Claudia Fragapane said her 'Strictly' appearance made all the difference after claiming a bronze medal in the women's floor final at the World Gymnastics Championships in Montreal.

The 19-year-old had taken time away from the sport to star in the BBC show after a bitterly disappointing performance at last year's Olympic Games.

And she admitted in the wake of her experience in Rio, where she fell off beam and bars and failed to make a final, she could never have imagined she would be standing on an individual podium so soon.

Loading article content

Fragapane told Press Association Sport: "Strictly helped me fall back in love with gymnastics because I was so crushed with what happened in Rio.

"I needed to take a break and get some breathing space and doing the programme allowed me to do that. I'm so grateful to all the people who helped me come back and achieve this bronze medal."

History threatened to repeat itself for Fragapane in Montreal when she made a mistake on landing her first tumble, placing her on the verge of falling out of medal contention.

But she rallied to produce a near-perfect finish to her routine, her score of 13.933 proving enough to take third behind Mai Murakami of Japan and American Jade Carey.

Fragapane added: "After the first tumble I thought I'd lost it. But I thought, I'm just going to go for it in the rest of the routine and not think about things too much.

"I knew I'd trained so well for all the tumbles, so I was a little bit annoyed. That's really unusual for me, but I just went for the last three tumbles and landed them absolutely dead, so I'm happy."

Fragapane still suffered some anxious moments before her first individual world medal - she also won bronze as part of the British team in Glasgow two years ago - was confirmed.

Participating fifth of the eight finalists, she had to watch as both home favourite Ellie Black and Brazilian Thais Santos fell short.

Italy's former world champion Vanessa Ferrari was considered a threat but she fell heavily early in her routine and suffered an ankle injury which was an unfortunate way to confirm Fragapane's bronze.

"I thought I had maybe done enough to finish fourth and what happened with Vanessa was very sad," added Fragapane.

"But this medal is going to do wonders for my own career. I'm not a massively confident person so this will show me that I deserve to be in this company.

"It's undoubtedly the best moment of the career but hopefully now there will be so many more to come."