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Smith happy despite narrow defeat

August 5, 2012 18:06 pm

Great Britain's Louis Smith won Olympic silver in the pommel horse final but saw gold slip through his fingers in an agonising tie-break as team-mate Max Whitlock claimed bronze.

Smith, the 2008 Olympic bronze medallist tipped for glory in London, was the last to perform on the apparatus and watched as his arch-rival, Hungary's double world champion Krisztian Berki, posted a score of 16.066.

The 23-year-old Peterborough-born gymnast, who had seen Whitlock assure himself of a medal with an impressive 15.600-scoring routine, stepped up for his minute in the spotlight to thunderous applause from the home crowd.

Smith produced a stunning performance and matched Berki's score, but expectation in the arena was quickly dashed as he slipped into silver medal position due to a lower execution score - just 0.100 of a mark below Berki - on a tie-break.

Whitlock finished in bronze medal position to take British Gymnastics' medal tally at the Games to three, following the men's bronze success in last week's team final.

Smith admitted he held back on performing his toughest routine, which includes a triple rotation called the 'triple Russian', but is pleased to have come away from the Games with two medals despite missing out on gold.

"To do that routine under that type of pressure with two massive scores to beat, it was very nerve-wracking but I'm glad I'm still alive," Smith said.

"In training, my 17.1 wasn't going to plan, I kept making a few little errors, so my decision was to go for the easier routine.

"He [coach Paul Hall] didn't make it, I did, and afterwards he said: 'That was a good decision'.

"It's hard. The waiting game I call it. It's tough, especially when you put in a good performance like that. I knew straight away as soon as it came up that it was second place."

When asked if he regretted not going for his toughest routine with which he scored 16.325 at this year's British Championships, Smith said: "No, not at all. I could probably be standing here without a medal with tears down my face.

"I've got a silver medal, I've got my third Olympic medal and all those years ago I didn't think I would go to an Olympic Games and get three medals so I'm very happy right now."

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