Woman gymnast performing on the beam
Image by Simone Ferraro

Liverpool 2022 starts the new world gymnastics scene

THE Liverpool-hosted World Gymnastics Championships has been hailed a massive success as nine days of competition came to a close yesterday (Sunday 6 November).

Over 35,000 tickets were sold for the event which was held at the M&S Bank Arena and saw the final weekend sold out. It was the first time that spectators had been at the event since 2019.

And the home crowd had plenty to cheer about. Great Britain surpassed their best-ever World’s medal haul set in Glasgow in 2015 with an incredible six medals including a silver for the women’s team and a bronze for the men’s team which means Great Britain is the only nation where both teams have achieved automatic qualification for the 2024 Olympics.

At-home viewing figures have also been impressive with 900,000 people watching the men’s team win their bronze medal.

Off the competition floor, these 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.

There were also more than 18,500 visits to the fan zone, including by 1,500 young people from 37 schools, which offered a variety of free have-a-go activities.

Tying the entire Championships together was the 406-strong volunteer army, aged from 18-85 years old, who clocked up a total of 15,000 hours working across 30 different roles, speaking 34 languages between them!

FIG President, Morinari Watanabe said: “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.”

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.

“I’m so proud of our Culture and Marketing Liverpool teams and what they have delivered in partnership with British Gymnastics and UK Sport – the passion, excitement and energy was clear from the outset and initial feedback from gymnasts and visitors has been overwhelmingly positive. Well done to everyone involved on this huge success.”

Ben Williams, Commercial Director of The ACC Liverpool Group – operator of the M&S Bank Arena – and a member of the Local Organising Committee, said: “We are honoured to host this global ​championship and welcome tens of thousands of gymnastics fans to our campus to see the world’s leading athletes in action.

“This phenomenal event was a culmination of the city working in collaboration with UK Sport, British Gymnastics and the International Gymnastics Federation from first submitting the bid in 2017 to holding a world-class Championships. It was a prime example of our prowess in delivering major international events as we mark six months until we host Eurovision 2023.”

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 and I would like to thank the FIG for allowing Liverpool to host their flagship event. I would also like to thank all the event partners, Liverpool City Council, British Gymnastics and UK Sport who have worked so well together to deliver the 51st World Championships despite the constraints of the global pandemic, and to attain the high bar we set for ourselves.

“Closer to home 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.”

The event will be held in Antwerp next year.

Liverpool Waterfront