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Agent Smith closes in on Olympic mission

AMBITIONS: Smith

AT THE 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing Louis Smith claimed Britain’s first Olympic gymnastics medal in close to century by winning a bronze in the pommel horse event.

And the 22-year-old from Peterborough will undoubtedly be one of the faces of Team GB next year.

After being quizzed by the Voice of Sport on both Olympic matters and completely random topics, the loquacious Smith expressed his fondness for Call of Duty, cars and his admiration for Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt amongst other things.

VOS: How did you get started on the pommel horse?

LS: I was always ok on the apparatus but I think the reason why I did so well (on the pommel horse) was because I was quite naughty as a youngster and my coach used to send me on that piece as punishment to practise on for like an extra 10 or 15 minutes. From then I progressed and got better. I realised my potential and started doing well at competitions and progressed from there.

VOS: So because you were in trouble it was almost a punishment?

LS: I didn’t really get into trouble it was kind of for things like not listening, doing the wrong exercise, talking when I shouldn’t have been – those type of things.

VOS: Yourself, Beth Tweedle and Daniel Keatings have all had success at world level. How does it feel to be apart of a new wave of talented, young, British gymnasts?

LS: It’s quite an honour actually. It’s quite a nice feeling to know that the hard work and effort that we’ve been putting in is now paying off. It’s kind of having like a wave effect on the youngsters that we train with and it’s influencing them to do well as well.

VOS: I was going through your personal website and it said you’re sponsored by BMW! What car have they given you to drive?

LS: Well they’ve given me a 3 Series convertible which is a stylish and also very reliable. It gets me to training and I travel up and down the country without worrying about my car breaking down.

VOS: Nice! Your bronze medal meant that you are only the second black gymnast to win a medal ever. Has ethnicity ever been an issue in gymnastics?

LS: No, it hasn’t really. I mean it’s quite a white dominated sport but it hasn’t really had an effect in terms of making myself present and breaking into the background.

VOS: In terms of training what’s an average day?

LS: Wake up at about 10 o’clock, have a shower, have breakfast, leave to go to the gym about 11.30, get there for 12, train to 12 to 3.30, have a break and then come in at 5.30 and train till 8.

VOS: What’s your favourite computer game?

LS: Call of Duty.

VOS: Which one?

LS: I like all of them. I’m not a fan of going back, I always play the game that’s come out and at the minute I’m playing Black Ops.

VOS: Did you download the new map pack?

LS: Yep, I’ve got all the new map packs – everything!

VOS: Cool! What’s the best atmosphere you’ve competed in?

LS: Definitely the Olympic Games.

VOS: How many phones have you broken?

LS: Hmm…[long pause] none to my knowledge. I went to pass my friend my phone and he dropped it and cracked the screen but that’s about it. I didn’t break it!

VOS: If you weren’t a gymnast what would you be doing?

LS: I’d either be doing a different sport or singing or acting – just something that out there on the entertainment side.

VOS: Who’s your favourite sportsperson and why?

LS: [Thinking]…Umm… that’s a tough one! Probably Usain Bolt because you can tell he’s not doing it all for the fame, you know what I mean? He loves what he’s doing, he’s talented, he loves to connect with the crowd and at the same time he’s hard working.

VOS: Would another bronze medal be seen as a success for you or do you want to go even further?

LS: It’d definitely be a success for myself. If I went to the Olympic Games and just did a clean routine that would be enough for me no matter what medal I got, whether I came fourth or fifth, I’d be happy with that. I know my Mum would be happy with that and my friends would be happy with that. The public and the media I’m not so sure about but I’d definitely be happy just going there and doing a clean routine.

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