Louis Smith officially got the festive party started in Peterborough  switching on the city’s Christmas lights on Saturday November 14, and ESP’s Mikey Clarke was there to grab a word with our local star…


The Olympic legend and Strictly Come Dancing winner switched on the city centre Christmas lights, joined on stage by Heart presenters Kev and Roz, Mayor Cllr John Peach and Father Christmas himself!

Louis-AU8A9608Before heading over to his screaming fans, Louis was kind enough to give ESP Magazine five minutes of his time. The gymnast recently won Silver at the World Championships, so I started our conversation on that subject. “At the start of 2015 I set myself targets for the year ahead, and I’ve hit those targets,” he told me. “The World Championship was the last hurdle before 2016 starts. At the start of the year I needed to get into the World Championship team, and I did that. I knew I had to do well in the team as it would put me in a good place to make the European Championships in 2016, and I did that also. Hopefully all I’ve done is enough because whoever ends up in the European Championships is pretty much the team that is going to be in the Olympics.”


I’ve interviewed Louis a few times for ESP Magazine. The last time we spoke, he wasn’t sure if Rio would be on the cards as he had so much going on. It was therefore great to hear he was keen to represent England once again. “Well, to come second in the World Championships, I think you’d be silly not to go for Rio,” he told me. He’s brought home a Silver and Bronze Olympic Medal in previous years – will Rio see him win Gold? “I don’t want to jinx anything as I’m not even in the team yet – but if given the opportunity, I’m going to try my best – and what will be will be.”

Will we be seeing other locals competing in future Olympic Games? He told me, “I ran a Gymnastics Camp during the summer, which I took up and down the country. They were all sold out there was so much enthusiasm from the kids. I regularly have parents approach me in the streets or on the train telling me that I’ve inspired their kids to do gymnastics. It seems very popular.”

Louis-1Those who don’t know Louis Smith for his gymnastic career may know him as the winner of Strictly Come Dancing in 2012. Does he still use any of those moves on the Edwards dancefloor? “As I’m trying to get my mind and body focused on the World Championships, I’ve not been clubbing for a while,” he said. “However, I’m always having a dance around the house – trying to replicate the moves I learnt during Strictly. I love to have a little dance and find any excuse to move – in fact, you may have seen me moving about recently on Children In Need.”

Being a lad’s lad, I wondered if his mates gave him a hard time for dancing around in sequins. “The boys were sceptical to start with. I then invited them onto the show, and with them being on the front row experiencing the full force of Strictly, they understood it and appreciated it much better.” And who does he think is going to win this year’s Strictly? “My money is on Peter Andre!”


The girls in the ESP office particularly like to see Louis on the tele. I overheard the term ‘eye candy’ recently. Will we be seeing him on the TV again any time soon? “There’s a few things in the pipeline – unfortunately nothing I can talk about right now. But, my main focus is on the gymnastics. I can get involved in the media anytime – but I’m not getting any younger so I have to dedicate most of my time right now to sport.”


At this point, it was time for Louis and Santa to head over to the stage. My final question was what he was going to be asking Santa for this Christmas. “I actually know what I’ll be getting. My girlfriend has got me kitchen knives. She was trying to talk me out of buying some when we went shopping recently. In the end she had to confess she’d got me some as a gift.”

I think 2016 is going to be an unforgettable year for Louis. Keep checking for updates on the local legend. Watch my chat with Louis here…

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Photos: Chris Brudenell for ESP Magazine

Video: Mitchell Brewster Media for ESP Magazine




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