Why are Britain's gymnasts suddenly so good?
"Another day at the office," declared breezy British gymnast Niamh Rippin, team silver medal around her neck and tongue firmly in cheek, as hundreds of fans greeted her outside Birmingham's National Indoor Arena on Saturday.
But it really isn't. British gymnasts have never had days like these.
The GB team are leaving the European Championships with a total of 15 medals (senior boys: team silver, individual gold, silver and bronze; junior boys: team gold, four individual golds, a silver and two bronze; senior girls: team silver, two individual golds).
That total is unprecedented, particularly the success of both the junior and senior men's teams, who have for decades toiled in the lower echelons of world gymnastics.
Why, though, is this all happening now? Who has flicked a switch to turn Britain from a gymnastics also-ran to a world power with an eye on medals at a home Olympics? Is it all down to money?
Actually, one reason for this success may be down to a lack of cash.
Where Olympic sports are concerned, success at world or Olympic level is the biggest way to bring money in, through increased funding and increased exposure to the public. But, less than a decade ago, the British men's squad was performing so badly that it lost all but its most basic level of funding.
That forced British Gymnastics to change the way it worked. Until that point, the very best gymnasts in the United Kingdom would, at a certain age, be swept away from the clubs where they had been trained, and installed in an elite programme at the Lilleshall national sports centre.
However, with no funding to support that centralised system, it was scrapped. Instead, the focus was shifted to the clubs themselves, with more support for elite gymnasts to continue training with their club coaches, who in turn received training and guidance from the national governing body.
Then, as funding slowly returned because of the gradual improvement in results, that funding was ploughed not into a national elite programme, but directly back into the clubs and coaches working with those gymnasts. Top officials and commentators agree the results of this change have been remarkable, and that the new system - brought on by a lack of funds - lies at the root of Britain's resurgence.
"Suddenly, in the last four years, we've developed men's and women's teams that have taken Europe by storm," says Trevor Low, who chairs the British men's technical committee. Broadly speaking, that means he oversees the way in which men's gymnastics works in the UK, paying particular attention to club level.
"But it has been a long, slow process," he adds, "in particular building up the clubs and coaches. One of our early mentors, John Atkinson, preached his message over and over: if you make clubs stronger, you make coaches stronger, and you're going to start producing.
"What was missing was we didn't have the infrastructure, the tradition, the strength in our clubs and facilities. But now we've got some of finest facilities in Europe.
"Many of the teams this week have been amazed at the facilities they've seen in Birmingham and around the training halls. They ask how we did it. Well, it's what we've been doing for the last 20 years: building the resources to make this all possible."
Not so much flicking a switch, then. The renewed focus on coaches turns out to be the missing piece in the puzzle after decades of slogging away at grass-roots level - decades in which the Eastern bloc nations, pouring state funding into their centralised programmes, dominated gymnastics to Britain's detriment.
"We've replicated a lot of what the Eastern bloc used to have 20 years ago, but found a good balance which suits the British way," explains Eddie Van Hoof, the men's technical director, who is responsible for the men's elite team, including Daniel Keatings and Louis Smith. Below him sit the individual coaches, such as Paul Hall (who trains Smith and Keatings), who are the new stars of the system.
Louis Smith, right, with coach Paul Hall at last year's Worlds. Photo: BBC
"We have a semi-centralised training regime - some gymnasts train with national coaches for quite a period of time - but the focus is still on clubs and the good work that goes on with club gymnasts and club coaches.
"However, those clubs and coaches are pulling together on the national programme and it's the first time, in my 25 years of national coaching, that everyone is so behind the programme.
"From eight years old, we can pick up elite-level gymnasts and guide them through with their coaches - there's a lot of coaching development work going on in the background as well.
"And now, we've seen we can make the transition from juniors into seniors - the senior men's team here were the junior European Championships team of 2006, en bloc. The current junior team did exceptionally well here, because they felt under pressure to replicate the performance of the previous junior team, who won the title in 2008.
"These juniors will move up towards senior ranks now, and they've got a year to establish themselves, so they'll be pushing the others. We've got nine or 10 boys in contention for the London 2012 team."
