Louis Smith is retiring from gymnastics.

Louis Smith on Lorraine

Louis Smith on Lorraine

The 29-year-old Olympic medalist has announced he's leaving the competitive sport to embark on a career in theatre, with his touring show 'Rip It Up' heading for the West End.

The former 'Strictly Come Dancing' winner was planning on entering the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, but he has now decided to call it a day as he feels his chances of qualifying would be slim.

Appearing on UK TV show 'Lorraine' on Thursday morning (08.11.8), he said: "I think I'm a baby in the grand scheme of things but in the sporting world, I'm getting on a little bit.

"It was a tough decision. Last year, I had the mindset that given the time around now, I was going get back into training and push for 2020.

"The whole qualification process has changed there was a minuscule chance I would even qualify.

"I thought I would give it a chance.

"Then new opportunities come up and you have to make smart life choices, I can't keep putting on a leotard!"

Louis - who first came to prominence at the 2006 Commonwealth Games - admitted it hadn't been an easy ride but he's proud of his achievements - which includes winning a bronze and two silver medals on the pommel horse at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, 2012 London Olympics and the 2016 Rio Olympics respectively - and thanked his coach and family for their support over the years.

He continued: "Three Olympic Games, four medals, it's been a hard career, but it's been a very fun one and very rewarding. I wouldn't have made it if it hadn't been for my coach, my mum, my friends."

Louis said that being a gymnast helped him stay focused through a difficult childhood, which saw him battle ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

He said: "I struggled quite badly with ADHD as a child. I didn't do very well in school, a short attention span, that combined with a single parent mum, growing up in a rough area, it could have been a lot different."

Despite putting an end to his Olympic career, Louis will keep his toe in gymnastics by continuing to help young children achieve their dreams at the summer camps he runs.

He said: "I would love to stay involved in gymnastics, I have gymnastic summer camps that I do every year, I put camps on for kids.

"I go down I give them a bit of coaching and interact with them and I do school visits ... I try and get kids into sport."

Louis admitted he feels "very liberated", and even joked he was ready for a beer as he made the announcement on the early morning show.

He said: "I feel very liberated now. It's a strange feeling every athlete wonders when this day will come and this is what it feels like! I might go for a beer, it's only early, but nothing stopping me now!"

Watch 'Lorraine' ITV, weekdays 8.30am to 9.25am.