Time for a hometown honour for Louis
So it was silver at the Olympics again for Peterborough’s Louis Smith but at least he got a gold for bad sportsmanship.
Or at least he did if you read some of the ill-informed and spiteful comments on social media.
Or a nasty article on the Mail Online headlined: “Strictly miserable! Blubbing Louis Smith sparks Twitter storm by ‘refusing’ to shake teammate Max Whitlock’s hand after he beat him to a gold medal.’’
After being a journalist for more than 30 years I really should be used to this sort of nonsense, but it never fails to surprise.
Louis and his family and friends are enormously proud of him. Rightly so.
And so should the rest of us be.
This is the lad from Eye who went to Arthur Mellows Village College, who took up gymnastics as a hyperactive child to burn up energy and became the second best in the world at what he does.
Wow, second best in the world, that phrase is worth repeating. All those small- minded critics should ask themselves where they rank in the world at what they do.
I’m not the second best journalist in the world, but if I was I’d be chuffed.
I’d also be hugely disappointed if not once, but twice, I had just missed out on being the best.
I don’t know what was going on in Louis’s head after he came second and only he knows - but it’s not rocket science to realise he was in turmoil hence the emotion and tears.
If, and it’s a big if, and Louis denies it,his behaviour didn’t appear to be the epitome of goods sportsmanship, does it really matter? Cut him some slack for goodness sake. This was probably his last chance at being the best and he came up short. Just.
Hopefully this “Twitter’’ storm will blow over and Louis can be given the credit he deserves.
And part of that credit should be to award him the freedom of the city.
The mayor of Peterborborough Cllr David Sanders has already called for it.
To any city councillor who has doubts ask yourself this: “Are you the sec- ond best councillor in the world?’’
Talking of social mediathe following quote from former US president Theodore Roosevelt popped up on my Twitter feed.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.’’
It sums up Louis’s situation perfectly.