It’s fair to say Louis Smith is not getting any younger,but the double Commonwealth Games champion is adamant he won’t be shying away from the hard yards as he chases a golden end to his career.
When Smith left the sport post London 2012 he already had an impressive CV to his name with medals at every major international championship.
Back in 2008 his pommel horse bronze saw him became the first British man to win a medal in individual gymnastics at the Olympic Games since Walter Tysall took silver in 1908.
Four years later in front of a home crowd he upgraded to pommel horse silver and added team bronze.
He then went onto swap the pommel horse for the dance floor, gaining a whole legion of new fans en route to winning BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing.
But while admitting at the time he thought his gymnastics career was over, Smith could not escape the lure of the sport and announced at the start of 2014 his intention to put himself in the frame for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
It was a plan that could not have gone better, with team gold and pommel horse bronze – the reverse of what he achieved at Melbourne 2006 – coming his way last summer.
Earlier this year he stepped it up again, adding his first individual European title when he won pommel horse gold for Great Britain in Montpellier.
Despite the successful return though, 26-year-old Smith openly admits it’s not all been plain sailing as he targets his ultimate aim of reaching Rio 2016.
“I’m not exactly where I would like to be but I’m building towards it. It’s slow and steady progress. There’s not been any injuries,” he said.
“I train Monday to Friday but I have to measure things and limit my training so as not to break my body by the end of the week.
“What I used to be able to do is not what I can do now. It’s new ground for me. I did not really know what to expect but I knew it would not be as straight forward as my earlier years. It’s about keeping the progress going.
“I always believed I had the potential to compete and win medals, that was the reason why I cam back and gave it another go.
“Winning gold at the European Championships was an amazing feeling. I really wanted to prove to the selectors and all the people not to overlook me and that I could still be a valuable asset to the team.”
Smith’s next target will be the World Championships from October 23 to November 1 – a competition which represents a return back north to Glasgow and the scene of last year’s Commonwealth success.
He faces plenty of stiff competition to make the team, although Smith insists he relishes the battle, with his passion for the sport as strong as ever.
“I’m still in love with the sport of gymnastics. I’ve loved it ever since I started as a four year old and I love the fact I can do what I love for a job,” he added.
“The dynamics of things are bit different for me, I’m starting to think about what to do when I retire.
“The Worlds will be great, there's a great vibe up in Glasgow," he added.
"It’s brilliant for the city, the Commonwealth Games are almost a year ago and that was an unbelievable event, I had great fun there.
“And the atmosphere in the Hydro was great so hopefully it will be the same for the Worlds.”
© Sportsbeat 2015