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Kristian Thomas and Louis Smith Put Great Britain on 2012 Olympic Gymnastics Map

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 01:  Kristian Thomas of Great Britain raises his arms after competing on the pommel horse in the Artistic Gymnastics Men's Individual All-Around final on Day 5 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at North Greenwich Arena on August 1, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images
Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIIAugust 1, 2012

No matter what happens in Wednesday's individual all-around competition, Kristian Thomas and Louis Smith have planted a seed for British gymnastics.

Smith deserves credit for kicking off Great Britain's resurgence. He earned a bronze medal in Beijing in 2008 on the pommel horse. It was the first individual medal for any British gymnast since 1928, and the first for a British male since 1908.

That is a nasty drought.

Because of his success, he has brought popularity and financial support to British gymnastics.

He has picked up where he left off in these games in front of his home crowd. With the help of his teammates, most notably Kristian Thomas and Daniel Purvis, the Brits surged to a surprising bronze medal in the team competition.

While Team USA and even Japan (the silver medalist) faltered a bit, the British were money when they needed to be.

Thomas was dynamic in the floor exercise, as was Smith on the pommel horse and Purvis in the vault. Great Britain had the highest combined scores in pommel horse and floor, and the second-highest in vault.  

This really spring-boarded them into a podium spot.

These are the types of performances that create long-lasting momentum. It's not just the financial support that is created through sponsors and endorsements.

It's the example it sets for young British boys and girls. It makes the sport relevant to the potential future gymnast of the country.

That is perhaps the most substantial impact Thomas, Purvis and Smith's success brings. Between this trio, more medals seem likely in the individual events and possibly the all-around.

But win or lose, their most important mission has been accomplished.

 

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