Rasen’s Special Olympian retires from gold-winning career

Gymnast Andrew McLaughlin powering his way to a  bronze medal on the rings at the Summer Games in Sheffield EMN-170814-225337001
Gymnast Andrew McLaughlin powering his way to a bronze medal on the rings at the Summer Games in Sheffield EMN-170814-225337001

Middle Rasen gymnast Andrew McLaughlin has announced his retirement after a golden career in the sport.

The 32-year-old with additional learning needs rounded off his successful 17-year career with another medal-winning performance.

Andrew McLaughlin with his medal haul EMN-170814-225349001

Andrew McLaughlin with his medal haul EMN-170814-225349001

Andrew was representing Yorkshire and Humberside in the Artistic Gymnastics event at the Special Olympics GB National Summer Games in Sheffield.

Held every four years, this was Andrew’s fourth national games and he achieved a gold for parallel bars, a silver on pommel and a bronze on rings.

“We are all bursting with pride at what he has achieved,” said Andrew’s mum Helen.

Initially, Andrew trained in Crewe, Cheshire, with a disabilities gymnastics club and latterly at Lincoln Gymnastics Club and City of Hull Special Olympics Club.

Andrew McLaughlin on the winners' podium EMN-170814-225325001

Andrew McLaughlin on the winners' podium EMN-170814-225325001

At the 2013 National Games, Andrew came away with a haul of medals - silver on vault and parallel bars, together with golds on high bar, pommel, floor and rings, which earned him the overall gold.

Then, in 2014 Andrew was picked to represent Great Britain at the Special Olympic World Games in Los Angeles the following year.

In his first major international tournament, Andrew competed on six pieces of apparatus and secured podium positions in five of them.

There was bronze in the vault and parallel bars and silver for the rings and his floor routine.

But it was his outstanding achievement on the horizontal bars which saw him pip his competitors to the post to guarantee gold.

To round the medal haul off, Andrew came third overall to secure All Round bronze.

“He loved his time in Los Angeles and was excited to meet people from all over the world,” added Helen.

“It has been an amazing journey supporting Drew along the way.

“A special thank you goes to his coach Michael Roberts, from Lincoln Gymnastics Club, for all his patience, encouragement and support.”