Double Olympic gold medallist Max Whitlock rolled into town this week – and he left behind the wheel of a golden car.
That is because Aylesbury Nissan gifted him the dazzling car to celebrate his stunning Rio success in becoming Team GB’s first ever gymnast to win Olympic gold.
The 23-year-old, who grew up in Hemel Hempstead, won two golds in the floor and pommel horse events and a bronze in the all-around competition.
He is still coming to terms with the historical achievement but has been blown away by the reaction.
“Even my driving instructor texted me when I was in Rio, to say congratulations,” said Whitlock, who passed his test first time and drives a Nissan Juke.
“I hadn’t heard from him since passing. But I’m definitely a car man. I don’t know the ins and outs of them but I like the appearance of a car.”
Whitlock said he first started swimming and was able to do butterfly aged just six. But ‘luckily’ a friend suggested he tried gymnastics.
And if he had not become a gymnast, he would like to be a designer. He said a ‘big passion’ of his is sketching new clothes and trainers.
Young gymnasts from Lynx Gym got the chance to meet the Olympic hero, who performed a routine for them at the Bicester Road showroom yesterday.
Gymnast Evie Gibson, 10, who lives in Bedgrove, hopes to be an Olympian herself one day. “She’s very excited to meet Max – and so am I,” said mum Sally. “He’s an inspiration to young people and he’s really raised the profile of gymnastics.”
Nissan sales director Paul Cockton, whose two daughters do gymnastics in Aylesbury, said: “Max has been a pleasure to work with. It’s great for the kids, and it gets the word out to show what Nissan is all about – supporting excellence.”