Louis Smith: No 'battle' with GB team-mate Max Whitlock ahead of Olympics

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Max Whitlock beats Louis Smith at British Championships

Louis Smith has played down his rivalry with fellow Team GB Rio 2016 gymnastics squad member Max Whitlock.

Smith finished second to Whitlock in the pommel horse final at the 2015 World and 2016 British Championships.

"Even if me and Max are in a pommel final, psychologically we never see it as a battle, we never see it as me versus Max," Smith told BBC Look East.

"Max wants to go to the competition and do the best routines he can do. That's exactly what I want."

He continued: "In the qualifying, team finals, all-round finals, we're all very supportive of each other.

"When it comes to an apparatus final, if we're both in that final I'm not going to be worried about him, he's not going to be worried about me. The only thing we're both going to be worried about is performing under pressure."

Team GB men's gymnastics team
Kristian Thomas, Nile Wilson, Brinn Bevan, Max Whitlock and Louis Smith are Team GB's men's gymnastics team for Rio 2016

After winning silver in the pommel horse and bronze in the team event at London 2012, Smith briefly retired from the sport and won BBC show Strictly Come Dancing.

But having become the first male British gymnast to win an individual Olympics gymnastics medal in 100 years with pommel horse bronze at Beijing in 2008, he returned to the sport in 2014.

In 2015, he became pommel horse European champion in France and later that year finished second behind Whitlock in the Worlds, while taking a step back from media commitments.

"I always consider myself as a gymnast first," he continued.

"I didn't broadcast that I'm not doing any media stuff for this reason, to prove to everyone that I'm a gymnast.

"I hope that subconsciously slowly coming out of the limelight of the celebrity world would help British Gymnastics see that I'm serious about my sport.

"I kind of thought the less magazines I'm in, the less it looks like I'm using this comeback as a gimmick. Especially after 2015 becoming European champion and second best in the world, I felt I'd done enough to show British Gymnastics I mean business.

"Sacrificing those shallow things for me, although they are fun at the time, if I'm going to look back at my life in 10-15 years time, it's moments like these (Olympic selection) I'll be most proud of."