‘I’m proud to represent Peterborough’ – Louis Smith
Receiving the Freedom of Peterborough would be “awesome” according to Olympic silver medal winning gymnast
Representing Peterborough at the Olympics was an absolute pleasure, according to silver medal winning gymnast Louis Smith, who also said it would be “awesome” to receive the freedom of the city.
Louis, who grew up in Eye but now lives in Helpston, touched down at Heathrow on Tuesday last week alongside other members of Team GB’s record-breaking medal winners.
After a month spent in Rio alongside his fellow competitors, Louis was unaware of the calls from Mayor of Peterborough, Councillor David Sanders, for him to be made a Freeman of the city.
But informed of the news when speaking to the Peterborough Telegraph last week, hesaid: “That’s awesome, I would gladly accept it.
“Peterborough, you guys have been fantastic. It’s been an absolute pleasure to say I’ m from here and to represent Peterborough in and out of the gym.
“I’m committed to Peter- borough. I think it’s a fantastic place, especially in Helpston.”
Team GB was given a big welcome after returning from Brazil last week, but there was a further surprise for Louis when he went home and saw a banner reading “Congratulations Louis, Helpston is proud of you!” waiting for him.
Louis said: “I came home and there’s all these flags and banner son my house. It’s so nice. You do not get a feel for that when you’re in Rio.
“It’s only when you come home that you realise the effect Team GB has.
‘I was quite surprised to see the banner, but it wasa nice surprise.’
“I was quite surprised to see the banner, but it was a nice surprise.
“It’s so nice to be back. I loved it out there in Rio and it was better than I expected it to be, but I’ve been away for four, five weeks and it’s nice to come home and switch off.”
Reflecting on his time in Rio, Louis said his highlight was being part of an incredibly successful gymnastics team which brought back seven medals.
But he admitted t hat watching the pommel horse final was not easy for his mum Elaine Petch.
“Mum was watching it round a friend’s house. She needed moral support watching me do my thing. I think they are all very proud.”
There was some controversy at the Games when Louis was accused of not congratulating Team GB colleague Max Whitlock af - ter he took gold ahead of him in the pommel horse final. Responding to the accusations, a defiant Louis said: “It’s all very silly to be honest. It should not happen to me, having to defend myself on the night of me winning an Olympic silver.
“Me, Max and Max’s coach
‘I’m not like that, I wasnot brought up like that, it’s not how I tick.’
know what happened. The cameras did not catch me going over to congratulate him. “I’m not like that, I was not brought up like that, it’s not how I tick. It’s pointless carrying on talking about it.”
Despite the online furore, the four-time Olympic medallist will hold fond memories of another successful Games.
“I’m very happy, very relieved and very proud of what I have done, for how long I’ve been in the sport and what I’ve achieved in the Olympics,” added Louis.
“I was slightly disappointed at the time that I was not going to get gold, but five-10 minutes passed and the overwhelming feeling was pride.”