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Louis Smith’s ban? British Gymnastics needs to get off its high horse

The Olympic silver medallist has been suspended for two months for what amounts to blasphemy by his sport’s governing body that seems to have an inflated view of its own importance

News that gymnast Louis Smith has been suspended by his governing body for mocking Islam is so 2016. I don’t want to bang on about the auto-satirical state we’re in, but this is basically the blasphemy law being revived by British Gymnastics. It’s certainly one in the eye for parliament, which abolished the offence of blasphemy in 2008 – but perhaps those outplayed politicians can now retaliate by arbitrarily changing the scoring system for the uneven bars.

By way of a recap, Smith and his fellow gymnast Luke Carson were filmed at a wedding shouting Allahu Akbar and mimicking a prayer pose, and the video found its way to the Sun last month. Smith has since apologised profusely, and accrued the standard death threats and summons to appear on Loose Women. But following a high-level inquiry into the incident at the Kettering nuptials, British Gymnastics have suspended him for two months. Announcing their decision on Tuesday, they declared solemnly: “As the custodians of the integrity and values of the sport, we have had no choice but to act responsibly.”

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