RHYS McClenaghan caused a stir at the European Championships in Glasgow yesterday when he outstripped a high-caliber field in the men's final at Pauschenplatz to secure Ireland's first gold medal in European history.
The Newtonards teenager finished in 14th place in the world rankings in Montreal last year, but his fortune has grown dramatically since his close victory at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast with a thoroughly dominant stance in Glasgow.
McClenaghan was ahead of the Croatian Robert Seligman and the Slovenian Saso Beroncelj and Brian's double Olympic champion Max Whitlock, whom he had also defeated at the Commonwealth in Australia.
"It's unbelievable to be crowned European champion," said McClenaghan, whose gold was Ireland's first medal of all colors in European gymnastics competition.
"It was a dream to be with so many great names in this finale to which I've risen since my gymnastics.
"The world is the next big goal, I said after the Commonwealth Games that it's my goal to get that world title, and I meant it that way, I'm going to Doha with the intention of winning that gold medal . "
Double Olympic gold medalist Whitlock had hoped to be beaten at the McClenaghan Gold Coast Commonwealth Games but had to resume his routine after an uncharacteristic mistake.
Whitlock, who was stranded on the spot on the spot, scored 14.0, which at least prevented the shame of the last eight competitors, but the 19-year-old McClenaghan was in a class of his own, as he increased his leadership qualification scored with 15.3.
Instead, British gold came in the unlikely form of Dominick Cunningham, whose impeccable floor routine scored 14,666 and earned him the title of established name, including Russia's Artur Dalaloyan and Artem Dolgopyat of Israel.
More than a vault specialist, Birmingham Cunningham expressed his sympathy for Whitlock, with whom he has been closely associated ever since joining the elite GB team.
"Max put so much pressure on him," Cunningham said.
"He never had so much pressure except Louis [Smith] grow up. It kills him and maybe you can see that. "
On the big occasion, not least at the first World Cup in the same Hydro Arena in 2015 and his two Olympic triumphs in Rio, Whitlock often seemed a bit nervous as he tried to recover somewhat from Tokyo 2020.
But the 23-year-old continues to cut off a figure that is anything but frustrated, trusting in the long road to defend his Olympic crown and deny the pressure of external influences.
"It's just one of those days and hopefully there will not be many," said Whitlock, who also missed an element in qualifying and did not manage to reach the bottom final won by Cunningham.
"I know people will look at it as if I went to the Commonwealths and did not get what I want, and I made a mistake here, but the second half of my routine was one of the cleanest with them I've ever competed a new skill.
"I'm not going to think about it, I'm in for the long journey, I'm hoping to go to two more Olympics and many more big championships, I'll use that as motivation and move on to the next one." on."
Courtney Tulloch won a bronze medal for the United Kingdom in the men's championship behind world and Olympic champion Eleftherios Petrounias of Greece and Turkish Ibrahim Colak.