Great Britain and Scotland Gymnast, Steve Frew, supports the BRIT Ambassador family & BRIT Challenge
We are delighted that Steve is part of our BRIT Ambassador family and championing the annual BRIT Challenge to support and improve young adult mental health and fitness throughout the UK.
Steve has represented Scotland and Great Britain over 100 times at various international gymnastics competitions. He won gold at the 2002 Commonwealth Games; this was the first Commonwealth Games gold medal in gymnastics for Scotland.
“Through my work with the Sky Sports Living for Sport initiative, support to the Youth Sport Trust, and visits to school and education establishments throughout the UK for many years, I have had the privilege of spending time with young adults, students and children. Many discussions have been centred around mental health, fitness and wellbeing, so I have seen the increase in mental health challenges faced by young adults.
I am delighted to be part of the BRIT Ambassador family and applaud their determination to ensure that every Higher Education and Further Education student in Scotland has the opportunity to take part in their annual BRIT Challenge. I am thrilled that they have built relationships with Universities Scotland (through Universities UK), Colleges Scotland, sportscotland, Scottish Student Sport and are strengthening relationships with universities and colleges throughout Scotland.
Many charities are seeing an increase in demand for the vital support they provide. I applaud BRIT for their collaborative approach and inviting every university and college team taking part in the BRIT Challenge to choose a second charity to raise funds for, alongside BRIT, to support local, regional and national charities.
The BRIT Challenge has been designed to be inclusive and is enabling students and staff of all abilities to take part. To ensure every student in Scotland has the opportunity to participate, it would be great if every Scottish university, college and student union embraces the BRIT Challenge, enters teams and encourages their students and staff to take part; at home or on campus.
I urge my fellow retired and current Olympians, Paralympians and athletes in Scotland to join our BRIT Ambassador family and unite to encourage universities and colleges to enter teams in the BRIT Challenge, destigmatise mental health and champion equality, diversity and inclusion.
I look forward to championing the BRIT Challenge in Scotland and encouraging all of our universities and colleges to take part. I will also call upon friends and colleagues that I have met throughout my athletic career and during my work with the Commonwealth Games Scotland and Team Scotland to help me make the BRIT Challenge a success in Scotland.”
Great Britain and Scotland Gymnast
Steve was born in Falkirk, Scotland. At six years old, Steve’s Mum enrolled him in Grangemouth Gymnastics Club to provide a focus and channel his abundance of energy. His first coach was Jim Bennie a former Great Britain gymnast (and the 2013 World 'Over 70s' Natural Bodybuilding Champion!).
At eight years old, when competing at the East of Scotland Championships, Steve was spotted by the Scottish Men’s Gymnastics coach, Gordon Forster, and invited to trial for the Scotland squad.
Growing up in Grangemouth in the 1970s as a mixed-race child had its challenges. Although the community was warm and welcoming to Steve, he felt he stood out with a skin colour different to the majority of the community and spent most of his early years trying to fit in with everyone else.
At 10 years old, Steve represented Scotland in his first international competition and in the same year, became the Under 12 Scottish Champion. From that time on, Steve was the Scottish Champion at every age group and became the Scottish Senior Champion eight consecutive times.
When Steve was 14 years old, he was selected to join the Great Britain Gymnastic Team and competed in his first international for Great Britain when he was 15 years old.
At sixteen years old, Steve was chosen to represent Scotland at the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland, New Zealand. Still at school, he was the youngest member of the Scottish team. He achieved 16th position overall; the highest placed athlete in the Scottish gymnastics team.
In 1994, Steve represented Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Canada, He qualified for two gymnastics finals; the Pommel Horse, achieving 8th place, and the High Bar, achieving 5th place. In 1998, at the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, despite struggling with the humidity, Steve achieved 13th place overall.
Steve represented Scotland for the fourth time at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester. He scored 9.462 points in the Men’s Gymnastics Rings final and secured his place in history by winning gold. Steve was selected to be a Team Scotland flag bearer for the closing ceremony with Sir Chris Hoy and Craig McLean MBE.
The 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia, was Steve’s fifth and final appearance for Team Scotland. Steve was also given the honour of being selected as the Team Scotland gymnastics captain. After reaching the Rings final, he retired from gymnastics after representing Scotland for over 20 years.
After retiring as an elite athlete, Steve has continued to support the sport and was part of the Glasgow 2014 Athletes’ Commission for Scotland, traveling to Sri Lanka to help secure the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. He was a BBC Scotland sports commentator for the Games and was also a Glasgow 2014 Athletes’ Village Chieftain; welcoming countries and delegations arriving in the Athletes’ Village.
Steve supported the Sky Sports Living for Sport initiative, run by the Youth Sport Trust, by visiting schools throughout the UK.
He also served a gymnastics commentator at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
In 2017 Steve took part in ITV's "Ninja Warrior UK" qualifying for the final, achieving 11th place overall.
Steve continues to support and help young people and adults improve their sports and inspires them by visiting schools and organisations in the United Kingdom and throughout the world.
You can follow Steve on Twitter.