I'm not a racist, insists Louis Smith amid backlash over Islam video


Olympic gymnast Louis Smith has denied he is a racist while apologising to the Muslim community after appearing in a video in which he appeared to mock Islam.

Footage obtained by a newspaper showed the four-time Olympic medallist, and retired gymnast Luke Carson, pretending to pray to Allah while laughing.

Louis, 27, is being investigated by British Gymnastics and could face disciplinary action.

Louis Smith

Days after the video was revealed online, Smith has apologised, revealing his feelings of "shame".

Speaking to the Daily Mirror, he said it is "the lowest point of my career" and described his actions as "incredibly offensive and very ignorant".

He said: "I want to apologise to everyone in the Muslim community; to people that were offended, even to those that weren't.

"I've worked my whole career to make people proud of me and I'm ashamed to have let everyone down. People who don't know me will see this video and think I'm a racist. The truth is I'm not."

Louis added that he is now "cautious and stressed" after claiming he has received threatening messages through social media since the video's release, but that "the police are aware of the situation".

Earlier this week the athlete shared a message on Twitter to say sorry, writing that what he did "was wrong".

He said: "I recognise the severity of my mistake and hope it can be used as an example of how important it is to respect others at all times."

British Gymnastics said in a statement: "We will be investigating the behaviours reported. Members who break our code of conduct can face suspension or expulsion from our organisation."

Louis, born in Cambridgeshire, won medals at the past three Olympic Games, including silver in the pommel horse at this summer's Rio Games.

He has also enjoyed a successful reality TV career, winning the 2012 series of Strictly Come Dancing.