Commonwealth Games 2014: Louis Smith rekindles the romance after helping England to team gymnastics gold

'I have fallen back in love with the sport,' says gymnast who retired in 2013 before returning

secc precinct

From fat boy to fit boy, the words of Commonwealth gold medallist Louis Smith. No tap shoes and feathers on this dance floor. Biceps and chalk are the tools of this trade and Smith was chuffed to be flexing among his own again on a day England delivered double gold in the team gymnastics.

If we discount the leap into celebrity’s insatiable embrace as a face on Strictly Come Dancing, this constituted his first major competition since claiming silver in the pommel  horse at the London Olympics. And though he contributed in only two of the six disciplines over the past two days, he remains the sport’s most visible presence, evidenced by a haircut that might induce quiff-envy in Elvis .

“I have fallen back in love with the sport. How hard it has been to fight my way back and get to where I am shows how much I am enjoying it,” said Smith, who retired in 2013 before returning to the gym at the start of the year.

“I am very pleased I came back. It has been a brilliant competition. I kind of forgot the buzz. I have been out of the sport for a while and I loved the banter between the Scottish guys and us and going round with the boys.”

The set-up he left behind is not the robust gymnastic community to which he returned. In this he is a victim of his own success, which widened interest and participation. As Smith acknowledged, making it into the England squad is not the same as breaking into a Great Britain team that can call on a deepening talent pool across the home nations.

The Scots were a strong second in the men’s event here, giving the selectors plenty to ponder as the next Olympic cycle begins.

“I am going to have to prove myself even more to get in the British squad,” he said. “We have done well as England but it is a lot tougher a job getting into the GB squad, but this is perhaps a start where they can kind of treat me seriously.

“I think everyone was waiting to see how I did, to see if I have still got it. Everyone else has been training since London. How easy was it to come back from being a fat boy to a skinny boy? Gymnastics is a hard sport and if you’re out of shape it’s even harder.

“But we’re all Olympians, we’ve all worked our backsides off, we know what it is to work hard so ultimately it wasn’t mentally too difficult. Physically I had to do what I had to do. It was a job, it was hard work and thankfully I’ve proved myself and had fun doing it.”

England’s superiority meant their overnight lead, despite the loss of Sam Oldham in the first event of the day, the vault, was never threatened by Scotland, who took silver ahead of Canada. Oldham landed awkwardly in the vault, sustained an injury to his left ankle and was carried off the mat in the arms of the England coaching staff.

With Smith a specialist on pommel and parallel bars, England were down to the bare bones on the final apparatus, the high bar. Nile Wilson, Max Whitlock and Kristian Thomas barely blinked in bringing home the gold after scoring 266.804 to Scotland’s points haul of 257.603.

Smith’s rehabilitation continues today in the individual competition on the pommel. England team-mate Whitlock, who outscored him in the team contest, and Scotland’s Dan Keatings, are likely to be the principal contenders for the big prize.

The women’s England squad – Hannah Whelan, Ruby Harold, Rebecca Downie, Kelly Simm and Claudia Fragapane – celebrate with their gold medals (PA) The women’s England squad – Hannah Whelan, Ruby Harold, Rebecca Downie, Kelly Simm and Claudia Fragapane – celebrate with their gold medals (PA)
England’s women proved the post-Beth Tweddle age is in brilliant hands and feet as they also claimed gold in the team event. The tiny frame of 16-year-old Claudia Fragapane hosts a heart the size of a cannon ball. Fragapane top-scored for England, who led overnight by a narrow margin to Australia, on beam and floor. Her beam display was all the more courageous following Rebecca Downie, who came off the apparatus, albeit executing a move of fearsome difficulty. England finished on a total of 167.555 to Australia’s 161.646.

“You win and lose as a team. I knew I had the support of the girls behind me,” said Fragapane, who could land on a bottle top. “It was just a  matter of keeping my focus and executing.”

Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick