Louis Smith misses Olympic celebrations to visit mosques after video apology

Louis Smith misses Olympic celebrations to visit mosques after video apology
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Louis Smith missed the Olympic celebrations in Manchester to visit mosques

Olympic gymnast Louis Smith missed celebrations for Rio medallists in Trafalgar Square to visit mosques, after he appeared to mock Islam in a video last week.

The four-time medallist said he apologised to people in the Muslim community for the footage which showed him pretending to pray to Allah while laughing.

In a message posted on his Facebook page on Tuesday evening, he said: “I accepted the offer to learn more about the Muslim community and Islam. I honestly can say it was actually a really good day.

“I was a little nervous and anxious before visiting because of the events in the last week. But the people and the community were so understanding and inviting.”

He said he was “ignorant to people’s religion” and that it was his responsibility, as “someone of sporting influence”, to exercise his opinions in good taste.

Smith claimed a silver medal in the pommel horse in Rio

Smith continued: “We discussed my actions and they showed me what they learn and the true meaning behind their religion of peace. The community work they do for various charities is actually crazy and the money raised each year would blow your mind.”

The athlete missed a “Heroes’ Return” celebration in London’s Trafalgar Square for the country’s Olympians and Paralympians where more than 6,000 fans gathered.

He was also not in attendance at a Buckingham Palace reception later on Tuesday, hosted by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, for Rio medallists.

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

Speaking to the Daily Mirror, he said it was “the lowest point” of his career and described his actions as “incredibly offensive and very ignorant”.

The 27-year-old is being investigated by British Gymnastics and could face disciplinary action.

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