Kohei Uchimura Sets Sights on Olympic Gold
I woke up this morning like a kid on Christmas Day, and boy, did Santa deliver! Kohei Uchimura (JPN) had the gold medal wrapped up heading into floor. With pommel horse under his belt, it was smooth sailing through rings, vault (perfect 2.5-twisting Yurchenko for a 16.266) and parallel bars. He wisely removed the Kovacs from his high bar routine, staying on the apparatus for a 15.600. The only glitch of the day came on floor, where Uchimura put his hands down on the difficult 1.5-twist punch layout Randi. But after landing his final triple twist, he knew he would once again stand on the highest step of the podium. Some might complain that no one should win the All Around with a fall, but the fact of the matter is that he is just so superior across all six events that losing one point for a fall is not going to dethrone King Kohei from the top of the leader board.
Kohei Uchimura – Men’s All Around Final London 2012 Olympics
Halfway through the competition, I started to get excited over the idea of a Japanese 1-2. Kazuhito Tanaka, who replaced the injured Koji Yamamuro for the All Around final, was in 2nd place with a sizable lead heading into his final two events, but major errors on floor and pommels dropped him to 6th. Marcel Nguyen (GER) put up quite a fight, going 6-for-6 and ending up with a silver medal. He has been eclipsed by more famous teammates Fabian Hambüchen and Philipp Boy in the past, but today he emerged from their shadows. He should feel incredibly proud of coming in 1st of the non-Uchimuras. Danell Leyva (USA) demonstrated a fantastic high bar routine and moved from 7th to claim the bronze medal in the final rotation. I felt sorry for Mykola Kuksenkov (UKR), who once considered competing for Russia but decided against it in order to remain eligible for the Olympic Games. He finished 4th here, just as he did in the All Around at the 2010 World Championships, and just as his Ukrainian team did here in London.
David Belyavskiy (RUS) was a close 5th, starting his day with a gorgeous double-piked-full-in on floor. It was a bummer that the Brits both fell during the 4th rotation: Kristian Thomas over-rotated his Yurchenko double pike vault, while Daniel Purvis came off after a wayward element on parallel bars. Nevertheless, they fought hard and ended up in 7th and 13th place, and they will come away from the Games thrilled with their bronze team medal. John Orozco (USA) ended well with an awesome high bar routine for 8th. I really admire John and wish he could have returned to America with a little Olympic hardware. He seems like such a good guy who does all he can to help his family, and it was upsetting seeing how devastated he was after pommel horse.
So in the end Uchimura pulled it off, and all is right in the world of men’s gymnastics. Now that he has won the Olympic All Around gold medal and pretty much everything else in this quadrennium in such convincing fashion, perhaps he can officially be referred to as The Best Gymnast Of All Time.
CTV’s Rod Black: Is he the best ever?
Kyle Shewfelt (CAN), 2004 Olympic Floor Champion: He really is, and there’s a good reason for that. Everything he does is so difficult, but he doesn’t make it look difficult – it’s effortless. He does an incredible amount of skill, he’s talented, he’s gifted and it’s light and effortless and really the entire gymnastics community and everyone around the world should just bow down to him cause he’s the king.
Here’s a fun video of all the stuff Uchimura has been training. We already know he has tremendously difficult skills like the Ri Jong Song (triple twisting double back) on floor and the Fedorchenko (triple twisting double layout) off high bar under his belt, but check out these other amazing skills he’s working on:
0:41 Quadruple twisting double back
1:24 Yurchenko triple twist (yikes, careful with those knees!)
1:49 Shaham (1.5-twisting Kovacs)
1:55 Double twisting Kovacs!
2:11 Double Kovacs!!!
Kohei Uchimura – Unique Combinations and Skills
World Championships Tokyo 2011 – King Uchimura III (from FIG Channel)
Kohei Uchimura – The Life and Times of a Champion