Louis Smith MBE is Britain’s greatest ever gymnast.
Louis grew up in Peterborough and started Gymnastics at the age of 4. Suffering with severe ADHD as a child, his mum had taken him to try a variety of activities in the hope it would give him the opportunity to release some energy. It was Gymnastics that captured his mind and 3 years after his entry into the sport he began training at Huntingdon Gymnastics Club, travelling over an hour each day with his mum on public transport to receive expert coaching at the club.
Under the guidance of his coach Paul Hall, who is still his coach today, Louis began to excel in the sport and at the age of 15 he won his first major international title, becoming Junior European Champion in 2004. As if that wasn’t enough of an indication of his ability on the world stage, a Commonwealth Gold medal in 2006 put him firmly in the limelight. Just a year later and with much more expectation than he’d ever had, Louis Smith had his first taste of the Olympic atmosphere when he beat the best of the world’s elite competitors in his age group to take the pommel horse gold medal for Team GB at the 2007 Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney, the same year in which he also won a Bronze Medal at the World Championships in Stuttgart.
At the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Louis qualified in 5th place for the final of the men’s pommel horse. Eight days later he went on to win the Bronze Medal and in doing so became the first British gymnast to win a medal in the individual gymnastics at the Olympic Games since Walter Tysall won a silver medal in 1908. He was also the first Briton to win a medal in gymnastics at the Olympic Games since the women’s team won a bronze medal in 1928. Louis’ life changed overnight and he was immediately touted as one of the faces of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The huge build up to the London Games included a number of important major international championships, critical to the development of Louis’ career and ultimately his qualification to the team for London 2012, these included:
- 2009 European Championships, Silver.
- 2010 European Championships, (Team and Individual)
- 2010 World Championships, Silver
- 2011 World Championships, Bronze
- 2012 European Championships, Gold (Team) & Silver (Individual)
With the culmination of a 7 year plan which Louis Smith embarked on from when the London 2012 Games were announced back in 2005, on July 28th, the first morning of the Games, Louis, the captain, led the team to a first place finish and subsequent qualification from their subdivision. Louis himself produced a faultless display on the pommel horse qualifying in first place for the final. The rest was history in the making.
Three days later the team exceeded all expectations, leading by example with another flawless pommel horse routine, Louis Smith captained them to Britain’s first ever men’s Olympic team medal. On August 5th, Louis took on the hardest routine of his life in the pommel horse final securing his highest ever score at a major international championships (16.066) ensuring an historic silver medal, equalling the gold-medal winning score.
Louis Smith MBE is available for Q&A led motivational speeches.