Louis Smith has been suspended for two months by British Gymnastics after appearing to mock Islam in a video which appeared online last month.
The Olympic silver medallist was found guilty of a breach of the organisation’s Standards of Conduct by an independent panel while his friend, former gymnast Luke Carson, was issued a reprimand.
Smith has since apologised for the footage, which shows him pretending to pray to Allah while laughing, and revealed he has received a number of death threats.
In a statement British Gymnastics said: “Louis Smith admitted his behaviour was a breach of the Standards of Conduct.
“The panel upheld the allegation and taking into account a previous breach of the Standards of Conduct heard in June this year (where it also was made clear to Louis the consequences of any further breach), the panel determined a cumulative penalty was appropriate and ordered a two-month period of suspension.
The short ban is unlikely to affect Smith from a competition standpoint, with the 27-year-old having indicated he will take some time out from the sport after finishing second to team-mate Max Whitlock in the men’s pommel final in Rio.
Of more concern to Smith will be the lasting damage to his reputation and that of his sport, with the British team basking in the glow of its success in Brazil where it claimed seven Olympic medals.
Smith missed Great Britain’s victory parades in Manchester and London as a result of the controversy and has accepted offers to learn more about the Muslim faith after admitting he had been “ignorant to people’s religion”.
Visited 2 mosques today, Britains first ever mosque and Europe's largest!! Learnt so much in just 1 day. Thank you everyone for having me â¤ï¸ pic.twitter.com/WZsNJeh4an
— Louis Smith MBE (@louissmith1989) October 18, 2016
Smith visited two mosques in association with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association, whose vice-president Farooq Aftab praised the gymnast’s willingness to learn.
He said: “Islam teaches us that it is best to forgive. Everyone makes mistakes, even our role models.
“We reached out to Louis following the unfortunate incident and invited him to come down to our mosques and see what Islam is really about.
“He showed great character by accepting our invitation and we had a wonderful day learning about each other.
“He is a likeable and down to earth young man and we wish him the best for the future.”