Jake Jarman: How gymnastic sensation went from local parks to quadruple Commonwealth champion

Jake Jarman with one of his gold medals from the Commonwealth Games.
Jake Jarman with one of his gold medals from the Commonwealth Games. Credit: PA

A week ago, not many people outside the gymnastic bubble would have heard of Jake Jarman.

Now, he's one of the hottest properties in British sport.

The 20-year-old has become a household name after his extraordinary exploits for Team England at Birmingham 2022, winning four gold medals to become the most successful English male gymnast at a single Commonwealth Games.

It marks an incredible rise for Jarman who may not have even taken up gymnastics had things turned out differently.

Growing up in Peterborough, Jarman tried his hand at a whole host of other sports - including football and ice hockey.

Jake Jarman wowed the crowds in Birmingham. Credit: PA

In fact, it's believed local ice hockey team the Peterborough Phantoms were very impressed with Jarman's potential when he turned up for a training session.

However, it was a chance meeting in a Peterborough park that would ultimately lead to him focusing on gymnastics, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Jarman told ITV News: "My memory is pretty hazy because I was so young, but from what my mum told me, when I was at my local park, on the monkey bars, doing my thing, one of the local coaches approached my mum and said: 'You should take your son to gymnastics.'

"It kind of just progressed from there. I've always had a natural love for physical activity and I've always had a place in my heart for gymnastics from then on."

Louis Smith was a big influence on Jarman when he was growing up. Credit: PA

Jarman would eventually go on to join the prestigious Huntingdon Gymnastics Club which played a key role in fine-tuning his natural talent.

The club has a reputation for producing world class athletes, with double Olympic silver medallist Louis Smith having also learnt his craft there.

"I used to look up to him (Smith), watching him doing his pommel routines," Jarman said.

"Especially back in 2012. We watched that competition on a huge projector in the gym. To actually watch him do so well in the biggest competition, it's really inspiring to see, and I hope that I can do the same for younger generations."

  • Watch an extended interview with Jake Jarman

However, it hasn't always been plain sailing for Jarman.

He was named a reserve for Team GB gymnastics squad which headed to the Tokyo Olympics last year, an experience he said made him "hungry" to improve further.

That has led to him working all hours in his home gym back in Huntingdon, and his persistence and dedication has now be rewarded in a way that even he never imagined would have been possible.

Jarman's dream Commonwealth Games debut

What medals did he win?

- Team - Gold

- All-around- Gold

- Floor - Gold

- Vault - Gold

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In all likelihood, his life will never be the same again, but despite his new found fame, Jarman will never forget his roots.

"I've lived in Peterborough for most of my life," he said.

"As much as I love my home city, I'm literally in Huntingdon training in that gym all day.

"Coming from Peterborough, my whole family living there, it's quite special because it feels like a smaller community than it actually is."

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