#SJA2022: The case for Jake Jarman

Ahead of the members vote for the Sports Journalists’ Association British Sports Awards, we asked members of the SJA Academy to make their case for contenders to win sportsman, sportswoman and team of the year. BEN PALMER with the case for breakthrough gymnastics star Jake Jarman.

At the start of the year you could be forgiven for never having heard of Jake Jarman but by the year’s end he had become the hottest property in British gymnastics.

At the Commonwealth Games this year, Jarman became the first English male gymnast to take four gold medals at a single Commonwealth Games and the first Englishman to win four gold medals at an event in 24 years.

The manner in which he won his medals may be even more impressive than medal count itself.

The “Yonekura” is considered to be the single most difficult vault a gymnast can attempt, a vault most dream about but never even contemplate trying.

A chasm of three and a half twists, a whirlwind of arrogance and defiance, a spectacle to behold and one that Jarman brought to the vault final having never attempted the move before the Games.

For many gymnasts, completing the Yonekura at a Commonwealth Games final to win gold would be the crowning achievement of their career, but at just 20 years of age it looks more likely to be the first jaw-dropping moment of a legendary career for Jarman.

As if his achievements at the Commonwealth Games weren’t impressive enough, the 20-year-old would then go on to win gold at the European Championships in Munich in both the team and vault events, becoming the first British male to win European gold on vault.

Born in 2001 in Peterborough, a young Jarman showed a keen interest in sports such as football and ice hockey before a chance encounter led him to gymnastics.

He said: “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.”

However, Jarman faced his first setback as he was only named a reserve for Great Britain’s Olympic squad, a moment that the young gymnast would only serve to make him hungrier for the success he craved.

Six gold and one bronze medal later Jarman has truly proven any doubters he had completely wrong.

Jarman continued his successful summer with a men’s team bronze medal in the World Championships in Liverpool. 

Despite failing to secure an individual medal, he was a respectable fifth place in the men’s all-around final.

Full members can vote here for their full choice.