A roller coaster of emotions

A teammates selfless act before the men’s horizontal bar final in Birmingham, meant that Tyson Bull would come home to Australia as a Commonwealth Games silver medalist – even though he didn’t initially make the final.

After stamping his name into the record books at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Bull had his sights firmly set on success at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games. 

“I took a little bit of time to reflect on the Olympics and mentally and physically let myself calm down before turning the page and working towards that next goal.”

Bull took further confidence leading into the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, when he won gold in the horizontal bar final at the 2022 Koper World Cup in Slovenia – his first podium at a Challenge Cup or World Cup.

Everything was falling into place, until disaster struck.

“Three weeks out from competing in Birmingham, I was doing a parallel bar dismount that I’ve done 100 times before,” he said.

“I landed really short, on my ankle, and straightaway I knew it was pretty bad.”

Unable to put any pressure on his foot without pain, Bull’s scans revealed some “good and bad news.”

“The good news was that there was still a chance I would be able to compete at the Commonwealth Games,” he said.

“But the bad news was that it was going to be very painful for me.”

Bull managed to make it to Birmingham with the Australian team, however, his preparation for his event was less than ideal, still struggling to land on his troublesome ankle.

“I hadn't been able to land any dismounts in the lead up to qualification and even though there was heavy taping on my ankle, I was still in a lot of pain,” he said.

In the men’s artistic team event, which also acts as qualification for the individual apparatus events, Bull and his Australian teammates narrowly missed out on the bronze medal, finishing in fourth place.

What made this result even more “gutting” for Bull, was a small stumble on his dismount off the high bar, meant he didn’t score enough points to qualify for the apparatus final.

“After qualification, I was gutted on two fronts,” he said.  

“We just missed out on a team podium and my main medal opportunity on the horizontal bar was gone.”

“It was a roller coaster of emotions.”

A day out from the final of the horizontal bar, injury struck the Australian team camp again.

“24 hours out from competition, one of the younger guys, Jesse, who had been carrying a bit of a shoulder injury, aggravated it in the warmup gym and couldn't do any high bar without a lot of pain through his shoulder,” Bull said.

 “That spot in the high bar final then fell down to my other Australian teammate Clay Stephens.” 

Stephens selflessly decided to sacrifice his spot in final, giving Bull the chance to chase his first Commonwealth Games medal.

“A Commonwealth Games final is not something that comes around very often and for him to give that spot to me was huge and something that wouldn’t have been an easy decision,” Bull said.

Bull, who just hours earlier wasn’t going to be in the horizontal bar final, now felt that he had to “do the spot justice.”  

“I'd been given this opportunity and I was going to give it everything to try and make the boys proud.”

Fighting through the pain in his ankle and with limited ability to land, he knew that if he nailed his routine anything could be possible.

“I thought ‘I'm going to put this landing on my feet no matter what, he said.

And that, he did.

Bull scored a gutsy 14.233, earning him a silver medal, as well as creating an iconic story which captured the hearts of Australian’s watching on.

Since his Commonwealth Games silver medal, Bull has been working with the Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS) to get his ankle ready for the upcoming 2022 World Championships in Liverpool.

Bull called upon Victorian Institute of Sport Manager of Physiotherapy and Soft Tissue Therapy, Steve Hawkins, a person he is “very thankful to have” on his high-performance journey.

Hawkins has been working closely with Bull “everyday” to get his ankle ready for the upcoming 2022 World Championships in Liverpool.

“Our focus has been trying to find different mechanisms and strategies that can improve his ankle range and help encourage a little bit more healing from the injury in preparation for the World Championships,” Hawkins said.

You can catch Tyson competing at the World Championships here.

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