Steve Frew

Date: 20/05/2014

Steve Frew made history for Scotland in 2002 when he became the country's first ever gymnastics Commonwealth gold medallist. He now works as a broadcaster, mentor, and motivational speaker using his story to inspire others.

Eleven years ago, Steve Frew was crowned Commonwealth champion in front of a crowd of thousands at the 2002 Games in Manchester.

Becoming Scotland's first ever gymnastics gold medallist, was not only it an historic victory for the country, but a memory that Steve will cherish forever.

He said: "I had grown up in a working-class family in a small town so to go on to be a Commonwealth Games champion was the ultimate dream come true for me.

"By the time it got to 2002, I was actually competing in my fourth Games so I knew how amazing an event it was to be part of but nothing can compare to that special moment of winning gold, and reaching your true potential. It was definitely life-changing and the whole atmosphere was out of this world. I remember it as if it was yesterday."

As a young boy growing up in Grangemouth, Steve was always out playing in his estate - running, jumping and practicing cartwheels and handstands. On seeing his natural talent, his mum took him to a local gymnastics club where a five-year-old Steve quickly started to hone his talents.

He continued: "I was a very active child and used to drive my mum crazy running about all the time, so a gymnastics club seemed the ideal place for me to burn off some energy! I am so thankful that she made that decision for me as it gave me the stage on which to create my future, and I finally felt like I belonged somewhere.

"I trained at Grangemouth SportsmComplex for a few years before further advancing my skills at a club in Alloa. I remember being picked for the Scottish squad when I was eight and it was all really exciting. We used to go to Jordanhill College once a month for training, which for a small town working-class boy who had never been to a big city felt like the bright lights of New York! It was a great time."

Inspired by senior gymnasts in the Scottish squad and other sporting heroes, a determined Steve worked hard on his gym skills over the years that followed and in 1990 whilst still at Grangemouth High School, he was selected to represent his country at the Commonwealth Games in Auckland - the youngest member of Team Scotland.

Since then, Steve has competed in five Commonwealth Games and his personal legacy is to inspire more people to reach for their dreams.

He said: "The main thing I'd like to contribute from my achievements is to motivate and inspire more people, regardless of their circumstances in life. I believe everyone has the ability to just do that little bit more. I now travel up and down the country working as an athlete mentor, visiting schools and businesses to share my story and to inspire as many individuals as I can.

"I regularly visit my hometown of Grangemouth where my parents still live and hope I am able to give back some of what was given to me, everything I'm doing now is thanks to the strong community spirit I had growing up there so my legacy is very much the town's legacy too. After all, I'm just a normal guy who had a big dream.

I'm now really looking forward to the Commonwealth spirit coming to Scotland and I know we can emulate the amazing Games of the past, as well as use this opportunity to create a lasting legacy where employment, tourism and communities can all benefit. I hope people all across the country get behind the Games and make the most of the various opportunities to be part of it."

 

Photo credit: Getty Images