Smith takes Twitter break

24 July 2012 / 17:30

Gymnast Louis Smith admits the weight of expectation to improve on the Olympic bronze medal he won four years ago has forced him into a social media blackout.

The pommel horse specialist, who won Britain's first Olympic medal in 80 years in Beijing, is going to ground in a bid to focus on producing a world-beating performance at the North Greenwich arena during London 2012.

Smith faces stiff competition to improve on his record at the last Games in the form of double world champion Krisztian Berki of Hungary, Japan's Kohei Uchimura and France's Cyril Tommasone.

The 23-year-old Peterborough-born gymnast acknowledged the British team feels the pressure to succeed in London more than most and as a result he is staying off Twitter and Facebook.

Smith said: "We have felt the pressure ever since the (London) Games was announced. Ever since we've been doing well and we won that medal in Beijing and the results have been happening the pressure has been building. There's always going to be that expectation but for any GB athlete I think it's a little bit more than the other nations."

As a result, on Monday night, Smith bid farewell to his 12,500 Twitter followers so he is not "indulged" by all of the positive support.

He said: "I said goodbye to my followers on Twitter and swiped all of my notifications off, off, off, so yeah my phone has gone a bit quiet. Obviously we want to build a reputation and go into different things after this to show the public who we are but this can reflect that or not in this Olympic Games.

"Depending what happens we can make a living out of it so I really want to put everything I can into this Olympic Games and if that means not tweeting and staying off Facebook and really focussing on what I have to do, I'll do that."

Beth Tweddle, Team GB's best women's gymnastics medal hope on the asymmetrical bars, confirmed she is fully fit for the Games despite still sleeping with a £3,500 ice machine strapped to her left knee. The 27-year-old is taking one final shot at Olympic glory before retiring after a career which has seen her claim three world titles and six European titles.

Tweddle said: "I've proved to the selectors that I've got a full bar routine back and pretty much a full floor routine. Obviously floor is more for the team now than for me on a personal basis. I do still sleep in my ice machine but luckily I've got a single room so I'm not keeping anyone else awake."