Three time Olympic medallist Louis Smith has announced that he will be returning to full time training in an attempt to qualify and compete for England at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Following his successes at London 2012, where Louis took team bronze before securing individual silver on the pommel horse (to add to his pommel bronze from Beijing, 2008), he took a break from the sport to pursue other activities and consider his future in gymnastics.
Louis has now decided to return to training in a bid to compete at this summer’s Commonwealth Games, saying:
“I always said that everything that I was working on was geared towards 2012 and when I achieved what I did at the London Olympics, within myself I believed that I had taken part in my last ever competition in the sport”
“However, recently my feelings have started to change. I loved commentating at the World Championships in October however there was a large part of me that felt I should be competing. I know what I’m still capable of when I’m in peak condition. I believe I can very much compete amongst the best in the world and challenge for medals.”
Speaking of the tough qualification process for the Commonwealth Games, Louis added:
“Qualifying for Team England will be no easy feat. People may assume that my achievements to date will mean a place in the team however that couldn’t be further from the case. The strength in depth in this country is at a level that it’s never been before with a large number of hugely talented gymnasts all competing for places. I will have to earn my place on the team which is not going to be easy and even if I achieve the necessary standards, it will still come down to the selectors”.
“If I don’t make the team, then I can be proud that I have been a part of the success that has driven on these young gymnasts to reach higher standards and take the sport forward and I’ll look forward to following and supporting them all at the Games. In any case, I look forward to getting back in the gym and keeping my gymnastic fitness at a level that I have become used to over the years”
And speaking of the Commonwealth Games this summer, he said:
“I loved competing at the Commonwealth Games in 2006. It’s such a friendly competition and one that I’d be so eager to be a part of again.
As far as I am concerned, should I qualify, this will be my last hurrah. The 2012 Olympics were everything to me and I believe that without the successes that I had there, my life could have taken a very different path over the last year and a half. So I can go to the Commonwealth Games knowing that whatever happens, I will have achieved everything I ever dreamt of in gymnastics”.
“But I am an athlete and as has always been the case, I will be there in the pursuit of success. I’m not done with gymnastics yet. I have unfinished business. Should I qualify; the opportunity to compete on home turf again is one that I will relish”.