Going for Gold: Gymnastic's Alice Kinsella and Joe Fraser on their Tokyo 2020 preparations

With the Olympics already under the microscope, there will be fewer disciplines that will be watched more closely than gymnastics.

After years of international and national scandals and bad press, the question is whether on the world's biggest stage, audiences fall back in love with a sport that has found itself under heavy scrutiny. 

British Gymnastics will be hoping for better headlines than those that covered accusations of bullying and also more recently, the exclusion of Nottingham's own Becky Downie. There won't be many other parts of Team GB competing under the same amount of pressure. 

As you might expect, being based in the Midlands, some of our athletes were in contention to make both the women's and men's teams.

Whilst Becky missing out perplexed many, Dom Cunningham can also count himself unfortunate.

Nevertheless, Joe Fraser from Birmingham and Alice Kinsella from Sutton Coldfield both made the cut having already achieved notable success.

Joe became the first GB athlete ever to win Gold at the World Championships on the parallel bars and Alice has two Golds from the Commonwealth Games and the European Championships at only 20 years old.

Birmingham's Joe Fraser will be competing in Tokyo 2020 later this month Credit: PA Images

I first spoke to Joe in March of 2020, just a couple of weeks before the first lockdown was announced. He was excited about the prospect of the Games later that year and hoped to make the team. If you ever meet Joe, he comes across as someone who is just happy to be there! But don't be fooled, It's a combination of hard work and natural talent that helps him succeed. 

At only 22 he has suffered injuries and setbacks, but the Birmingham born and bred star credits his family with helping him through the tough times.

He told me that making the team was as much for them as it was for him and that he wants to make them proud. 

This may be Joe's first Olympics but he's part of a team led by the experienced Max Whitlock who has become a household name.

Joe, like others in the team, have benefited from being around the double Rio 2016 Gold medallist. Speaking to Joe on the day it was officially announced he had made team GB, his smile went from ear to ear. You just know that even without spectators, family present and in difficult circumstances, he will still be loving every minute of it. 

Joe pictured with fellow Team GB star Max Whitlock Credit: PA Images

When the first lockdown came last year, Alice, like others, had to improvise. Training in her garden was the only way the gymnast could stay sharp and it is a good job she did! 

Alice Kinsella from Sutton Coldfield will also being flying the flag for the Midlands in Tokyo Credit: PA Images

When I interviewed her last summer we talked about how the delayed Games would be a curse for some athletes but a blessing for others. Even then, Alice was sure that the delay would help her mature and get stronger for when she had to fight for her place in Team GB.

She comes from fantastic sporting pedigree too- her Dad, Mark Kinsella is a former professional footballer playing for Charlton, Villa and West Brom who won over 40 caps for the Republic of Ireland.

Mark Kinsella at Charlton Athletic Football Clubs' celebration of The Valley stadium's 21st anniversary Credit: PA Images

Indeed, Alice said in her last interview with ITV Central that her Dad achieved his goals and it inspired her to do the same. 

Alice and Joe may have won medals already and whilst the Olympics may be the biggest stage yet for them, they are still only comparatively young and whatever happens in Tokyo will surely give them that extra bit of experience for Paris in just three years time. 

As ever in Gymnastics, expect fierce competition from Team USA, China and ROC (Russian athletes) but we will all be hoping that Joe and Alice's infectious enthusiasm rubs off on the rest of the team and turns into medals for them to bring home to the Midlands!