Time for a home­town hon­our for Louis

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Your Views -

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.

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