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Strictly winner Louis Smith on ADHD: I try to get the message across to follow your dreams!

OLYMPIC hero and Strictly winner Louis Smith is using his experience of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder to mentor schoolchildren.

Gymnast Louis gives talks to encourage children to “follow their dreams” and take inspiration from his own battles. He is regularly approached by parents of children with ADHD since revealing it is a condition he suffered as a child from the age of seven.

Then thanks to the help of mother Elaine, who took him to the gym every night, he got over his problems and went on to become the first British male gymnast to win an Olympic medal in 100 years when he won bronze in 2008. 

Louis said: “I do quite a lot with kids at schools and mentoring young people. “I coach and kids ask me questions. I try to get the message across to follow your dreams. I get a lot of messages from parents of kids who have ADHD. They have taken inspiration from what I have gone through”. 

His sudden fame through the Beijing Olympics also took its toll. He said: “You are left to just deal with that [fame] on your own and I found that really tough. I got really depressed. “I didn’t know who this new person was that I had to be. There was no support. I was left to just deal with it. What I do now is speak to people who do well in their sport and get attention – no one had ever done that in my position.”