Whitlock, in almost complete contrast, prefers to keep fully focused on his task in the build-up to major competitions, seldom referencing any of his rivals by name and purporting never to take an interest in their particular routines.
However as he puts the finishing touches to his quest to hold off the Irishman and claim his second consecutive Olympic pommel crown, Whitlock acknowledged McClenaghan’s status as a bonafide threat to his dominance of the discipline.
Whitlock joked: “We are heading into the Village tomorrow (Tuesday) and we will see what the cardboard beds are like – I heard Rhys put something up there that was quite good.
“He’s more vocal and I like to keep my head down and I don’t go on social media much. I don’t know what routines anybody else is doing and I’m just thinking about my job.
“It’s not a one-on-one situation. We’re all going out there to do as good a job as possible. We respect each other and hopefully, everyone can go out there and do an important job.”
Despite both missing out on a medal on their return to competition at the European Championships earlier this year, Whitlock and McClenaghan remain the men to beat on the pommel in Tokyo.
McClenaghan was responding to reports that the beds had been made out of cardboard in order to prevent athletes having sex as a precautionary measure against coronavirus.
But Tokyo officials countered the claim by insisting they had been created out of cardboard purely because it ensured they were 100% recyclable.