Can Peterborough-man Jake Jarman emulate his Olympic hero?

Jake Jarman showing the form that won him a World Championship gold medal in the vault. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)Jake Jarman showing the form that won him a World Championship gold medal in the vault. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Jake Jarman showing the form that won him a World Championship gold medal in the vault. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
​Gunthorpe gymnast Jake Jarman admits to being inspired by Louis Smith and now he wants to emulate him.

​Jarman was 10 when watching Eye resident Smith win a silver medal at the London Olympic Games in 2012.

Jarman had by then joined the same Huntingdon club that Smith attended. Twelve years on and Jarman has been selected to follow in Smith’s footsteps as a local man heading to an Olympics as a genuine medal hope.

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Jarman (22) is part of a five-strong male GB gymnastics squad travelling to Paris for the 2024 Games. The gymnastics events run from July 27 to August 5 with Jarman tipped to compete strongly for gold in the Vault final on August 4.

Jake Jarman on the pommel horse at the 2024 GB Championships. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images).Jake Jarman on the pommel horse at the 2024 GB Championships. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images).
Jake Jarman on the pommel horse at the 2024 GB Championships. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images).

"The first memory I have of wanting to be an Olympian was in 2012," Jarman told the BBC. "We were watching Louis in the pommel horse final. We had a massive projector screen on the wall, and I thought 'yeah, I want to be a part of this'.

"From that moment on, I pretty much dedicated every single day to being able to achieve that dream.

"Now I'm in a position where I've got a lot of athletes and people who look up to me so I feel like I have the privilege of being able to help inspire the next generation in the same way Louis did to myself as a young kid.”

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Jarman has won 14 major championship medals in the last two years which includes one World Championship gold, three European Championship golds and four Commonwealth Games golds.

He won world gold in the vault in 2023 – the first British gymnast to win the title – and he will be a favourite for Olympic gold in the same discipline.

"It would be an absolute dream come true to come back with an Olympic medal, but I don't want to put that pressure on myself," Jarman added.

"I'd hate to look back on an Olympic experience and say 'I wish I'd enjoyed it more, I wish I'd taken everything in.' I just want to be able to have fun and look back and think of it as a good memory, rather than a bad one.

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"There have definitely been some stressful situations, but I feel the reason I deal with it so well is because I go with the attitude of just doing what I can and enjoying it.

"I've tried saying 'I'm going to do this, I'm going to win,’ but being over-confident doesn't work for me. It makes me compete differently to how I train and that's when you make mistakes."

LOUIS SMITH

Smith competed across three Olympic Games winning two silver and two bronze medals.

At his first Olympics in Beijing in 2008, he secured a bronze medal in the men's pommel horse, becoming the first British man to reach a gymnastics event podium for a century.

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In 2012 in London Smith tied with Krisztián Berki of Hungary on the pommel horse, but was awarded a silver medal based on ‘execution score.’ He was also part of the GB men’s team that won bronze, medalling for the first time in 100 years!

Smith came out of retirement to win a silver behind teammate Max Whitlock on the pommel horse in Rio, 2016 thus becoming only the second man to win medals on the same apparatus at three successive Olympics.