Louis Smith and Max Whitlock in Olympic gymnasts party

  • 18 August 2012
  • From the section England
Media captionOlympic gymnast Louis Smith was joined by fans at his Huntingdon gym

Olympic medal winning gymnasts Louis Smith and Max Whitlock celebrated their Team GB success with thousands of fans on Saturday.

Smith visited the Huntingdon gym where he trains, before being cheered through the streets of his home city Peterborough on an open-top bus.

Whitlock was the guest of honour in his home town of Hemel Hempstead with a reception at the town's civic centre.

It followed a homecoming party where he trains in Basildon on Wednesday.

The 19-year-old scored 15.600 on the pommel horse which landed him a bronze in the event, with team-mate Smith winning a silver medal.

Both gained a bronze in the men's gymnastics team competitions, GB men's first Olympic team medal since a bronze in 1912.

'We've inspired people'

Speaking ahead of the reception Whitlock said: "It feels really good to be home.

Image caption Max Whitlock met with fans at his homecoming in Hemel Hempstead

"I got a really nice welcome back in Essex with people asking for my photo and autographs. I then got noticed when I went shopping in Hemel - it's a really strange feeling.

"To come back from my first Olympic Games in my home country with two medals I can't ask more than that. Its feels good that we've inspired people and put gymnastics on the map."

As Whitlock was lunching with the mayor in Hemel Hempstead, 70 miles away in Peterborough Smith was riding through the city centre in an open top bus to be greeted in Cathedral Square by an estimated 3,000 fans.

Mayor George Simons presented Smith with traditional civic gifts in recognition of his achievements in the games.

Rio 2016

Speaking after meeting his fans and signing hundreds of autographs the 23-year-old gymnast said: "It's been an emotional day and now my wrist hurts, this is why I don't work in an office - I don't like writing.

Image caption About 3,000 people turned out to meet Louis Smith in Peterborough

"It was a crazy competition. To be in that arena and experience it as a British athlete in the home Games was the craziest feeling.

"We had such an amazing time. The scariest time of our lives, but the most exhilarating and emotional - such a journey," he added.

Pep Cippriano, from Peterborough City Council, said: "Today was a fabulous atmosphere. It was something we were always going to do for Louis. It's important to celebrate that he still lives in our city, he's our home hero."

On the subject of Rio 2016 Smith refused to be drawn, saying: "It's four years away, it just seems crazy to think about it now".

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