Louis Smith (gymnast)

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Louis Smith
— Gymnast —
Louis Smith at the Olympic Victory Parade.JPG
Smith at Our Greatest Team Parade in 2012
Personal information
Full name Louis Antoine Smith
Nickname(s) Lou, Lou-Lou
Country represented  Great Britain
Born (1989-04-22) 22 April 1989 (age 26)
Peterborough, Cambridgeshire
Hometown Peterborough
Height 179 cm (5 ft 10 in)[1]
Weight 76 kg (168 lb)
Discipline Men's artistic gymnastics
Club Huntingdon Gymnastics Club
Head coach(es) Paul Hall

Louis Antoine Smith, MBE (born 22 April 1989) is a British artistic gymnast who specialises in the pommel horse. He received a bronze medal and a silver medal on the pommel horse at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London Olympics respectively,[2] with the former marking the first time a British gymnast had placed in an Olympic event since 1928.[3] Smith was also part of the Great Britain team that took the bronze in the men's artistic team all-around at the 2012 London Olympics. In 2015 he became the European champion on Pommel Horse.

Smith is a member of the Huntingdon Gymnastics Club, training alongside teammate Daniel Keatings under coach Paul Hall. He was a part of the European Gold medal winning Great Britain's men's team in 2012, 2010 Commonwealth Games Champion, and is also a four-time European Silver medallist.

Away from the gym, Smith's high media profile has offered a number of television opportunities in his home country. He also won the 2012 series of Strictly Come Dancing.

Early life[edit]

Smith was born in Eye, Cambridgeshire to his English mother, Elaine who separated from his Jamaican-born father, Claude when he was three. He was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in 1995 and was on Ritalin from when he was six until he was eleven.[4][5] His mother commented that it was a case of his "running around the house and climbing everywhere or going somewhere more structured."[6] His local friends included Aston Merrygold, later a member of boy band JLS.[7]

When he was seven, Smith was offered a choral scholarship, but instead chose to focus on gymnastics.[8] He first learned to use the pommel by putting his feet in a bucket that was tied to a rope and hung from a ceiling.[8] He attended Arthur Mellows Village College in Glinton, Cambridgeshire.[5] Smith has since described his childhood, saying that "My mum took me to a variety of sports but from a young age it was gymnastics that captured my attention and which I really wanted to progress in. I had to sacrifice a lot of things in my social life, and I also didn't do A-Levels as I wanted to focus on the sport" [9]


2004–08: before Beijing[edit]

As a junior, Smith was a two-time European Champion on Pommel Horse, winning the title in both 2004 and 2006. In 2006 he took 5th place in the World Cup final.

He won gold on Pommel Horse for England at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia beating Prashanth Sellathurai.

In 2007, he came fourth in the Pommel Horse final at the European Championships. He attended his first World Championships competing for Great Britain at the 2007 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Stuttgart, Germany. There he won a bronze medal in the Pommel Horse final. He also won a silver on the pommel horse at the World Cup in Ghent the same year.

In 2008, Smith won a silver on Pommel Horse at the World Cup in Moscow.

2008 Summer Olympics[edit]

On 9 August 2008, Smith qualified in fifth place for the Olympic final of the men's pommel horse, and on 17 August he won a bronze medal in the finals, becoming first British man to win a medal in the individual gymnastics at the Olympic Games since Walter Tysall won a silver medal in 1908 and the first Briton generally to win a medal in gymnastics at the Olympic Games since the women's team won a bronze medal in 1928.[3] He is also the second black male gymnast to win a medal in an Olympic competition. The first was Jair Lynch of the United States in 1996, a silver medalist on the parallel bars.


In 2009, he won his first silver medal at the European Championships on the Pommel Horse as a Senior.

In 2010, Smith helped the British men's team to win Silver at the European Championships, and once again took the Silver medal in the Pommel Horse. He went on to the 2010 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Rotterdam where he beat Prashanth Sellathurai once again to take the Silver medal.

