud I am. I can’t wait to wrap my arms around them when they come home!
“I think them being twins – and Josh and I being siblings too, the bond we have between us is very special.
“How they both performed was the best they could have done. I could tell, especially in Jess’ performance, they were enjoying it, smiling all the way through. They were really captivating.
“I couldn’t have asked for more. They are only starting out, so there’s lots of room for them to grow and to add more difficulty.
“My phone has been going non-stop, it’s all very exciting and we can’t wait to see what the future leads to. It’s kept us motivated and thriving towards the next Olympics in Paris 2024.
”I’ve been in contact with them all the way through, with FaceTime and texts. I always send them messages so they know I’m here to give them support and confidence. They were so excited to show me their medals - they are literally having the time of their life out there.”
With Great Britain having qualified sixth for the team event, the bronze medal might have been a surprise to many, but seeing the girls on the podium was just an incredible moment for those who know them.
“They fully deserved it,” added Molly.
“As a group they had knitted so well and are such hard workers with the deepest passion.
“We are going to have a welcome home party for them and they’ll have some time to rest and recover.
“We’ll keep their fitness going, but they’ll have a little bit of downtime – and then we’ll start working towards the next cycle for Paris!”