Sports desk: Go big or go huge – it’s Chris Remkes’ favourite mantra and one the inspired 147cm pocket rocket lived out on Monday as he claimed the first of two Commonwealth Games gymnastics gold medals for the home nation, reports Sydney Morning Herald.
Cheered on by a sellout crowd at Coomera Indoor Sports Centre, the 21-year-old posted an average score of 14.79 across his two routines in the individual vault to edge out English duo Courtney Tulloch (14.66) and top-ranked qualifier Dominick Cunningham (14.33).
It is the first men’s vault gold for an Australian since Bret Hudson at the 1994 Games.
Melbourne’s Alexandra Eade joined the party soon after, delivering a dazzling, high-energy routine to claim a surprise victory in the floor event ahead of Canadian vault champion Shallon Olsen and Welsh teenager Latalia Bevan.
“I was (qualified) equal-third, and I thought ‘oh maybe I’ll get fourth, that’ll be a bit annoying’ … to walk away with gold, I can’t even describe it,” the 20-year-old said.
Ranked third in qualifying, Remkes showed poise under pressure to nail both vaults.
The South Australian has practised mindfulness as part of his training and was spurred on by the mental image of standing atop the podium.
“I was visualising trying to land my vaults and stick it if possible but going up on the podium (as well), absolutely,” he said.
“It’s just an unreal feeling. All my preparation, all my hard work led to this.”
Remkes had to endure a nervous wait with rings gold medallist Tulloch and Cunningham the final two competitors.
Cunningham had posted the top score of 14.95 in qualifying but was penalised on Monday for a wayward landing on his first vault.
Remkes’ victory over his highly-rated English rivals is a major triumph for an Australian men’s group that failed to win a gold medal at the Glasgow Games.
Australia’s men finished fifth in the team competition on the Gold Coast, while Remkes went sixth in the pommel horse final.
A night out on the town awaits Remkes, who hopes his friends back home in Adelaide will also be celebrating.
“My favourite quote of all time: ‘Go big or go huge’,” he said.
Georgia-Rose Brown added to Australia’s success by claiming silver in the balance beam behind 17-year-old Alice Kinsella.
Cypriot surprise packet Marios Georgiou meanwhile continued his breakout Games with gold in the parallel bars, edging out England’s all-around champion Nile Wilson.
Georgiou also triumphed in Sunday’s floor final, becoming just the third Cypriot to win gymnastics gold at the Commonwealth Games.
Wilson closed out the day with a commanding victory on the horizontal bar – England’s sixth gymnastics gold medal at the Games.