Louis Smith admitted it was a total relief as he clinched his second World Championship silver medal of the week yesterday (October 31) which helped Great Britain to an historic one-two in the pommel horse final.
Smith was part of the men’s team that claimed team silver at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro earlier in the week and took his place alongside Max Whitlock for the pommel horse final.
The 26-year-old from Eye produced a brilliant display to score 16.033 and put himself in pole position with just Whitlock left to go.
But his teammate was also in scintillating form as he racked up 16.133 to nudge Smith into second and seal the gold medal – Britain’s first individual gold at a World Championships.
However, Smith, who was struggling with illness prior to the event, says he was delighted to clinch silver and praised the efforts of his teammate.
“I feel very relieved,” Smith said. “It’s been an effort, I’m only here really to do pommel horse and people might think that’s a small job but it’s quite intense to come here and have all your responsibility on one apparatus.
“I’m pleased I got through my routine because before the start it was up in the air because I was ill so to get to the end of the competition with a silver is unbelievable.
“It’s hard not to be pleased, don’t get me wrong I would love a gold medal, but I’ve been training with the boys very closely for the last four weeks and you see how much effort everyone puts in.
“I put Max under a lot of pressure so for him to go out there and do that routine, fair play to him.”
Smith is a true trailblazer of British gymnastics having claimed bronze on the pommel horse in Beijing 2008 and igniting a renaissance for male gymnasts in the country.
And he says there was pride rather than mixed emotions as he watched his countryman produce a stellar display in Glasgow.
“The best part is being in first and seeing the sixth person go up and when you beat him you know you have got a medal,” Smith added.
“That’s the best part because after that you can pretty much relax because you know you are going to get a medal.
“Max was always going to be the one that if everyone went through their routines it would be close between me and him.
“But I have been playing catch-up since I came back after having two years out of the sport, because everyone else has improved.
“Today was a show of that, I’m on the rise, I did my new routine here and you can see my mindset is all geared towards Rio.
“The standard now is incredible from my first world championships in 2005 it’s crazy so for me and Max to get first and second and post scores in the 16s shows something about the standard we are at.”
Whitlock, who is only the second Briton to win a World Championship gold after Beth Tweddle, who achieved it three times, said: “I had dreamed of this moment but never felt I would get emotional
“Louis did an amazing job to get a massive 16 so to beat that I am over the moon. “There are seven-and-a-half billion people on this planet and we are one and two on the pommel horse.”
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