British gymnast Louis Smith has gained media coverage not only for his attempt to win his fourth gold medal at the Summer Olympics in Rio, but also because of his iconic hairstyle: the man bun. 

Smith has publicly stated that he likes being unique with his hairstyle,

I used to have it in cornrows. On the odd occassion if I couldn’t get it re-plaited in time, I’d have an afro. In the gymnastics world as well, I remember competing with an afro. It definitely set a statement. I’m my own person, I don’t follow a crowd.

Smith considered retiring because of the pressure and fast fame

After dealing with the build-up to London – the pressure, the sponsors, the expectation, the media, the hype, the actual Games itself – I just needed to take a step back from everything. I never once said in interviews that I was retired, but still the media persisted in saying, ‘Oh, Louis is retiring’, so it was easy just to agree with it. I took time off to do normal stuff, live life, work, earn money, see my friends, go on holidays, meet girls, get drunk, do stupid stuff. I needed that.
— Interview with Telegraph UK

After his time off, he publicly stated his attempt to rediscover his passion - the pommel horse 

At the end of 2014, I was like, ‘Right, obviously I am not well-liked at the minute by the majority of British Gymnastics. I need to prove they’re missing out not selecting me...But what they didn’t get was that I was serious. I put my hand up to the judges 11 times in 2015 and I did 11 clean routines.

His journey to RIO - aiming to get his fourth Olympic medal 

Now I am on my way to my third Olympics, and I’d love to get to 2020 Tokyo as well. My mum has sacrificed so much in my life to help me be the best gymnast I can be, and my coach has done the same. So I owe it to more than just myself to see how much I can get from the sport.
— Interview with Telegraph UK

ended up with his hairstyle -the man bun- due to convenience

Smith had been growing his hair out.  While training one day, he didn’t have hair spray to keep it out of his face. His solution? He borrowed a hair tie from one of the women in the gym.

Then I caught myself in a mirror, and I thought, it looks all right. So I’ve just been doing this every day. It’s so convenient. I get out of the shower, I tie it up, it’s done. Before, I had to condition it. I had to straighten it. I had to hair spray, put it back. I haven’t seen anybody else with this hairstyle before and it’s nice to be different.
— interview with USA Today


His response to the media coverage on his hair

It seems as though people are talking about my hair ha. Good to be different not just for me but for the sport. Why follow the crowd or be like everyone else. I class myself as independent and different and love it or hate it my hair amongst other things hopefully reflect that
— Instagram @louissmith1989


Good luck to Louis Smith and the rest of Team GB!!



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