Smith aims to peak at London 2012
‘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.”