Rachel Smith is the captain of Great Britain’s Rhythmic Gymnastics team. They 19-year-old Coventry native has been practicing the sport since she was six and has competed individually at Junior and Senior European level and in various international events. She and the team grabbed first at the 2012 Nordic Cup.
Who’s your Olympic idol and why?
My Olympic Idol would have to be Dame Kelly Holmes. She is such an inspiration for how much hard work she puts into her training, and I just remember seeing how shocked she was when she found out she had won her race. She is also an amazing role model and I still look up to her now.
If you weren’t competing in your sport, which one do you think you’d like to try?
I’d love to try the Modern Pentathlon. There are so many different aspects to the sport that make it interesting to watch. Training for so many different sports would keep you so busy and interested.
What is your favorite thing about the Games?
My favorite thing about the Games is that all the countries in the world come together to compete in the biggest show on earth. I love how united everyone becomes within the village, and even if people there aren’t competing in the Games, they are involved as spectators or volunteers.
What do you love the most about your sport?
The grace and beauty. The flexibility shown by gymnasts is incredibly inspiring and the movement to music is truly beautiful to watch. I also love how the ribbons move and how incredible it is to be able to throw ribbons so accurately.
What do you hope people take away from seeing the Games hosted in your home country?
I hope to raise the profile of Rhythmic Gymnastics after the Olympic Games. Rhythmic Gymnastics is not a well-known sport, and I hope people get a chance to watch it and are inspired to try it themselves. I hope that people become more active within sport, and more funding is given to the smaller, less televised sports.
Outside of competition, what are you looking to do in London during the Games?
Well, I will be training non-stop until the Games, but after my competition I’m hoping to meet some incredible athletes and just relax after all the hard training I have been putting in so far.
Aside from your sport, what else do you love to do?
I love to bake cakes, even though I’m very bad at it and get emotional when it doesn’t go quite right. I love baking. It’s strange because I’m not allowed to eat cakes, but I love making them for other people.
What special talent do you wish you had?
It’s not so much a special talent, but more of a super power. I wish I could stop time so I could enjoy the experience of the London Games and make it last longer.
What’s your favorite thing to do in London?
I really enjoyed going on the London Eye, it’s such an amazing experience and you get to see a lot of London from a different angle. Also the shopping is amazing!
Favorite British band?
Coldplay is my favorite band, they create such amazing, motivational music.
Favorite British actor/actress?
I love Liam Neeson, I met him once at a movie premiere and he is such a lovely person. He is also an amazing actor.
Favorite British TV show?
I like a lot of TV shows. I like to watch comedy programs by comedians, and if I have time, I like to watch “EastEnders.”