'I hope my legacy in­spires gym­nasts' – Olympic medal­list Louis Smith re­tires

The Guardian Australia - - Sport - Press As­so­ci­a­tion

Louis Smith has an­nounced his re­tire­ment from gym­nas­tics at the age of 29.

Smith was Great Bri­tain’s first in­di­vid­ual Olympic medal­list in gym­nas­tics for a cen­tury when he won bronze on the pom­mel horse at the 2008 Games in Beijing.

He won two medals at Lon­don 2012, sil­ver in the pom­mel and a team bronze, and se­cured an­other in­di­vid­ual sil­ver in Rio four years later.

Smith wrote on Face­book: “Gym has given me ev­ery­thing - it gave me the tools nec­es­sary to chan­nel my ADHD through­out my child­hood , and as I grew up through the sport, I very quickly found a pur­pose in life, and it has made me the per­son I am to­day.

“From a young age it be­came my dream to com­pete at an Olympic Games and rep­re­sent Great Bri­tain, so to have had the op­por­tu­nity to do that on three sep­a­rate oc­ca­sions, and bring home four Olympic medals in the process, is some­thing I will for­ever cher­ish and for which I am eter­nally grate­ful.

“I’m so proud of what I’ve achieved in the sport and hope that my achieve­ments have left a legacy that will con­tinue to in­spire gym­nasts of the fu­ture.”

Smith had been work­ing to­wards qual­i­fi­ca­tion for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, but now says he will pur­sue “other ex­cit­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties that I’ve been pre­sented with”.

Smith, who also won three World Cham­pi­onship medals over the course of his ca­reer, was the win­ner of the BBC’s Strictly Come Danc­ing pro­gramme in 2012.

He was given a two-month ban by Bri­tish Gym­nas­tics in 2016 after mock-

ing Is­lam in a video. Smith apol­o­gised for the footage, which showed him pre­tend­ing to pray to Al­lah while laugh­ing, and re­vealed he had re­ceived a num­ber of death threats.

Louis Smith on the pom­mel horse at theRio Olympics when he won the sil­vermedal. Pho­to­graph: Bob Thomas/Pop­per­foto/Pop­per­foto/Getty Images

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