Giving gymnasts a clear route to the top, accompanied by coaches they trust and understand at all times, has played a big part in Britain's resurgence. But somebody has to be the first to start winning, to show the others it can be done. That somebody was Beth Tweddle, who picked up a World Championship title in 2006.
"The generation before me started it," she remembers. "They started to make finals and get team results. I took it one step further, and hopefully the generation below me can take it even further than I have.
"I remember making my first final, in 2002, and speaking to my coach (Amanda Kirby), telling her I didn't feel like I belonged. She told me I had earned that place, and I should make the most of it. After that, the way we trained changed. Once you've got one medal you're never happy unless you've got gold to come home with from every championships."
Beth Tweddle wins the 2006 world title that changed the face of British gymnastics. Photo: Getty Images
As the first British gymnast in history to win a world title, Tweddle broke through a glass ceiling. Now, the British men are following in her wake. As Tweddle continues to rack up major honours (world champion again last year, double European champion both this year and last), Keatings has added a men's individual world silver medal to the list, and Smith an Olympic pommel horse bronze.
"Beth's victory in 2006 launched our sport," says Colin Still, the women's national coach. He has fulfilled that role for decades but now, under the new system, acts mostly in an advisory capacity, watching major competitions from a distance while club coaches anxiously fuss over their charges.
"All the other gymnasts looked at that and said, 'If she can do it, we can'. It's comparable to when Olga Korbut did the first back-somersault on the beam. Everyone said it was so dangerous, they couldn't do it. And now everybody is. If Beth can get up there, other British gymnasts can. Now, juniors look at the sport and say they can go further than Beth, because they have the facilities and the coaches.
"There's a big difference, doing this job now. In previous years we were here just to participate, everybody just wanted a ticket on the plane, to have a good time. These days, we're only here to compete in finals, and we're looking for medals."
Low adds: "What Dan, Louis and Beth have done for this sport, you could never buy. You can't go into a shop or to a funding body and say, 'Give me this,' only athletes can deliver. And in this case they've delivered enormous benefits to us. The cascading effect is going to do us lots and lots more good.
"Everybody wants to be part of something they know is going somewhere. When people see those three on the podium, and see the British team winning medals, they want to be part of it. The interest in our clubs over the last 10 days, the number of phone calls coming in nationwide, has been overwhelming, and by the end of this week I think we'll be flooded."
Other factors cannot be ignored. Heading towards a home Olympic Games in 2012, it is natural for all Olympic sports in Britain to receive a higher level of attention, an elevation in funds received, targets set, drive to succeed. Gymnastics, alongside most Olympic sports in Britain, has been a beneficiary of that.
Additionally, the wider sport of gymnastics has changed dramatically. When those Eastern bloc nations were winning title after title in the 1980s, part of that lay at the door of the judging system, which, to phrase this delicately, was not exactly perfect. The break-up of the Eastern bloc saw that particular judging issue gradually diminish.
Previously, former British gymnasts will tell you, they could have nailed every last routine and finished outside the top 20. While some of the problem was that Britain didn't have the gymnasts, the other side of the coin was that the country didn't have the right reputation in a sport governed entirely by judging panels. It takes a lot to change that, and the emergence of true superstars like Tweddle, whose brilliance is simply undeniable when watched up close, is what Britain needed.
Perhaps other nations are getting weaker, too. The British team has come on in leaps and bounds, but it is helped by the financial troubles of teams like Romania and Ukraine, former powers in the sport now trying to maintain that legacy in a far less amenable political climate.
The British will not be shedding tears for teams who have had their chance. Now, the British organisation oozes an almost apologetic confidence, nodding sagely at the bright future ahead while trying to keep their feet on the ground.
"We've got countries asking us if this the best we've got. Well, they haven't seen anything yet," says Low, briefly losing all contact with terra firma. "We've got juniors beneath our juniors who are going to terrify the gymnastics world. They are absolutely awesome. I'm looking two Olympics ahead of London and I think we'll still be in this strong position."
For Van Hoof, the idea that not just one individual, but an entire team might get onto the podium in 2012, is the holy grail. He is relishing the next two years.
"Some of the most well-known gymnastics experts around the world are recognising our performance improvements and suggesting a team medal is not an impossibility," he concludes. "That's way above an individual apparatus final. To me, that's the be all and end all."