LOUIS Smith is keeping his cards close to his chest ahead of Sunday’s pommel horse final at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The Huntingdon gymnast is one of the favourites in the individual competition but will wait to see how his greatest rival for gold, Hungarian Krisztian Berki, performs before deciding on which of his three routines he will perform at the North Greenwich Arena.
Smith said: “If my main rival, Krisztian Berki, goes through his routine and puts in a high score, it gives me the opportunity to think ‘OK, maybe I need to try my harder routine.’
“My easy routine is still the hardest in the world,” he added.
Smith won a bronze medal in the pommel horse at the last Olympics in Beijing, China, four years ago – and won a second bronze in the final of the men’s artistic team competition on Monday along with fellow Huntingdon Gym member Sam Oldham and teammates Dan Purvis, Kristian Thomas and Max Whitlock.
Paul Hall, Smith’s coach at Huntingdon Gym, told The Hunts Post: “It would have been special if we had finished anywhere in the top eight because that was our target. But the boys performed out of their skins and to win a bronze was brilliant.”
Smith added: “For it to come together on this day is incredible. This means so much and we still have finals left. It’s a beautiful day for the sport and for British gymnastics.”
In qualifying for the pommel horse final, Smith played it safe, pulling off one full Russian move to record 15.800 points, but he was well ahead of France’s Cyril Tommasone, last year’s world championship silver medallist, who qualified second with 15.333.
Berki became a two-time world champion on the pommel horse by executing simpler routines to near perfection. In qualification the 27-year-old was cautious and his score of 15.033 sees him go into the final of the competition ranked fifth. This will give Smith plenty of time to make his Olympic decision.
Set your alarms for Sunday, 3.41pm - and let’s hope it’s another ‘beautiful day’ for British gymnastics, and another medal for Huntingdonshire’s 23-year-old sporting hero.