Strictly Come Dancing’s Louis Smith opens up in new book

My Story So Far

My Story So Far - Credit: Archant

IF YOU have read only one book from start to finish in your life, it might as well be your own.

Barclays Spaces for Sport, Louis Smith at the Manor Leisure centre, Whittlesey. Picture: Steve Willi

Barclays Spaces for Sport, Louis Smith at the Manor Leisure centre, Whittlesey. Picture: Steve Williams - Credit: Archant

Louis Smith – My Story So Far recalls the gymnast’s rise to fame, from hyperactive young boy to Olympic medal-winning glory.

The 24-year-old spoke to The Hunts Post between signings in Leeds and Sheffield last week and admitted he was not a big reader.

“I’ve only read one book all the way through and that’s my own,” he said. “I just wanted to share what I’ve been through, stuff I don’t talk about in interviews.”

Being brought up by a single parent mum and being diagnosed with ADHD are in there, as is the “whirlwind” of the last 12 months.

“This time last year I would have been training in France, getting ready to come over for the Olympics,” he said. “I was in a completely different frame of mind.

“Everything I have done in the last year has been a whirlwind ... so many emotions, achievements and accolades.”

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His Olympic silver and bronze medals and being presented with an MBE were his proudest moments, winning Strictly Come Dancing was the most fun, but being on an ITV game show was the most stressful.

Louis’ appearance on The Cube – a series of mental and physical tests – was made more daunting because he was raising money for his beloved Huntingdon Gymnastics Club.

“It looks like a fun game when you’re sitting watching on the sofa,” he said.

“I’d never do it again. It’s so stressful. You feel so on your own in the cube and then the door shuts. When it’s for charity, it becomes a whole bigger deal.”

Louis won £50,000. “Hopefully, it will go a long way,” he said. “The club is and always will be basically my home. I spent 19-odd years there training and making friends.

“I was a young hyperactive kid and they taught me so many different things - how to conduct myself, how to be punctual and respectful.”

Louis will be back there later this month to sign copies of his book. He is also looking forward to helping run a summer camp there in August, with his coach Paul Hall.

Long term, Louis said he would be interested in coaching at Huntingdon and possibly starting up his own club, “when life calms down a bit”.

Before then, he has several “things in the pipeline” and has just filmed a documentary for the Channel 5 show My Secret Past, focusing on his experience of ADHD.

Louis is quick to point out he has not retired from competitive gymnastics. “At any point, if I want to get back into it, I can. I’ve not got a burning desire to compete but I miss training. The stress and emotion you carry with you for four years from one Olympics to another takes a lot out of you.”

For now, he is focused on promoting his book and will be at Huntingdon Gymnastics Club, in Mayfield Road, Huntingdon from 6-9pm on Monday.

He said: “It’s nice to meet the fans, especially ones from Twitter. I had a girl yesterday who burst into tears, she was just bawling her eyes out. I got up and gave her a hug but it made her worse!”