Smith aims to peak at London 2012

GYM­NAS­TICS

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - SPORT -

‘We’re not just guys who prance around in leo­tards. We’re tough’

LOUIS Smith be­lieves he has been im­prov­ing ever since the Bei­jing Olympic Games and is con­fi­dent he can peak at the right time to add to the bronze medal he won four years ago.

Pom­mel horse spe­cial­ist Smith, from Eye, was se­lected in the Great Bri­tain squad for the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships which take place in two weeks’ time in Mont­pel­lier, France.

Although he ad­mits his plan is not to win at the com­pe­ti­tion, Smith be­lieves he is in the form of his life and is ready for a real test against some of the best gym­nasts in the world.

“I’m at the top of my game,” said Smith. “I feel like I’ve been im­prov- ing ev­ery day since the Bei­jing Olympic Games, not just phys­i­cally but men­tally.

“I’m com­pletely dif­fer­ent now to how I was four years ago. I un­der­stand what to do, how my body works and how to pre­pare for big com­pe­ti­tions so I feel very good, very strong.

“I’m not look­ing at this Euro­pean cham­pi­onships as a com­pe­ti­tion I need to win and where I need to beat ev­ery­one.

“Ev­ery­thing that I’ve been do­ing in the past cou­ple of months has been prepa­ra­tion for London.

“Ever since the World Cham­pion- ships last year, that rou­tine I did in the final, it wasn’t to win it was to try and pre­pare my­self for London.

“I want to go into this com­pe­ti­tion and for it to be the best final it can be. If I make the pom­mel horse final I want ev­ery­one to be in it, the best peo­ple, and I want to try my best rou­tine as I want to repli­cate the nerves.

“I want to be stand­ing next to the peo­ple who I know can pos­si­bly beat me and I want to feel that pres­sure and I want to try my hard rou­tine.

“I just want to repli­cate London and use it as a step­ping stone.”

Smith will travel to France with team-mates Daniel Purvis, Max Whit­lock, Kris­tian Thomas and Rus­lan Pantey­ley­monov, and is yet to de­cide which of his three pom­mel horse rou­tines he will per­form.

With Olympic tri­als fast ap­proach­ing and the squad for London 2012 an­nounced on July 4, Smith knows he must pull out his best per­for­mance in or­der to stake his claim in the five-man team

“There are three rou­tines I can do,” Smith said. “My eas­ier one is a 16.900, I can do a 17.000 or 17.100.

“I did the 17.000 one in the World Cup event in China so it’s pos­si­ble to do a 17.100.

“I’ll have that rou­tine ready but it’s bet­ter to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it ready.”

Smith re­vealed he has re­cov­ered from a frac­tured fin­ger which he com­peted with dur­ing the com­pe­ti­tion in China, where he fin­ished sec­ond be­hind dou­ble pom­mel horse world cham­pion Krisz­tian Berki of Hun­gary.

“It’s nice to know that I can com­pete with a frac­tured fin­ger and still chal­lenge to be one of the best in the world,” Smith said.

“None of us are strangers to work­ing with aches and pains and I think it shows that we’re not just guys who prance around in leo­tards. We’re tough.

“I’m def­i­nitely on the right track for the Euro­peans. We’ve got two weeks yet and there’s a bit of fine tun­ing that we have to do but the whole squad is look­ing strong and I’m feel­ing good and I’m con­fi­dent that we should get a good re­sult.”

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