Abbey Wood weightlifter Zoe Smith is humbled by the attention
ABBEY Wood's Zoe Smith admits she still remains bewildered by the public interest in her after making the headlines on day three of the Olympic Games with a proud performance for Team GB.
The 18-year-old, who was born in Greenwich, may have finished 12th in the women's 58kg weightlifting at ExCeL yesterday (July 30) but she set a new British record of 121kg in the clean and jerk and an improved personal best total of 211kg in what was her first taste of the Games.
Her performance not only helped feed the vociferous support from 6,000 spectators inside the arena but also drew the nation's affection, with a teary Smith overwhelmed afterwards.
And the humble teenager said: "I was surprised by how many people knew me, the crowd was unbelievable.
"To me I'm just Zoe Smith, I do a bit of weightlifting.
"I used to be a gymnast, I used to go to Townley Grammar School. I've given all those things up to do weightlifting and now I'm here, and they know me for that.
"I can't believe it. It's not that I don't feel my story is worth knowing, I just don't feel like it's as big news as it is, if you see what I mean."
Smith started with a solid opening snatch of 90kg before nerves set in and she failed with her following two attempts at 93kg.
Yet the talented teenager recovered and settled to put in a superb clean and jerk performance, making amends to provide her with a total which was also 1.5kg off another British record.
No-nonsense coach Andy Callard, along with sports psychologist Dave Readle, went to work on Smith in the interval, although the pair likely took different approaches to get her back in the game.
Callard told Press Association Sport: "We were disappointed with the snatch.
"She was slightly emotional and I think the occasion got to her a little bit.
"Basically gave her a bit of a hard time, tried to sort of motivate her and be a bit more positive towards what she's doing, and to take the clean the jerk in a more aggressive manner.
"The whole occasion maybe got to her a little bit on the snatch, but she's got to learn how to handle that."