Thursday, June 23, 2016

Rio the Last Olympic Games in His Top Form, Uchimura Says

As much as the Japanese artistic gymnastics superstar Kohei Uchimura wants to be a part of the 2020 Olympic Games in his hometown in Tokyo, he acknowledged that his performances would not be as impressive as compared to before.

“The Rio Olympics will probably the last when I am at the top of my game,” the five-time Olympic medalist said in Japanese, according to an FIG interview that was published this Wednesday. “I want to be faultless.”

Uchimura’s response triggered an interviewer to ask him which apparatus would he focus on if he would become a specialist instead of an all-around athlete after the Olympic Games in Rio.

“The risk of injury increases with age,” the 27-year old Japanese athlete said. “One can carry on competing on the horizontal bar for longer than the other apparatus. My technique is good, and I’m capable of scoring highly, so I would choose the horizontal bar.”

Kohei Uchimura is the reigning World title holder on the horizontal bar apparatus. 

Uchimura will have a chance to make a history in the Rio Olympic Games if he wins the All-around competition, as he would be the first gymnast in 44 years to become a two-consecutive time Olympic All-around champion.

“The first time I went to the Olympics I felt a bit lost,” said Uchimura while pertaining to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, where he won the Olympic all-around silver at a young age of 19. “I won a medal, but I was also lucky… I was hopeful at the London Olympics, and although I wasn’t perfect, I won the gold medal. This third time, I am aiming for perfection. This is what will satisfy me, and if as a result, I win a medal, then I will be happy.”

However, the 27-year old Japanese gymnast believes that target is unachievable.

“I will never achieve perfection as long as I practice gymnastics,” he said.

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Thursday, June 9, 2016

Larissa Miller Outpaces Lauren Mitchell to Acquire the Olympic Spot

The 23- year old Australian gymnast Larissa Miller has beaten one of Australia’s most successful gymnasts, the former World champion Lauren Mitchell, and took the last available Olympic spot for an Australian artistic gymnast. 

Despite her success, the 23-year-old gymnast was unable to fully celebrate after the Australian national team failed to qualify for the team competition for the first time in 20 years, leaving the close teammates to compete for one individual position at last month’s national championships. 

One of the main reasons of the poor performance of the Australian team at the two Olympic qualifiers – the 2015 World Championships and the Rio test event this year – was because of Mitchell’s knee reconstruction in July. 

The 24-year-old Australian gymnast, who is the only female Australian gymnast to achieve a World artistic gymnastics title, spent the last ten months to get herself back to shape ahead of last month’s Olympic trials and acquired the beam title there but placed second to Miller in the floor, which is both their strongest event.

Gymnastics Australia had decided to pick the gymnast who possesses the greatest possibility of reaching the Olympic final to compete for a medal. They chose Miller.

Miller described the Olympic trials as “one of the most stressful competitions I have ever done”.

“I knew what was riding on that competition and I knew only one athlete was going, which was hard because we are a team,” she said. “Before the floor final, I was crying because I was so tired and so stressed, but I got through my routine. I know my teammates have done as much work as I have done, so that’s really upsetting.”

After a lot of stressful situations that came into her personal life, Miller said it was only after the 2015 World Championships was she able to regain her focus and commit to the gym. “It’s been a really long, hard road trying to build back up,” she said. “But I love gymnastics and the gym is my safe place.”

Miller is very confident that she is capable of reaching the Olympic finals in Rio after finishing sixth at the 2014 World Championships. 

Meanwhile, in other gymnastic disciplines, Trampolinist Blake Gaudry and rhythmic gymnast Danielle Prince have also qualified for the Olympic team.

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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Russia Successfully Defends their European Gymnastics Championships Team Title

The Russian men’s national team displayed a strong performance at the recently held European Artistic Gymnastics Championships, successfully defending their European title at the group competition. The Russian team posted impressive scores, comfortably beating their closest rival Britain in the competition held in Bern. 

The Russian men’s team, which is comprised of David Belyavskiy, Denis Abliazin, Nikita Ignatyev, Nikita Nagornyy and Nikolai Kuksenkov, acquired a sky-high score of 271.378, a score that would have been enough to claim the title at the Glasgow World Championships in 2015. 

The British team, which consists of Courtney Tulloch, Dan Purvis, Kristian Tomas, Louis Smith and Nile Wilson, was left hanging on the second place for two consecutive event editions after finishing with a score of 268.427, almost three points behind the Russian team. 

The British men’s national team strongly rivaled the Group event champion – Russia – in all of the apparatus events and finished comfortably ahead of the bronze medalist Switzerland. 

The host country’s national team, comprised of Benjamin Gishchard, Christian Baumann, Eddy Yusof, Oliver Hegi, and Pablo Braegger, landed on the third spot after finishing with 263.278 points. 

“It was a great competition with lots of positives for us all individually and as a team,” British team’s Kristian Thomas commented. 

“The main focus at these championships is to use them to help us be at our best for Rio and I think we can all be happy that we have done that and of course it’s great to have a medal for our country.”

The Russian men’s team, who performed poorly at the 2015 World Championships but have now drastically improved their results, led the competition from the beginning and obtained a combined score of 45.866 after the first rotation.

They continued their dominance on the succeeding competitions, further surpassing the scores posted by their closest rival Britain.

Britain was then left further behind the Russian team at the halfway stage and from that moment on, the winner of the gold medal is already determined, but the British team were still capable of impressing the audiences, with Wilson posting an impressive score of 15.966 on the parallel bars. 

While Russia and Britain fought for the group title, the Switzerland managed to secure the third spot, with Ukraine not being able to reach the podium. 

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