Hugh Smith: Mormon Athlete

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Hugh Smith Mormon Athlete

Hugh Smith is a Canadian gymnast who left the sport for two years to serve as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of which he is a member.

Smith said that any break in training can have serious consequences, so he considered waiting until he was 25, but he felt compelled to serve at age 19 because of Matthew 6:33: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” He served in the Mexico City North Mission, and after his return, spent a grueling ten months training intensely. He has enjoyed a long gymnastics career, and at age 31, he was one of the oldest members of the Canadian National Team and competed in the Pan American Games in Toronto in July 2015. He placed seventh in the Men’s All-Around and the Men’s Team ranked fourth overall.

Smith says he has never had a serious injury. He is grateful and credits his success to serving a mission.

“I just want to let the youth of the church know that, really, putting the Lord first is the best decision that they can make,” he said. “He will help you with any other things you want to do and accomplish.”[1]

Smith was born on March 14, 1984, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He competed in his first gymnastics meet at the age of eight and won six gold medals. He competed at the 2007 and 2011 Pan Am games and won bronze on vault in 2011. He won his first senior national all-around title in 2013 at the age of 29. At the 2014 Pacific Rim gymnastics championships, he placed second in vault and third in team. In the 2015 Canadian Championships, he won all-around bronze. He is preparing to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Brazil.

He is married to Victoria Smith Belmont.