Matt Baker is a versatile talent at the BBC and his voice has been the accompanying soundtrack to some explosive action in the Olympics gymnastics events.
The former Blue Peter and The One Show presenter has forged a fantastic career and he is proving to be a popular presence during the summer sports coverage.
Baker is no stranger to the gymnastics circuit with a history that stretches back to his younger days, and we’ve got all the details you need to know.
Why does Matt Baker present gymnastics?
Baker is no stranger to commentating on the gymnastics having already featured during BBC’s coverage in Beijing 2008, London 2012, Rio 2016 and now Tokyo 2020.
He is joined by Christine Still and Craig Heap in the commentary box with their three distinguished voices passing comment on all the action from the men’s, women’s and team’s heats and finals.
And who better qualified to bring gymnastics to the UK than a man with first-hand experience?
Was Matt Baker a gymnast?
Yes! The Easington-born North East lad enjoyed a promising childhood as a gymnast.
He competed in a range of junior championships from a very early age, becoming the North of England champion for eight years and remained unbeaten.
He told BBC in 2016: “For me, to be able to express myself through movement was something that made me think: I’ve found it, and this is something I want to do for the rest of my life.
“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 do it. It wasn’t like my parents were pushing me into it. I knew I wanted to do it for the rest of my life.”
In that BBC interview, Baker also recalled how his dad once went to a nearby high school and returned home having bought their entire set of used gym equipment.
Baker was a well-known name around the northern England athletics circuit, regularly competing in local, regional and national events.
Matt Baker gymnastics history
Unfortunately, Baker was forced to quit the sport after being diagnosed with anaemia at the age of 14.
He simply couldn’t continue to compete at the same level as he was used to, and wouldn’t be able to dedicate the same amount of hours to his craft in a bid to further his gymnastics career.
Baker made the hard decision to call it a day but reflects fondly on his early years and has occasionally flashed his skills in features throughout his TV presenting career.
Is Matt Baker in Tokyo?
No. Baker and the vast majority of BBC commentators, pundits, presenters and experts are all remaining in the UK for the duration of the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The decision was made due to strict COVID restrictions in the UK and Japan as well as uncertainty over what could happen next with the pandemic.
Instead, Baker is situated in the BBC Sport hub at Media City in Salford, near Manchester, and has been braving 2am starts to bring all the latest coverage of the gymnastics events to a UK audience.
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