Hannah Kate Whelan
Hannah's gymnastic journey began in Stockport, where she discovered her passion for the sport aged just 6-years-old.
Recognising her talent early on, she started training at South Manchester Gymnastics Club under coach Helen Hall. Later, she switched gyms and trained at the City of Liverpool Gymnastics Club alongside Britain’s most successful gymnast (and fellow LJMU alum) Beth Tweddle, who provided invaluable support and guidance to Hannah throughout her journey.
Hannah competed at both the 2008 and 2012 summer Olympic Games and later went on to win a gold medal in the team event and a bronze medal in the all-around event at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Despite her rigorous training schedule, Hannah was able to balance her studies as a teenager, successfully passing eight GCSEs and her A-level exams. In 2010, at the height of her gymnastics career, Hannah also enrolled to study sports development at LJMU, knowing how important it would be to have a focus away from the gym.
She was supported through her studies at LJMU as a sports scholar, ensuring that she could still compete at the highest levels, while also gaining her degree.
In 2015 she graduated from the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, and it was also during this year that she retired from competitive gymnastics.
But her retirement didn’t mean the end of her sporting career, and coupled with the knowledge gained from her degree, she has remained an active gymnastics community member, contributing locally and nationally.
Hannah is the Assistant Head Coach at Warrington Gymnastics Club, a position she’s held since 2015. The club, a voluntary non-profit organisation accredited by British Gymnastics, provides high-quality gymnastic and fitness activities for individuals of all ages and abilities.
“With over 1,200 members, we offers classes to boys, girls and adults, catering to diverse abilities and interests. Our focus on skill progression, confidence-building and talent identification through a squad system has produced outstanding gymnasts, making the club home to some of the country's best,” explains Hannah.
Hannah's contributions to the gymnastics community also extend beyond coaching. The annual Hannah Whelan Invitational Competition, hosted by Warrington Gymnastics Club since 2022, provides a platform for young talents to showcase their skills and highlights Hannah’s dedication and positive impact on the sport.
“I’m so proud of all the Warrington Gymnastics Club staff, coaches, gymnasts and volunteers and I’m grateful and honoured to have a competition named after me.”
– Hannah Whelan
Hannah also believes that sport is an ideal foundation for all other physical activities and at Warrington Gymnastics Club she works alongside fellow coaches to foster an environment that encourages active and healthy lifestyles, emphasising balance, agility, coordination, flexibility and strength, not just competitive sport.
Hannah’s dedication to both her career as an athlete and now as a coach, showcases her unwavering commitment to nurturing talent and empowering aspiring gymnasts to reach their full potential, much like we strive to do with every student who studies with LJMU.
Through her contributions to the gymnastics community as both a competitor and coach, Hannah has left a lasting impact on the lives of so many budding gymnasts and members of the local community alike.
And finally, another accomplishment Hannah can also add to her impressive achievements to date is a very personal one, becoming a mum for the first time this year (2023). “In terms of being a mum, it’s the best job in the world! I’m really enjoying the roller coaster that is parenthood and spending so much time with my family.”