Louis Smith: Olympic gymnast to make comeback

Smith pipped to pommel gold

British gymnast Louis Smith has announced he will return to training in an attempt to compete for England at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Smith, 24, took a break after winning individual silver and a team bronze at the London Olympics in 2012.

"I'm not done with gymnastics yet. I have unfinished business," said Smith, who also won Olympic bronze in 2008.

"I believe I can very much compete amongst the best in the world and challenge for medals."

Smith, who won the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing television show during his break from gymnastics, said qualification for the Commonwealth Games would not be straightforward.

"People may assume that my achievements to date will mean a place in the team," he said. "However, that couldn't be further from the case.

"The strength in depth in this country is at a level it's never been before, with a large number of hugely talented gymnasts all competing for places.

Louis Smith wins Strictly Come Dancing

"I will have to earn my place on the team, which is not going to be easy. Even if I achieve the necessary standards, it will still come down to the selectors."

Smith added that the Commonwealth Games would be his last major sporting event.

"Should I qualify, this will be my last hurrah," said the Peterborough-born star, who was made an MBE in 2012.

"The 2012 Olympics were everything to me and I believe that without the successes that I had there my life could have taken a very different path over the last year and a half.

"So I can go to the Commonwealth Games knowing that whatever happens, I will have achieved everything I ever dreamt of in gymnastics."

Smith's coach at Huntingdon Gym, Paul Hall, told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire he had expected the Olympian to make a return to competition.

"I'm not surprised. I've been speaking to Louis throughout the year and he's a competitive animal," Hall said.

"He's always harboured a feeling to come back to competition after a rest and to finish his business at a competition he loves.

"Selection is never guaranteed. He could end up not even being selected for the Commonwealth Games. With the upsurge in quality in British gymnastics there are about 10 gymnasts who could make the England team. It will be a real big ask.

"Now it's about putting in the hours and the repetitions on the horse. I've already seen him in the gym and do some of the elements from his Olympic programme and he's also thrown in some of the new moves that guys like Max Whitlock are trying."

Smith said he thought he had made his last competitive appearance at the London Games, at which he won silver in the pommel.

"Everything that I was working on was geared towards 2012 and, when I achieved what I did at the London Olympics, I believed that I had taken part in my last ever competition in the sport," he said.

He commentated on last year's World Championships for BBC Sport but admitted "there was a large part of me that felt I should be competing".

He added: "I know what I'm still capable of when I'm in peak condition."

The Commonwealth Games begin on 23 July and run until 3 August.