Emotional Claudia Fragapane earns Commonwealth redemption with gymnastics team gold

Almost as quickly as Claudia Fragapane somersaulted her way onto the gymnastics stage as a precocious, record-breaking 16-year-old did her bubble appear to burst.

There were notable moments after her sudden breakthrough in 2014 when she became the first Englishwoman for 84 years to win four gold medals at the same Commonwealth Games, including a couple of world bronze medals and a fourth-place finish on Strictly Come Dancing.

Nonetheless, there remained a sense of a talent cruelly robbed of ultimate fulfillment by career-threatening injuries that forced her to miss countless competitions. That feeling will likely endure in spite of winning Commonwealth team gold for England in Birmingham on Saturday night.

But after five long years without making an international podium, there was an overwhelming sense of redemption. Aged 24, retirement cannot be too far off, although despite a sense of finality in her tearful waved farewell to the crowd, she suggested this was not yet a firm goodbye.

“It’s hard to let go,” she said. “I was very emotional, crying all the time. I haven’t competed in a team competition since 2016, so it’s been quite a few years. I’ve had so many major injuries, so to actually get back and just say I’ve done it again in a team is exciting.

“One hundred per cent I won’t be going to the next Commonwealth Games, but I’ll be trying some other competitions. One step at a time. We’ll see how it goes.”

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