The Commonwealth Games are well and truly underway and it’s not just Princess Charlotte who is stealing the show (opens in new tab) – fans are wondering why Matt Baker commentates and was he a gymnast?
The former Blue Peter presenter who is the main host of BBC’s Countryfile, is named as one of the 2022 Commonwealth Games (opens in new tab) commentators alongside former gymnast Craig Heap and gymnastic coach Christine Still and the other sporting presenters (opens in new tab).
But fans are wondering why he’s on the gymnastic commentary team as we delve into his sporting past…
Matt Baker is commentating on the gymnastics panel at the Commonwealth Games 2022 because he has hosted and commentated at previous prestigious sporting events as well as being a young gymnast himself. As part of the celebration for London’s winning bid to host the 2012 Olympics, Matt co-hosted the London 2012 party with Claudia Winkleman, and has commentated on gymnastics at the previous four Olympic Games.
All set to go here at the gymnastics @birminghamcg22 for the @BBCSport with @christinestill2 Matt Baker and the legends @bethtweddlenews @maxwhitlock1 in the studio pic.twitter.com/sr3bwNDzBeJuly 29, 2022
Was Matt Baker a gymnast?
Yes, Matt Baker was a gymnast, he began competing as a gymnast whilst studying at Belmont Comprehensive School in Durham but he was forced to give up the sport after being diagnosed with anaemia aged 14.
Speaking about his gymnastic days on BBC Get inspired (opens in new tab), Matt previously revealed, “I used to bounce around all over the place, I’d be climbing trees, and grappling up anything so gymnastics was kind of a natural fit.
“It just clicked with me, it was something that I loved and I didn’t have to think about whether or not I wanted to go.”
He continued, “It wasn’t like my parents were pushing me into it…for me, to be able to express myself through movement is something that I thought ‘I’ve found it and I want to do it for the rest of my life'”
His dad Mike bought him the entire gym of a school that was closing down so that he could practise his moves.
“All my Christmases had come at once,” he recalled.
But sadly his sporting career had to come to a sudden end when a health condition forced him to quit.
“When I was 14 I started to feel really tired and I had a few tests. it turns out that I was anaemic. You can’t say alright then i’ll have a few days off, because you just can’t do it. And it was a really tough decision because I never once felt that I didn’t want to go to gym.”
Looking on the bright side he added, “It taught me about dedication, about putting in the hours and you will get a result. It’s a simple formula.”
He shared some clippings from his old scrapbook showing his gymnastic achievements in the various local newspaper reports, which he captioned, “For all those asking… here’s some clippings from my Old scrap book! As a lad gymnastics was my life…it taught me the simple recipe if you work hard you get a result. Without my sport I would never be where I am today … #gymnastics #workhard”
Matt Baker gymnastics career
From the age of five Matt Baker became involved in gymnastics. He competed at the junior level of gymnastics and was en route to becoming a major champion in the sport, after scooping the north of England champion for eight years throughout his childhood, a title that was never beaten until his health condition – being diagnosed with anaemia – forced him to quit.
Since then he’s been lucky enough to follow his passion for the sport in a different capacity – as BBC commentator for gymnastics Olympic events at Tokyo 2020, which he also did at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the 2012 London Olympics and the Rio 2016 Olympics. He has also presented several European Gymnastic Championships, Gymnastics World Championship and the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
And now he can add Commonwealth Games 2022 to his list.
His current commentating duties are going down well with viewers, one fan tweeted, “Great gymnastics commentary from and Matt Baker this evening love their enthusiasm knowledge and passion for the sport @craigdavidheap”
Another fan put, “Matt Baker on commentary makes the gymnastics coverage. Love his enthusiasm!”
And a third fan added, “Obviously very here for the current levels of wall to wall televised sport. Matt Baker excitedly commentating on gymnastics is exactly what I need in my life right now. #CommonwealthGames2022”