London Spy

British medal hopes: Louis Smith

London Spy

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Smith on the pommel horse at the London 2012 test event

Four years ago Louis Smith rewrote British Olympic history. In finishing third in the pommel horse in Beijing, Smith, then 19, became the first Briton to win a medal in an individual gymnastics event since Walter Tysall claimed silver at the 1908 Games in London.

However, despite ending Britain's 100-year barren spell in gymnastics, Smith found his achievement largely overshadowed by Team GB's gold rush in other sports.

Fast forward to 2012 and Smith is certain to be back in medal contention in London. This time, though, he is determined to get a better result than the comparative anonymity of a bronze medal.

Such is his determination to stand at the top of the podium in London that he will take an all-or-nothing approach by attempting a move rarely seen in gymnastics competitions: a triple Russian on one handle. It involves a risky combination of three rotations of the body and demands ultimate focus, balance and strength.

Smith's strategy, seen as a gamble by many, is due to an acceptance that there are rivals who are more technically gifted than he is. By accepting his limitations, he will attempt to usurp the rest of the field by completing a routine with a higher difficulty score.

His two silver medals at the 2010 European Championships and another second place on the pommel horse at the World Championships the same year showed that Smith has the ability to challenge the very best. Should he pull off his risky routine, gold will surely follow in London.

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