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Louis Smith

Multiple medal-winning British gymnast Louis Smith has confirmed the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo will be his last. The 29-year-old has won three Olympic medals, with his bronze on the pommel horse at the 2008 Beijing Olympics marking the first win for a British gymnast in the championship since 1928.

He then went on to win silver in the same event at the London Olympics in 2012 and at the Rio Olympics in 2016. However, in a recent television interview, Smith confirmed he was now looking forward to his final attempt to win the elusive gold medal.

In recent years, Smith, who was awarded the MBE for services to gymnastics in the 2013 New Year Honours, has successfully branched out into other ventures, including dancing.

Louis Smith

Photo Credit:Pierre-Yves Beaudouin / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Rip It Up

After winning the television show, Strictly Come Dancing, in 2012 with professional dance partner Flavia Cacace, Smith has continued to dance in the spin-off stage show, Rip It Up.

Initially, he starred in the 2017 show, Rip It Up Dancing Through The 50s, which was declared the most exciting Strictly Come Dancing spin-off ever, as celebrity dancers rocked their way live through hits from the 1950s.

More than 50,000 tickets were sold, and the theme was resurrected for 2018 with the follow-up show, Rip It Up the 60s. Smith has joined forces with fellow Strictly Come Dancing stars Harry Judd and Aston Merrygold to create what has been described as the "ultimate boy band of dance".

The show is a lively piece of musical theatre with singers and a full backing cast of professional dancers. They are powering their way through hits by artists such as Marvin Gaye, The Supremes and Stevie Wonder, conjuring up memories of the decade when England won the World Cup and Neil Armstrong landed on the moon.

 

Tokyo 2020

Smith has described Rip It Up as being even harder than training for the Olympics. While gymnastics training is something he's done his entire life, learning how to dance his way through the vigorous routines in the stage show took him to a whole new level. As it was new territory, he found it incredibly difficult.

As soon as the current UK tour of Rip It Up finishes at the end of this month, he will be commencing some serious gymnastics training again.

He said in a recent interview on breakfast television, "The tour finishes at the end of October and then it's straight back into training for the Olympics, with the Olympic qualifiers in February 2019.

"Hopefully, I can get to the next Olympic Games and give it my fourth and last try, I think. There's no shortage on motivation when you know it's your last chance."

 

Dedication

Smith has been dedicated to his sport since he was a youngster. Born in April 1989, in Peterborough, he began to focus on gymnastics from the age of seven. He excelled on the pommel horse - a piece of artistic apparatus made of a metal frame, with either a wooden or metal body, covered in foam rubber and leather, with handles on top.

The pommel horse requires great strength in the arms and upper body. A typical routine uses both double and single leg work. The gymnast will swing both legs in a circular motion, while performing other disciplines, such as adding variations on the typical circling motion by turning - known as performing moores and spindles.

They will also straddle the pommel with their legs, or move up and down the horse while placing one or both hands on the leather, rather than the handles.

Smith trained hard in gymnastics as a pupil at Arthur Mellows Village College in Glinton, saying in later life that he had sacrificed a lot of things, including his social life and his A-levels, for the sport.

 

Career

His hard work paid off, as he has become one of Great Britain's most successful Olympic gymnasts in history. As a junior, he won the European Championship on the pommel horse twice, in 2004 and again in 2006. The same year, he was fifth in the gymnastics World Cup final.

He has also achieved greatness in other competitions, such as his silver medal-winning performance on the pommel in the apparatus finals of the 2016 British Championship, held at the Echo Arena, Liverpool.

Initially, he had announced his retirement from competitive gymnastics in 2013, when he was 24. However, in January 2014, he changed his mind and went back in the gym to get back in training again. He took part in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, winning the bronze medal in the pommel horse final.

In April 2015, he won the gold medal for Great Britain in the 2015 European Artistic Gymnastics Championship in Montpelier, France. Prior to training for the 2016 Olympics and winning the silver medal in Rio, this was his first individual European win, with an impressive score of 15.8.

We can't promise you'll ever be as talented as Louis Smith - but we can promise that if you use Coruba's range of rubber gym mats, your gym experience will be more enjoyable and much safer!

Health and safety in the gym is crucial, and the best equipment is essential for gymnastics, yoga, workouts, Pilates, cross fit and high-intensity interval training. Contact us on 01702 560194 or email info@coruba.co.uk for further details on our range of rubber gym matting products.



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