The gymnast opens up about his darkest days

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Louis Smith found it hard to deal with becoming a celebrity after the Beijing Olympics.

The pommel horse star – who won a bronze medal in the 2008 games – found the pressure of becoming a household name claustrophobic.

‘I got really depressed after Beijing,’ admits Louis.

‘I did well at the Olympics, woke up, and everything had completely changed.

‘Everyone knew my face in Peterborough. I couldn’t go out.

‘I only left the house to go to the gym and I really needed my own space.

‘I had to say goodbye to the last 19 years of my life.’

Louis had now adjusted to being a VIP and wants to inspire others who have athletic skills.

‘When I was growing up there weren’t any male gymnasts for me to look up to,’ he tells Weekend magazine. ‘So I have a sense of responsibility to be that person now.

‘I’m happy to be that person.’

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Natalie Walsh