Smith ponders pommel horse gamble

04 August 2012 / 12:29

British gymnast Louis Smith is still deciding whether to roll the dice and play Russian roulette in Sunday's pommel horse final.

The flamboyant gymnast is set to do battle with arch-rival, double world champion Krisztian Berki, in the North Greenwich Arena as he bids to claim Britain's first-ever Olympics gymnastics gold.

Smith will be joined in the final by team-mate Max Whitlock, but it is the 23-year-old Peterborough-born gymnast who is hot favourite to produce another stunning performance and upgrade the bronze medal he won in Beijing four years ago.

Smith is set to perform one of the most difficult routines on the pommel horse which includes a triple Russian - a technically demanding triple rotation - but he also has slightly less high-scoring double and single Russians in his locker if he decides to play it safe.

But, after the success of Monday night when the British men's five won their first-ever Olympic team medal when they claimed bronze, Smith admits the weight of expectation has been lifted and he might go for broke.

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

"The fact that we've got a medal makes the rest of our competition more enjoyable. 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."

Smith was the highest qualifier for the pommel horse final and broke down in tears when he saw his 15.800 score flash up. He then went one better in the team final, looking relaxed as he powered his way to a 15.966 score, eclipsing Berki's 15.033 mark in qualification.