17/08/2008 - Louis Smith is Olympic Pommel Horse Bronze medallist.
Huntingdons Louis Smith, coached by Paul Hall, becomes first Briton for 100 years to win an Individual Olympic Gymnastics medal.
“I JUST LOVE THE FEELING" said Louis
“This medal means so many things, far more than just a result. It’s a statement for all the hard work and shows that British gymnasts can win medals”.
“I’ve never felt this way in my life, unbelievable. I’ve had a taste for it and now I want more”
The Olympic Apparatus Finals
4 Gold medals at stake.
For the Women, Vault and Floor where Beth Tweddle had been waiting and hoping in reserve position. But not to be, the qualifying gymnasts arrived at the arena all fit and well and willing to take their chance.
For the Men, Floor and Pommels. Great Britain’s Louis Smith qualified with Dan Keatings holding a reserve place. For Louis, an opportunity in the best Pommels Final line up ever seen. With a trick or two still up his sleeve Louis had a surprise for the opposition. For Dan it was not to be.
The Finals proved to be a day of enormous pressure as gymnasts with medals in the bag fell time and again.
“I have never seen a competition with so much pressure” commented Paul Hall, “so many falls from the start by the greatest gymnasts in the world”.
For Twice Junior European Champion, Commonwealth Champion and World Medallist Louis Smith a place in the greatest pommel final ever. This time around it was 'Who Dares Wins'. To beat the 2 Chinese or climb the rostrum would take everything in the gymnast’s arsenal. Louis Smith was up for it.
“I felt 100% confident, I knew I was going to go through it was just a question of how clean” he said afterwards.
Xiao Qin, CHN, what a remarkable swing, complex and sharp but a clip of the horse and a wild moment in triple Russian, difficulty, 6.4, 15.875 GOLD
Filip Ude, CRO, might have won with a great routine, but had to hold onto the dismount somehow, diff 6.4, 15.725.SILVER
Louis Smith, GBR, all the skills but a moment’s loss of form. Difficulty 6.7, 15.725. BRONZE. Opening with shear half turn to handstand gave Louis the 2 tenths extra that secured the Bronze medal.
(Filip Ude took the Silver on countback with least deductions from the B jury for form faults).
Asked how it feels to have made gymnastics history, the first British medal in Gymnastics for 80 years, coach Paul Hall replied ”It’s Louis who made the routine and the history. Under pressure he always keeps a cool head, amazing”
“I love the crowd, the noise and the competition” said Louis.
Louis and Paul have been working together since Louis was 8 years old. “Terry Sharpington saw what Louis was capable of before I did”, said Paul, “He is not the classic proportions for gymnastics, not the normal model for sport but what a competitor, put the pressure on Louis and he delivers”.
Louis is not one to be knocked out of his stride by an Olympic Bronze. “ I am having a week off training here in China and then when I get home a weeks holiday with friends in Great Yarmouth”
Men’s Floor saw Gold go to CHINA as Zou Kai won GOLD in a dramatic competition.
Of the favourites, Marian Dragulescu, ROM bombed out wildly and Diego Hypolito, BRA, was perfect until the final double Arabian tucked when he sat down.
And incredible, hard to keep count, Kohei Uchimura, JPN, 13 1/2 twists in 9 somersaults .
Spain’s Gervasio Deferr took SILVER and Anton Golotsukov Russia’s first medal of the Games, BRONZE
Presentation ceremony, Deferr looked down at his medal, it was real, then stood with a grin from ear to ear. Before leaving the stage he launched his floral tribute to his delegation in the stands. What a great gymnast, we need characters like this; in and out of the sport he shares his failings and his successes.
A zero vault (forward take off split hands) for Anna Pavlova left a big space. Cheng Fei landed her second vault on her knees. World Champion Chusovitina took her chance but superior difficulty from Korea won the day.
Hong Un Jong, PRK. Yurchenko 2 1/2 twists, Yurchenko half on front 1 1/2, 15.65, very generous on the first vault. GOLD
Oksana Chusovitina, GER. Handspring front 1/2, Tzukahara double twist, 15.575. SILVER
Cheng Fei, CHN, Yurchenko 2 1/2 twists, Yurchenko half on with 1 1/2 twist off land on her knees. 15.562. BRONZE
Romania saved the best till last, Sandra Izbasa, last up hit 6.5 difficulty and 15.65 to take OLYMPIC GOLD by 0.15.
Shawn Johnson, USA took 0.075 revenge on teammate Nastia Liukin, Silver for Shawn and Bronze for Nastia.
The end of an historic first day of Olympic finals for Great Britain. Tomorrow is another day and another opportunity for Beth Tweddle to double Britain’s medal haul in the Gymnastics arena.