Daniel Purvis pays tribute to Louis Smith's influence on men's gymnastics


Daniel Purvis has praised Louis Smith for the influence he has had on men's gymnastics as the team gears up for its first Olympic final in over 80 years. 

Thanks to their superb performance in the qualifications at the weekend, Great Britain’s men will appear in the final of the team all-around competition for the first time in 88 years.

The presence of Olympic champions China, as well as the United States and Russia in the final mean it will be tough for the home team to win a medal, but their performance on Saturday — when Britain finished behind only the US and Russia in qualifying — means they have already surpassed expectations.

Purvis, who has also qualified for the final of the men’s individual all-around event in his first Games, believes Smith’s bronze medal in Beijing has galvanised British gymnastics. Smith’s pommel-horse routine secured him a podium spot four years ago and he will seek individual gold on the same apparatus on Sunday.

“What Louis did in Beijing enabled British gymnasts to get sponsorship money, which has really helped my training and everyone else’s,” said Purvis. “The legacy he created is really big and it’s about everyone coming together.

“He is a really good team captain. He is very experienced because of what he learned in Beijing and he let us know what competing at the Olympics would be like. It was pretty much as he said it would be. Until you have done the Olympics, you can’t understand what it is like, so it will be a good test for us.”

There will be no room for mistakes in the final, the rules of which make it far more unforgiving than the ­qualifiers.

In the preliminary round, the teams performed four routines on each of the six pieces of apparatus and the lowest individual score was discarded. In the final, only three gymnasts per team work on each piece of apparatus and every score counts, meaning one mistake could end medal chances.

China’s victory on home soil in 2008, and their World Championship win last year, means they are favourites, despite achieving a total 2.4 points lower than Great Britain’s at the weekend.

“Psychologically, it was important that we finished ahead of them,” Purvis admitted. “We were not expecting it when we came in. We were just hoping to qualify and hit our routines as well as we could but to be above China in qualifying gave us all a lift. The key for the final will be to hit our routines as cleanly as we can. There is an outside chance we can get on the podium and to win a medal would be a dream come true.”

The men hope to build on a satisfying weekend for Great Britain after the women’s team followed their performance by also moving into the final of their all-around event, which takes place tomorrow.

Their work was crowned by the individual display of Beth Tweddle, who was awarded a score of 16.133 for the bars routine that put her through to the final, at the top of the leaderboard for that discipline. Tweddle has three world titles but has never claimed an Olympic medal.

Tweddle had injury fears coming into the Games and revealed: “Twelve weeks ago, I didn’t think I’d be walking into the arena, so to reach the final is the icing on the cake. The last few weeks have been really hard, because the pressure has been on.

“I would have walked out disappointed if I had not done a clean routine and it was the best feeling in the world.”

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam