Huntingdon-based gymnast Louis Smith has been handed a two-month suspension after a film appeared online which appeared to show him mocking Islam.
Smith, 27, a silver medal-winning Olympian, said he was “deeply sorry” after the footage, which also appeared to feature fellow gymnast Luke Carson, showed him laughing and pretending to pray.
Smith also appeared to shout ‘Allahu Akbar’, meaning ‘God is the greatest’ in Arabic.
British Gymnastics launched disciplinary proceedings against the pair, the outcomes of which was revealed today (Tuesday).
In a statement, British Gymnastics said: “Louis Smith admitted his behaviour was a breach of the standards of conduct. The panel upheld the allegation and taking into account a previous breach of the standards of conduct heard in June this year (where it also was made clear to Louis the consequences of any further breach), the panel determined a cumulative penalty was appropriate and ordered a two-month period of suspension.”
Carson was given a reprimand, which will remain on his record for a period of two years.
And British Gymnastics chief executive, Jane Allen added: “It is regrettable that following a historic summer of achievement, the organisation finds itself in this difficult position with two high profile members in breach of our standards of conduct.
“As the custodians of the integrity and values of the sport, we have had no choice but to act responsibly and refer this case to an independent panel for their review and determination.
“Whilst both individuals showed remorse following the incident, we hope in the future they use their profile to have a positive impact on sport and communities.”
At the time of the incident, Smith released a statement saying: “I am deeply sorry for the recent video you may have seen.
“I am not defending myself, what I did was wrong. I want to say sorry for the deep offence I have caused and to my family who have also been affected by my thoughtless actions.
“I recognise the severity of my mistake and hope it can be used as an example of how important it is to respect others at all times. I have learnt a valuable life lesson and I wholeheartedly apologise.”
Smith went on to visit a number of mosques in the London area as well as meeting with faith leaders.