Louis Smith's gymnastics silver 'inspiration to all', coach says

Louis Smith celebrates with coach
Image caption Smith celebrates his medal-winning performance with a Team GB coach

A young boy who spent his days somersaulting around car parks is the toast of his gymnastics club after taking a silver medal in the Olympic games.

Peterborough's Louis Smith missed out on individual pommel horse gold by the narrowest of margins after his overall score tied with Hungarian Krisztian Berki.

Adam Scott, a coach the Huntingdon Gynastics Club where he trains, described Smith's performance as an "inspiration to youngsters".

"It's been manic with so many kids wanting to get involved now," he said.

"Louis did the best routine I've ever seen him do. He absolutely nailed it," Mr Scott added.

'Role model'

"It just came down to having an equal score with the guy who's been the best in the world for the last three or four years, so we couldn't have asked for much more.

Image caption Friends cheered on Smith at his local pub, the Blue Boar, in Eye

"Of course it's slightly tinged with what could have been, but he did a fantastic job and we're just so proud of him."

Smith's medal-winning performance was watched on a big screen TV by his fellow gymnasts at the club.

"We had about 100 kids here and they were just amazed, watching their hero," Mr Scott said.

Owen Harrison, 11, who trains at the gym said: "He's a role model. He shows us how to do it and we hope to do it in the future.

"It would be my dream even to get to the Olympics," he said.

'Massive Afro'

His former PE teacher, Nathan Steele, recalled Smith as "a guy with a massive Afro always walking around on his hands".

"People say he was a bit naughty at school, but really he was a charming young man," he said.

"His face - when he found out he'd got silver and was just pipped - we could all see it. It was so close, it could have gone either way really.

"Some of the youngsters who are coming through really do need to look at that video because it just shows you how good he was in defeat, and how professional he was through the whole tournament."

Alison Barron, landlady at Smith's local pub, the Blue Boar in Eye, said: "We're all so proud, words can't describe it.

"We had such a crowd supporting him here. Everyone just wanted to watch him and he performed excellently.

"We just can't wait for Louis to come home now, and he'll get a drink on the house," she added.

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