Louis Smith has been left riled by praise for Jane Allen ©Getty Images

Four-time Olympic medallist Louis Smith has described praise of outgoing British Gymnastics chief executive Jane Allen as "disgusting" and "a slap in the face" to athletes that allegedly endured abuse during her tenure.

Allen is due to end her 10-year reign as the head of the embattled organisation this month after deciding to retire.

British Gymnastics is facing criticism over its handling of bullying and abuse allegations made by a number of gymnasts.

UK Sport and Sport England have co-commissioned an independent review into the troubled organisation to investigate the period from August 2008 to August 2020.

Following the announcement of Allen's retirement, Smith said he had been riled by comments praising the under-fire chief executive.

"I've seen the statements from people commentating on how amazing she's been and the leadership has excelled under her view," said Smith in an interview with ITV News.

"I think it's disgusting and a slap in the face for all the people who've had so many traumatic things happen to them under her watch."

Olympic medallists Amy Tinkler and Nile Wilson are among those to have spoken out against a culture of abuse within British Gymnastics.

Head national coach Amanda Reddin has temporarily stepped aside during an investigation into allegations about her conduct with Tinkler, who claimed her former coach often commented on her weight.

Tinkler, the Olympic floor bronze medallist at Rio 2016, has also accused Allen of "prolonging my suffering" due to the handling of her complaint, leading to an apology from the governing body.

Speaking in October, Allen said the past few months had been "extremely difficult" and pledged to help with the independent review into British Gymnastics.

Smith, who achieved a bronze at Beijing 2008 before claiming a silver and bronze at London 2012 and a silver at Rio 2016, hailed the gymnasts who had lifted the lid on their experiences as "heroes".

Four-time Olympic medallist Louis Smith claimed British Gymnastics changed after he won bronze at Beijing 2008 ©Getty Images
Four-time Olympic medallist Louis Smith claimed British Gymnastics changed after he won bronze at Beijing 2008 ©Getty Images

"You're very brave, I think you're a bigger hero than you actually think," said the 31-year-old.

"What you have been through has been terrible but what you have done has definitely given people a chance to lead and live a better life in the sport."

Smith claimed British Gymnastics changed after he became the first British gymnast to win an Olympic medal since 1928 by clinching bronze in the pommel horse event at Beijing 2008.

"It became a different entity, British Gymnastics became something else the more successful and the more money that we got," said Smith.

"Some coaches see the results and the accomplishments of other coaches and gymnasts and they try and replicate that; they don't have the skills and perhaps they go about it in the wrong way.

"Unfortunately, we didn't have the skills and the right people in place to make that as safe as possible and I feel like more needed to be done."

Alastair Marks is set to become British Gymnastics' interim chief executive in early January after Allen retires.

An executive search process will commence to find a permanent chief executive, while Marks is in the interim post.

The search will be led by British Gymnastics chair Mike Darcey.

Barrister Anne Whyte, who has experience in investigating non-recent and institutional forms of abuse, is leading the review into British Gymnastics.

The review will investigate the nature and volume of complaints received by British Gymnastics, including allegations of mistreatment, sexual, mental and physical abuse, bullying, harassment and discrimination.

The approach taken by British Gymnastics to resolving complaints, reasons for any delay in complaints being raised and the adoption and application of safeguarding and complaints procedures will also be investigated.