sport

Smith takes Twitter break

Louis Smith says the weight of expectation to improve on the Olympic bronze medal he won four years ago has forced him into a Twitter 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, last 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.

"Some people see it as a distraction. It's not really a distraction but it's not something I want to be too indulged with, feeding my ego and looking at all if the comments saying "you're going to win gold" and "you can do it".

"I just want to focus on what I need to do and preparing in the right way."

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 from the sport after a glittering 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."

However, Tweddle remained cagey whether she will unleash her most complicated dismount, a double somersault and double 360 degree finale, in team qualifications.

"Obviously we have to see what's best for the team in qualification," she said.

"The thing that comes first is the team, hopefully for the team final place, so I'm leaving that one to my coach and our technical director.

"I'm training both routines so I'm seeing what comes up.

"The standards have improved in the sport and there are a lot of people who are doing bigger and better skills.

"With the bigger skills there is that risk of inconsistency so I think in qualification, a lot of people will reduce the difficulty that they will have in finals."