In 2011, he made the Pommel Horse finals but did not perform at his best and finished in 6th at the European Championships in Berlin.[10] In October, he was chosen to be on the British team for the 2011 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Tokyo. The men's team were expected to qualify through to the team finals easily, but had a poor performance in the preliminary rounds.[11] Louis was only chosen to perform on Pommel Horse where he performed well, qualifying through to the Pommel Horse finals ranking 2nd behind the 2010 World Champion, Krisztián Berki. On 14 October, he performed the most difficult routine out of all the finalists, but fell on his dismount, lowering his execution score. Despite this, he still placed 3rd behind Krisztián Berki and Cyril Tommasone to win the Bronze medal — the only medal won by the British men and women at those championships.[12]


In 2012, Smith won the silver medal in the pommel horse finals in the European Men's Artistic Gymnastics Championships.[13]

Smith was part of the Great Britain team at the London Olympics. The team won a bronze medal at the men's artistic team all-around event on 30 July 2012, marking the first team medal for a British Olympic gymnastics team in 100 years.[14] Smith also won the silver medal in the men's pommel horse final, receiving the same score as Hungary's Krisztián Berki; Berki, however, was awarded the gold medal due to having a higher execution score.[15] This was especially crushing to the home nation as this could have been Great Britain's first ever Olympic gold medal in gymnastics but Smith said 'I set out to do the best routine of my life and I achieved it so I have to be satisfied'.[9]

After London 2012 Olympics[edit]

Louis Smith at the 2015 European Championships in Montpellier, France.

Smith was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to gymnastics.[16][17]

Smith retired in 2013 and didn't compete that year, but announced in early January 2014 that he was back in the gym training in a bid to return to International competition at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland[18]

Smith won Bronze in the pommel horse finals at the 2014 Commonwealth Games behind his British teammates Daniel Keatings, who was competing for Scotland and Max Whitlock.

In 2015 he gained a berth to the British team competing at the 2015 European Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Montpelier, France. On Saturday 18th April he won the Gold medal on Pommel Horse - his first individual European title - with a score of 15.800. [19]

Other ventures[edit]

In an attempt to revive his interest in singing, Smith auditioned unsuccessfully for the British television music competition The X Factor in 2008.[20] Smith has disclosed that he now only sings in the shower and the car.[20] Smith has stated that after he retires from gymnastics, he hopes to start his own clothing line.[8]

In 2013, Smith was made ambassador for Rays of Sunshine, a charity that grants wishes for sick and terminally ill children.[citation needed] He also appeared on The Cube and won £50,000, which he donated to his gym, the Huntingdon Gymnastics Club.[citation needed]

Strictly Come Dancing[edit]

On 10 September 2012, it was announced that Smith would take part in the 2012 series of Strictly Come Dancing. On 15 September, the launch show revealed that his professional partner was Flavia Cacace. From weeks 1–8, his performances received mixed to positive reviews from the judges, until weeks 9–12 when the reviews became more positive and landed him in the top half of the leaderboard. He came top of the leaderboard for the first time in the Halloween week with his Tango and then again in week 9 with his Charleston, but his best and perfect score came in the grand final with his Showdance, for which he scored a perfect 40. On 22 December in the grand final, Smith and Cacace were announced as the winners of the series.[21] Smith said "It was brilliant. The training was harder than Gymnastics as everything was a new challenge. I never expected to win – I just went out every week with the aim of doing my best."[9] In 2014, Smith participated in the Christmas special with guest pro, Aliona Vilani. The couple won after dancing a Quickstep that scored a perfect 10 from all judges.

