Five new gymnasts have been added to the GB senior squad for 2016, all have come from the junior ranks, and have represented Great Britain at junior level. In this fourth of five profiles, meet Teal Grindle.
Teal trains alongside fellow British Senior Gabby Jupp at Sapphire School of Gymnastics under coaches Steve and Annie Price.
Teal had the kind of start to her elite career that most young gymnasts would dream of. In the National Age Group Levels, she finished no lower than 4th at either compulsory or voluntary national finals, and in the combined results which decide the British Champion for each age group, Teal and Catherine Lyons traded the title between them over the three years they competed as levels gymnasts.
Teal’s results were as follows:
Level 4 Compulsory 4th
Level 4 Voluntary 1st
Overall British Championships 1st
Level 3 Compulsory 2nd
Level 3 Voluntary 2nd
Overall British Championships 2nd
Level 2 Compulsory 1st
Level 2 Voluntary 1st
Level 2 Overall British Championships 1st
In 2012 Teal moved into the Espoir ranks for the first time, placing 4th AA behind second year Espoirs Tyesha Mattis, Ellie Downie, and Amy Tinkler in the English Championships. Teal also took the floor title, and finished 4th on vault and beam.
At the British Championships Teal finished 7th AA, qualifying for the vault and floor finals which took place alongside the junior and senior gymnasts a couple of weeks later. Teal finished 4th on vault, and took the floor title with this lovely routine.
As a second year Espoir in 2013, Teal kicked off her year at the Australian Olympic Festival teaming up with Tyesha, Amy, and Catherine to take the team silver medal behind China. Individually Teal competed superbly to take the silver AA, and the gold on beam with a secure, poised, confident performance that was hugely encouraging for the future.
At the English Championships Teal placed 3rd AA, third on bars, and second on floor. At the first British Championships of the year (there were two in 2013) Teal placed 3rd AA, coming first on vault and beam, and second on bars and floor. At that time as Compulsory 1 was yet to be introduced, Espoirs were required to compete a Range and conditioning routine, Teal had a bad day on this event finishing 28th, which is what put her in third place overall. Without the R+C, Teal would have taken the British title by 1.4 marks.
Qualifying for three apparatus finals, a few weeks later Teal placed 7th on floor, 3rd on beam, and took the Espoir bars title.
Teal’s beam (with an upgraded dismount) and bars from Apparatus finals.
At the second British Championships of the year in December, Teal took the silver medal AA, then took medals in three of the four apparatus finals with bronze on bars, and silver on vault and floor with this routine.
To complete her Espoir Career, Teal headed to Arques with Kelly Simm for the Pas de Calais international. Combining with Kelly to take the team title, Teal won the AA by over five points, then in the apparatus finals against the senior gymnasts, Teal won the bronze on vault, silver on bars and floor, and took the title on beam. Unfortunately no video of this event, but excellent results.
Teal and Kelly taking the team title at the Pas de Calais
2014 saw Teal step into the Junior ranks. Again she got off to an excellent start with a 5th place finish at the English Championships, then took four medals at her first Junior British; silver AA, bronze on floor and bars, and gold on beam. It is worth noting that this junior generation of Amy, Tyesha, Ellie (born 1999), Teal, and Catherine (born 2000) were arguably the most talented British gymnastics had seen, to take four medals as one of the younger ones in the age group is an outstanding achievement.
Teal’s AA bars, and Apparatus finals winning beam routine
In April Teal travelled to Germany to take part in a four way international where she helped the team to the silver medal, this was of course a warm up for the biggest event for the juniors, the European Championships.
Part of the history making silver medal winning team, Teal competed on bars and beam in the Team Event, and made the beam final where she finished 4th behind AA champion Angelina Melinkova from Russia, Andreea Iridion from Romania who went on to become the 2015 European Games silver medalist as a senior, and the talented Tabea Alt from Germany.
When I asked Teal about her performance in the final, she had this to say:
Finals on beam did not go so well, it wasn’t my best routine I had done, I was so confident about it that I wasn’t even nervous, and nerves are good because they make you concentrate more! And it came up with 4th! I was disappointed with myself but at the time it was the best I could do!
I think it speaks volumes about Teal’s determination to be the absolute best she can be , that 4th in Europe wasn’t a satisfactory result to her. What mattered to her was completing her routine as well as she could have, an attitude every coach wants to see in their gymnasts.
Teal’s apparatus finals routine.
So having been one of the strongest gymnasts in the country since she was nine years old, Teal was set for another 18 months of junior success, with the opportunity for many more international assignments and medals. Only that wasn’t what happened, and Teal disappeared from competition completely. Injury kept her out for nearly 18 months, but she never lost her fight and determination to return, and finally did in September 2015. If you would like to read more about Teal’s back then shoulder injuries, and her recovery, you can read her interview on the blog here:
Teal returned to competition initially in September 2015 competing on vault, beam and floor at the Sapphire Invitational. She was then selected to represent Great Britain at the Olympic Hopes Cup in Liberec in December where she again competed on three pieces, and helped the team to the gold medal, placing second on beam.
Teal in Liberec with team mates Megan Parker, Alice Kinsella, Jolie Ruckley, Latalia Bevan, and Amelia Montague
Although not back to full difficulty just yet, what was apparent was that the quality is all there, the huge talent is there, the determination is there, and that this is one young gymnast that you know will be doing absolutely everything she can to recover completely and surpass her already outstanding achievements. Whether it comes quick enough to make a real run at Rio remains to be seen, and if not, I very much hope that Teal decides to continue into the next quad, as she could be a huge asset to the British Senior team over the next few years.
Good luck to Teal in her first year as a senior!