OLYMPICS: Louis feels fantastic going into the big Rio final

Louis Smith is feeling relaxed.
Louis Smith is feeling relaxed.
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Louis Smith goes for gold in Rio tonight (August 8) admitting he feels totally relaxed.

The 27 year-old from Eye will be looking to inspire Team GB to victory in the men’s team final with another polished performance on the pommel horse - his specialist piece of aparatus on which he’s won individual bronze and silver at the last two Olympics.

The final starts at 8pm and Smith is raring to go.

The Huntingdon Gymnastic Club member says everything so far has gone according to plan and he’s having a ‘brilliant time’ in Rio.

After delivering the second best pommel horse routine in qualifying, with only team-mate Max Whitlock scoring higher, Smith was bubbling with confidence. His performance was in stark contrast to qualifying four years ago.

“I had a brilliant time this time,” said Smith. “London 2012 was incredibly stressful. I broke down in tears after my qualifying pommel in London.

“This time, I was nervous but it’s just a different atmosphere.

“There is expectation on me but I didn’t feel real pressure from media and governing bodies.

“We’ve got Max (Whitlock), Kristian (Thomas), Nile (Wilson) and Brinn (Bevan) who are doing fantastic things, and we kind of share the pressure.

“So I was really able to enjoy this a lot more, and I had a brilliant time out there.”

Smith then spoke about how dangerous his sport was after watching French gymnast Samir Ait Said suffer a broken leg on the men’s vault.

“I think it’s important when things like that happen to try and stay focussed because gymnastics can change in a split second. It’s a very dangerous sport.

“The most beautiful thing about gymnastics is when it’s done properly it looks easy, but it’s far from that.

“We do put our lives on the line, maybe not me when I do pommel horse, but these guys do some pretty big skills and I wish Samir all the best, and I wish everyone a safe competition throughout.”

Smith added: “Exuding confidence affects a lot of things - it affects my confidence, the team’s confidence, the judges.

“When you go out to do a warm-up before your routine, even that’s important because the judges are looking at you.

“If you smash your warm-up they’re going to think that you’re on form. We all felt good in qualifying. We do enough training in the gym where you walk out, and yes you’re nervous, but 90 per cent of the feeling is that you’re going to smash it.”