Two-time Olympic silver medallist Louis Smith MBE has announced his retirement from competitive gymnastics.
The 29 year-old from Eye won Great Britain’s first individual Olympic medal in 100 years in 2008 then won medals again in 2012 and 2016. He was one of Britain’s most successful artistic gymnasts.
He won a silver on the pommel and a team bronze at London 2012 and secured another pommel silver in Rio four years later.
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 mocking 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.
He announced his decision to call it a day on social media this morning (November 8).
The announcement read:
The day that every sportsman and woman knows will come at some point has finally arrived for me, as today I’m announcing my retirement from competitive gymnastics after 25 years in the sport.
Gymnastics 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. In addition to the continued development of my gymnastic academies, I have every intention of giving back as much as I can to a sport that gave me so much.
For the past 18 months my intention had always been to return to full training this month, ahead of competing in the upcoming World Cup series of competitions, so as to hopefully qualify my place at the Tokyo Olympics. Recently, with the changes in the qualification criteria, in addition to exciting opportunities that I’ve been presented with as I look to the next stage of my career beyond gymnastics, I had to make the very difficult decision to finally hang up my leotard.
In doing so, my eternal thanks has to go to my coach Paul Hall, who has been there with me through it all and without whom I would never have reached the heights I did in the sport. And thanks also to my team-mates over the years who have continued to motivate and inspire me to be the best gymnast I can be. To the gymnastics fans across the country for their unending support, and of course to my mum, for all the support and unconditional love that she has shown and continues to show me, and without whom my dreams would never have been realised.
I’m so excited for what the future holds and this next stage in my life, and can only hope that it brings me as much joy as gymnastics has to this point. Stay tuned for updates, and I hope to see you all very soon!
LOUIS SMITH ROLL OF HONOUR
Silver 2012 London Pommel Horse
Silver 2016 Rio de Janeiro Pommel Horse
Bronze 2008 Beijing Pommel Horse
Bronze 2012 London Team
Silver 2010 Rotterdam Pommel Horse
Silver 2015 Glasgow Team
Silver 2015 Glasgow Pommel Horse
Bronze 2007 Stuttgart Pommel Horse
Bronze 2011 Tokyo Pommel Horse
Gold 2015 Montpellier Pommel Horse
Gold 2012 Montpellier Team
Silver 2009 Milan Pommel Horse
Silver 2010 Birmingham Team
Silver 2010 Birmingham Pommel Horse
Silver 2012 Montpellier Pommel Horse
Silver 2016 Bern Team
Gold 2006 Melborne Pommel Horse
Silver 2014 Glasgow Team
Bronze 2006 Melbourne Team
Bronze 2014 Glasgow Pommel Horse