Gymnastics golden boy Jake Jarman, who trained at Huntingdon Gymnastics Club, insists he is ready for his newfound mental strength to meet its ultimate test – an Olympic Games.

Jarman, 21, raised expectations ahead of his Olympic debut by making history at Birmingham 2022 as the first English athlete in 24 years to win four golds at a single Commonwealth Games.

The star’s Midlands medal haul sparked more than just national acclaim, as he harnessed a growing sense of self-belief in time for pursuit of more perfection in Paris with exactly one year to go.

“I always used to go into competitions with the mindset of ‘if you do well then great, if not that’s a shame’,” said Jarman.

“At the Commonwealth Games I had a self-talk when I was competing. It was, ‘come on, you can do this, you’ve practiced for this, you don’t need to worry or stress.’

“That self-talk has really helped me perform to the standard that I have.

“If I was to look back at my performances from 2019 and 2020, although I did well, it’s nothing compared to the level I was at during the Commonwealths, Europeans and World Championships.

“Looking back gives me a lot of motivation when working towards my ultimate goal, which is going to an Olympics and hopefully winning a medal.”

Jarman points to the team bronze won at last year’s World Championships in Liverpool as the shining example of an occasion where he thrived having previously wilted.

While the spotlight that comes with an Olympics represents an altogether different challenge, Jarman is determined to enjoy every moment after an eye-opening yet frustrating expedition to Tokyo as a travelling reserve.

“The main thing I take away is how close I was to being part of the team,” recalled Jarman, who was mostly isolated from the rest of the team due to strict Covid-19 regulations.

“If anyone caught Covid I was in and would have been expected to perform. I was that close to competing at an Olympics and it made me immensely hungry to make sure I’m part of the team and I’m still working hard towards achieving that.

“It’s pressure and keeping that high does help. It sounds counterintuitive having pressure and stress, but you need that to stay level-headed.”