After failing a complicated pirouetting part, the three-time Olympic champion will not make it to the finals of the men’s horizontal bar on Saturday (24 July). With the final group of gymnasts competing later in the day, Uchimura’s 13.866 score put him far outside the top eight needed to advance.
“I was unable to put out my best effort at this competition. That’s just the way I feel, “Uchimura stated in retrospect, as translated. “At the last three Olympic Games, I competed to the level of my training, but not here.”
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K. Uchimura Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
A two-time defending Olympic all-around champion, “King Kohei” was a household name. He competed just on the high bar because he qualified for Tokyo 2020 as an individual rather than as part of a team.
His decision to specialise was driven by practical considerations. Unfortunately, Uchimura’s success after the Rio Olympics was cut short by a string of ailments. After a record-setting six consecutive World Championships and two Olympic gold medals, his reign as all-around champion was curtailed by an ankle injury sustained during qualifications at the 2017 World Championships.
Then, in 2018, he could only compete in four events, and in 2019, he was barred from competing at all. With the Olympics coming to his country, however, he persevered, and by 2020 he reported to the public that he had achieved complete pain freedom.
A fifth Olympic Appearance is Almost Unlikely at Age 32.
“No idea. I’ll give it some thought when I get back to my lodging “he declared concerning his impending athletic endeavours. “And yet, I know what it’s like to be at rock bottom because I’ve been there before. Therefore, I am not quite as dissatisfied as I had feared.”
Uchimura entered the Games as a heavy favourite to win the high bar event after posting great marks at the Japanese Olympic trial competitions. Even though he would eventually fall out of the competition on Saturday, he appeared off during Wednesday’s podium training session as he struggled with a stalder Rybalko, the pirouettign part.
Uchimura, one of the most recognisable athletes at these Tokyo Games, continued to struggle during the one-touch warmup before today’s qualifying competition, falling on a double-twisting back flip over the high bar. Tensions rose among the sparse crowd at Ariake Gymnastics Centre after he fell. When he failed at this talent, he decided not to try again in the warmup.
A few minutes later, he was off to a great start with his routine, having easily caught the release move he had failed to do in the warm-up. Yet again, it was the stallion Rybalko who gave him trouble during training and ultimately doomed him. In an attempt to complete a pirouette, he got too close to the bar and fell to the mat as he swung through the bottom, effectively eliminating his medal hopes at the Tokyo Olympics.