Olympics hero Max Whitlock ‘can’t wait’ for family reunion

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Olympic hero Max Whitlock on Monday said he cannot wait to be reunited with his family — and is bringing home another gold medal for daughter Willow “to play with”.

The gymnast, 28, had been worried the two-year-old would rather watch her favourite cartoon Paw Patrol than Sunday’s thrilling routine on the pommel horse at Tokyo 2020.

But wife Leah posted a video on social media of the toddler beaming as family members punched the air 6,000 miles away in Essex.

Whitlock became the first British gymnast to defend an Olympic title and now has six medals from three Games, including three golds — equalling greats like Sir Bradley Wiggins, Sir Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny.

Speaking on Monday morning, he said: “Willow’s seen me on TV, she been watching. She does gymnastics herself.

“I cannot believe I’ve got another gold medal for her to play with.

“Because I’m double-jabbed, I’ll be able to go home straight away and spend time with my family, the people who got me to this point.”

The star said Willow was his motivation for winning gold and her birth “put a lot of perspective in my life”.

Shortly before his win, his wife shared a photo of their daughter ready to watch her father compete on TV.

In an interview, Willow sent the message: “See you soon… well done Dad.” Whitlock added: “Leah could tell I was massively nervous before the Games but family makes me 10 times more chilled. She just said, ‘It’s only gymnastics’.”

He said his wife was planning a home-coming party, which they did not discuss in case it brought bad luck.

On Monday she tweeted: “Now hurry home, we can’t wait to see you!!!

His mother Madeleine described him as “my champion” and said watching was “really emotional”.

“You cannot put into words how I feel about him and I just want to give him a hug and just tell him that we’re just so proud of him,” she said.

She described how the family “all screamed” after he made the landing on his gold medal-winning routine.

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