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Gymnastics: Louis Smith expects team spirit to rub off on individuals


Louis Smith believes that Britain's gymnasts can capitalise on their team success to win medals in the individual finals which start today. Kristian Thomas and Daniel Purvis, both of whom won bronze medals alongside Smith in the team event on Monday, compete in the individual all-around final this afternoon.

"I think we've got very good opportunities in terms of getting medals in the finals, especially the all-around event," Smith said yesterday. "So our boys just need to keep a level head, keep calm, keep cool, and I really do think there's a real medal opportunity in the all-around event."

After that Smith senses more medal opportunities, including in his own. "And that's not to mention Kristian's vault," Smith said of Thomas's final on Monday afternoon. "His vault in the team final was unbelievable. If he can replicate that in the individual final he's sure to be in with a chance of a medal."

On Sunday afternoon Smith will compete in the pommel horse final, the event in which he won the bronze medal in Beijing four years ago. "Me and Max [Whitlock] on the pommel – Max is a little whippet, when he gets his routine right he can sneak in there, he's a dark horse so look out for him," Smith said in the Adidas 2012 media lounge. "And, obviously, me on the pommel, I'll see if I can do my job, do my routine, and see if I can get a result."

Smith puts this confidence in the individual finals down to the transformative effect of Monday night, when Britain won their first men's team gumnastics medal at an Olympics since 1912. "It makes the rest of our competition more enjoyable," said Smith, "the fact that we've got a medal. If I didn't perform or something happens in my pommel final then I will still come away from this Olympic Games with a medal around my neck. So it really takes the stress off, I can really go out there and try and perform, and see what I can do. If it doesn't happen, I've got a medal."

"I think everyone feels like that, everyone feels a little bit more flamboyant. Everyone can go out there and push it a bit more. I wouldn't say we'd take more risks. They'll be doing the same routines. But they'll definitely feel more confident."