Gymnast Louis Smith banned over video mocking Islam

Olympic gymnast and one-time Strictly Come Dancing winner Louis Smith has been handed a two month ban for “mocking Islam” in a video clip.


The video, which was filmed by the four-time Olympic medallist and leaked to the media, shows him laughing while fellow gymnast Luke Carson mimics Islamic prayer. He later said he was “deeply sorry for his thoughtless actions.”

“It is regrettable that following a historic summer of achievement, the organisation finds itself in this difficult position with two high-profile members in breach of our standards of conduct,” British Gymnastics chief Jane Allen said in a statement.

“As the custodians of the integrity and values of the sport, we have had no choice but to act responsibly.

"Whilst both individuals showed remorse following the incident, we hope in the future they use their profile to have a positive impact on sport and communities.”


Smith’s two-month ban is a “cumulative penalty” resulting from previous breaches of its rules. In April he was forced to apologise after criticising the judging at the British Championships, which saw him lose out to Max Whitlock on the pommel horse.

He was in trouble again in June when he posted an image of American gymnast Carly Patterson’s backside on social media alongside the caption: “My sport has its moments.”

British Gymnastics slammed his crude comments as “unbefitting to a participant”. Patterson was just 16 at the time the photo was taken at Athens 2004.


Smith missed last month’s Olympic celebrations for Britain’s Rio 2016 medallists to visit two London mosques “to learn more about the Muslim community”.

He admits he has previously been “ignorant to people’s religion” and added on Facebook that it was his responsibility “as someone of sporting influence” to exercise freedom of speech “in good taste”.