Team GB’s Olympic success inspires young athletes to go for gold

Future Olympic gymnast hopeful Lottie Smith of Sorrel Close, Stamford, who trains with medallist Louis Smith'Photo; SM010812-055js
Future Olympic gymnast hopeful Lottie Smith of Sorrel Close, Stamford, who trains with medallist Louis Smith'Photo; SM010812-055js
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TEAM GB’s Olympic medal success is inspiring young athletes to go for gold themselves.

Gymnast Lottie Smith, 11, of Sorrel Close, Stamford, trains at the same Huntingdon gym as newly-crowned Olympic bronze medallist Louis Smith.

Lottie, who competes at a national level herself, watched the Team GB men surpass expectations in the team gymnastics event on Monday on a big screen at Huntingdon Gymnastics Club.

Lottie has trained alongside Louis before and seeing his success has inspired her to focus on becoming an Olympian herself.

She said: “The Olympics have been great so far. I have watched a lot of it. I really enjoyed watching the gymnastics and I didn’t expect them to do as well as they did.

“I was in the gym watching it and it was fabulous. It has inspired me to try and compete at the Olympics one day.”

Lottie, who will start Year 7 at Stamford High School in September, was given the chance to train with the Team GB gymnasts earlier this year after impressing coaches at the Girls’ Independent Schools Gymnastics Association English Championships, where she was crowned under 11 champion.

She added: “When I trained with the Team GB squad they gave me lots of advice. It was a lot of fun.”

Lottie, whose favourite gymnasts are Team GB members Hannah Whelan and Rebecca Tunney, will be watching Louis on TV on Sunday when he competes for a gold medal in the individual pommel horse competition.

And she will be in London on Tuesday with her 
mum Trudy to watch 
the final day of the gymnastics.

Trudy runs a gymnastics club at Stamford Junior School that boasts more than 70 members, and thinks Team GB’s success in their home country will inspire a new generation of Olympians.

She said: “The games have been really important for the country.

“Gymnastics is a dedicated sport, to get to the top you have to be very committed. Lottie is only 11 but she puts in 21 and a half hours of training a week.

“The men’s team winning a medal show the children it is worth putting the hours in.”

Members of Burghley Pony Club were celebrating on Tuesday when Team GB’s equestrian eventing riders won a silver medal.

Some of the youngsters who ride for the club met medallist Mary King at a recent event and were thrilled to see her success.

Club district commissioner Robbie Reid said: “It has inspired the members. All sports people set their goals based on what’s in front of them and you can see that happening now.

“Last year Team GB dressage hopeful Laura Bechtolsheimer visited our branch and spent the day teaching our members. We wish her the best of luck as she now rides for the British Olympic team.

“One of our members, Jessica Varley, has her eye on competing in the games in Brazil in 2016. She will be watching this year knowing what she has to do to try and get there.”

Oundle School and former Copthill School pupil Jessica is a modern pentathlete and has to tackle pistol shooting, fencing, 200m freestyle swimming, show jumping, and a 3km cross-country run.

She is part of the UK Athletics world class talent programme, which is training her for the next Olympics.

She said: “My aim is to compete in the modern pentathlon in the 2016 Games.

“Watching Team GB has definitely given me inspiration. I have got a lot of events coming up and it has been interesting watching them and then going out to compete myself.

“I thought it was really exciting for eventing in general when the team won silver. They were really unlucky not to get the gold.”

A young swimmer has also been celebrating a medal haul this week. Olivia Lee, seven, from Market Deeping, won four medals at the Amateur Athletic Union Junior Olympics in Houston, Texas.