Four-time Olympic medalist Louis Smith has been handed a two month suspension by British Gymnastics over a video in which he appears to mock Muslim prayer practices.
Smith – who is also known to TV audiences as the winner of the 2012 series of Strictly Come Dancing, and is currently taking part in the Keep Dancing stage production – had already apologised for the incident, in which he is seen laughing as retired gymnast Luke Carson mimics the religious custom.
“I am deeply sorry for the recent video you may have seen,” said Smith in a post on his Twitter account last month. “What I did was wrong. I want to say sorry for the deep offence I have caused and to my family who have also been affected by my thoughtless actions…
“I have learnt a valuable life lesson and I wholeheartedly apologise.”
An apology from me pic.twitter.com/Fns7tsKD96
— Louis Smith MBE (@louissmith1989) October 9, 2016
Smith followed up his apology with visits to two mosques and posted a video saying the experience had been “a very big eye-opener”.
— Victoria Derbyshire (@VictoriaLIVE) October 19, 2016
Speaking about Smith’s suspension, British Gymnastics chief executive Jane Allen said: “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.
“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.”
British Gymnastics said Smith’s ban was a “cumulative penalty” for breaching its standards of conduct on multiple occasions.
In June, the sporting body initiated a disciplinary procedure after Smith posted an image of a then-16-year-old US gymnast on Twitter, along with an “unbefitting” comment, while in April Smith apologised for remarks made about judges at the British Championships after he was beaten into silver medal position by Max Whitlock.