Rio medallist embarrassed by leaked video

Britain's Louis Smith on his way to winning a silver medal in the men's pommel horse at the Rio Olympics. He faces suspension by British Gymnastics over a video in which he apparently mocked Islam.
Britain's Louis Smith on his way to winning a silver medal in the men's pommel horse at the Rio Olympics. He faces suspension by British Gymnastics over a video in which he apparently mocked Islam.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • Olympic silver medallist Louis Smith could be suspended by British Gymnastics after a video in which he appeared to mock Islam was published online by The Sun newspaper.

Footage showed Smith, 27, and fellow gymnast Luke Carson laughing while pretending to pray and shouting "Allahu Akbar" (God is great).

That prompted officials to issue a statement on Monday that said: "British Gymnastics does not condone the mocking of any faith or religion and is appalled by such behaviours.

"Gymnastics is an inclusive sport and we are proud of members who portray the inclusive values of British Gymnastics.

"Members who break our code of conduct can face suspension or expulsion from our organisation. We will be investigating the behaviours reported."

This year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro saw Smith win a silver medal on the pommel horse.

Smith said after the Games he was planning to spend a year away from gymnastics to concentrate on other ventures.

He apologised for the video on Twitter by saying: "I am deeply sorry for the recent video you may have seen.

"I am not defending myself, what I did was wrong. I want to say sorry for the deep offence I have caused and to my family who have also been affected by my thoughtless actions.

"I recognise the severity of my mistake and hope it can be used as an example of how important it is to respect others at all times.

"I have learnt a valuable life lesson and I wholeheartedly apologise."

Smith is no stranger to controversy, however, and was warned in April about his conduct after a Twitter outburst questioning the judging of the national championships where he lost out to Max Whitlock.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 12, 2016, with the headline 'Rio medallist embarrassed by leaked video'. Print Edition | Subscribe