Louis Smith's injury-ridden Strictly rehearsals

Louis Smith has to spend five minutes resting for every 15 minutes he trains during 'Strictly Come Dancing' rehearsals.

Despite being the favourite to win the BBC One show, the Olympic gymnast is dogged with injuries, including a torn cartilage in his knee, and the wounds often take their toll on him while training for the show - but he is determined to go through the pain barrier to win the competition.

He said: ''If I am tired, I like to rest. People think that because I went to the Olympics I am superhuman, but I have a torn cartilage in my knee that needs an operation, a fractured ulna and swollen vertebrae in my back. So every 15 minutes I have to lie down for fives minutes.

''I was carrying all of those injuries at the Olympics, but if you have trained for 19 years and you get to the day of your most importance performance, even if you don't feel 100 per cent you push through - that is what makes a champion.''

Louis' professional partner Flavia Cacace admits she was ''shocked'' when he first got injured during rehearsals and just lay on the ground for five minutes.

In a joint interview with Louis, she added to Radio Times magazine: ''I was in shock when he first curled up on the floor, pulled his hoodie over his head and asked me to give him five minutes in the middle of training. With his mum there, there are two of us to drag him up.''


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