The Olympic gymnast Louis Smith has published an apology after a video leaked online showed him mocking Islam.
The 27-year-old wrote he was “deeply sorry” for the”deep offence” caused by the footage and his “thoughtless actions.”
He said: “I am deeply sorry for the recent video you may have seen. I am not defending myself, what I did was wrong. I want to say sorry for the deep offence I have caused and to my family who have also been affected by my thoughtless actions. I recognise the severity of my mistake and hope it can be used as an example of how important it is to respect others at all times. I have learnt a valuable life lesson and I wholeheartedly apologise.”
The film showed Smith with fellow gymnast Luke Carson laughing while pretending to pray and shouting “Allahu Akbar.”
The video was apparently shot by Smith during a friend’s hotel wedding. Smith is shown giggling and holding a drink as Carson takes a hanging rug off the wall.
He then says “Six o’clock prayers” as the friend repeatedly says “Allahu Akbar”.
Carson then kneels on the rug, bowing in mock worship before the pair yell something indecipherable.
At that point an elderly female wedding guest enters the frame and sits down next to the friend. She puts her hand on his shoulder and says: “Actually, you are taking the p***, actually.” But Smith retorts: “No, no he’s not, he’s doing his six o’clock prayers.”
Slurring Carson yells out, “The Prophet Muhammad,” before Smith says: “Sixty virgins.”
It continues as the woman says: “You are not funny.” Smith insists: “Yes it is.”
British Gymnastics has announced it will be “investigating” the incident.
The UK governing body for the sport of gymnastics said: “British Gymnastics does not condone the mocking of any faith or religion and is appalled by such behaviours. Gymnastics is an inclusive sport and we are proud of members who portray the inclusive values of British Gymnastics.
“Members who break our code of conduct can face suspension or expulsion from our organisation. We will be investigating the behaviours reported.”
Louis Smith has represented Team GB in the past three Olympic games and won Strictly Come Dancing in 2012.
Luke Carson announced last year his retirement from gymnastics due to injury. Screen grabs showing tweets sent from him apologising are also being shared but he has since made his tweets private.