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Liddick to bow out of gymnastics role

AAP logoAAP 21/12/2016 Roger Vaughan

Peggy Liddick has ended her 20-year reign as national artistic gymnastics coach as the sport in Australia enters a new era.

The announcement by one of Australia's most experienced Olympic coaches comes three months after former world champion Lauren Mitchell also retired from competition.

Liddick had already enjoyed success as the coach of American Olympic and world champion Shannon Miller when she took over the Australian national program.

She led Australian gymnastics to its most successful era, with Mitchell taking out the sport's first world title in 2010.

Monette Russo also won Australia's first world championships medal, with all-round bronze in 2005.

Australia finished third at the 2003 world championships - the first time a country outside of Romania, Russia, China or the USA had won a women's team medal at the worlds.

But knee injuries meant Mitchell and Mary-Anne Monckton were unavailable for the buildup to the Rio Olympics.

Australia failed to qualify a women's artistic team at the Games for the first time since 1988.

Larrissa Miller was Australia's only competitor and she did not make the floor final.

There was also controversy in July when the elite WA gymnastics program was axed because of funding issues.

"Now is the right time for me to step aside, both personally and professionally," Liddick said in a statement.

"It's the start of the new Olympic cycle, my successor will have almost four years to prepare the women's team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and I will do my utmost to assist in a smooth transition."

Gymnastics Australia chief executive Mark Rendell said they hoped she would stay involved as an advisor and mentor.

"Peggy has made an outstanding contribution to women's artistic gymnastics in this country," Rendell said.

"The sport is indebted to Peggy for her achievements, her professionalism and her commitment."

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