Strictly Come Dancing Performances
Week # Dance/Song Judges' scores Result
Horwood Bussell Goodman Tonioli Total
1 Cha-Cha-Cha/"Forget You" 6 8 6 7 27 Safe
2 Viennese Waltz/"Puppy Love" 7 7 8 8 30 Safe
3 Salsa/"(I've Had) The Time of My Life" 8 8 6 8 30 Safe
4 Tango/"Disturbia" 8 9 9 9 35 Safe
5 Samba/"La Bomba" 6 7 8 8 29 Safe
6 Waltz/"Moon River" 6 9 9 9 33 Safe
7 American Smooth/"I Got a Woman" 7 8 8 7 30 Safe
8 Paso Doble/"Dirty Diana" 6 7 7 7 27 Safe
9 Charleston/"Dr. Wanna Do" 8 10 9 10 37 Safe
10 Rumba & Tango/"With or Without You" 9 9 9 10 37 Safe
11 Jive/"Why Do Fools Fall in Love" 7 8 8 8 31 Safe
Foxtrot/"Somebody That I Used To Know" 9 10 9 10 38
12 Salsa/"(I've Had) The Time of My Life" 9 10 10 10 39 Safe
Showdance/"Rule The World" 10 10 10 10 40
Charleston/Dr. Wanna Do 9 10 10 10 39 Winner


  1. ^ "Louis Smith Profile". Yahoo. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  2. ^ Williams, Ollie (5 August 2012). "Louis Smith wins Olympics pommel horse silver for GB". BBC Sport (BBC). Retrieved 6 August 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Smith wins historic bronze for GB". BBC Sport (BBC). 17 August 2008. Retrieved 18 August 2008. 
  4. ^ The Guardian, 15 December 2012, Interview with Louis Smith by Patrick Barkham
  5. ^ a b Truslove, Ben (27 July 2012). "Mum’s nerves as Olympic hopeful Louis Smith prepares". Peterborough Today. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  6. ^ Cambridge News | Sport | VIDEO: My son the Olympic gymnast
  7. ^ "'I've only ever dated one girl': Louis Smith reveals he'd rather have a cuddle than sex in interview with childhood pal Aston Merrygold". London: Daily Mail. 9 November 2012. Retrieved 9 November 2012. 
  8. ^ a b c "Louis Smith". The Daily Telegraph. 3 August 2012. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  9. ^ a b c http://www.tcs.cam.ac.uk/interviews/0023857-interview-louis-smith-mbe.html
  10. ^ "4th European Artistic Gymnastics Individual Championships" (PDF). Dtb-online.de. Retrieved 25 September 2012. 
  11. ^ "GB men fail to qualify for 2012". BBC News. 10 October 2011. 
  12. ^ "Shaky Smith takes pommel bronze". BBC News. 15 October 2011. 
  13. ^ "Silver service for gymnast Smith at European Championships". Daily Mail (London). 27 May 2012. Retrieved 21 June 2012. 
  14. ^ Williams, Ollie (30 July 2012). "Olympic gymnastics: bronze for GB as Japan win silver on appeal". BBC Sports (BBC). Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  15. ^ Herbert, Ian (5 August 2012). "Gymnastics: Team GB's Louis Smith comes fraction short after playing safe". The Independent (London). Retrieved 6 August 2012. 
  16. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60367. p. 25. 29 December 2012.
  17. ^ "2013 New Year's Honours" (PDF). Retrieved 29 December 2012. 
  18. ^ http://www.intlgymnast.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3877:top-british-gymnast-announces-comeback&catid=81:headlines&Itemid=198
  19. ^ Turner, Amanda (18 April 2015). http://www.intlgymnast.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4272:five-gymnasts-win-big-in-montpellier&catid=5:competition-reports&Itemid=164.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  20. ^ a b Fallon, Clare (5 August 2012). "Gymnastics: Smith's silver is something to sing about". The Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  21. ^ "Strictly Come Dancing: Louis Smith lifts the trophy". BBC. 23 December 2012. Retrieved 22 December 2012. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Harry Judd and Aliona Vilani
Strictly Come Dancing Champion
(with partner Flavia Cacace)

Series 10 (2012)
Succeeded by
Abbey Clancy and Aljaž Skorjanec