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Japanese Legend Kohei Uchimura Wins Second Consecutive Olympic All-Around Title

The Japanese artistic gymnastics legend Kohei Uchimura continued his dominance in the sport on Wednesday after winning his second Olympic All-around title at the Rio Olympic Arena.

He was truly the king of the artistic gymnastics. After facing a difficult challenge in the All-around final where he rarely sat in the lead, he pulled out a jaw-dropping high bar routine in the final rotation to defend his title as the “King Kohei.”

Kohei Uchimura Gold Medal

Uchimura was the first male gymnast since Sawao Kato in 1968 and 1972 to clinch two consecutive All-around Olympic gold medals..

The 27-year-old Japanese gymnast has been unbeatable in the sport since the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, and he is currently recognized as the most successful gymnast after winning six World All-around titles for six consecutive years.

Earlier in the competition, Uchimura mentioned that he’d be happy to get the individual All-around title, but he’s more focused on winning the team title, as he’d get to share the joy and victory with his team mates.

And he successfully achieved it at the team finals last Monday, where he led the Japanese team to the top of the Olympic competition, successfully dethroning the Chinese team, Japan’s ultimate rival.

After finally attaining his ultimate dream, the Japanese gymnast became much more serious throughout the All-around event, as Ukraine’s Oleg Verniaiev took the lead. While Uchimura continued to deliver outstanding and error-free performances, the Ukrainian athlete Verniaiev had the best competition of his life. He was the only competitor to attain a score higher than 16 points (16.100 on the parallel bars), and the only athlete who have only one score below 15.

The two both competed on the horizontal bar, with the Japanese gymnast going up just before Verniaiev. Uchimura’s impressive score of 15.800 put him back on the lead, but still within a tight competition against the Ukrainian gymnast.

In a very intense competition, Verniaiev performed his own high bar routine. The Ukrainian gymnast performed his routine flawlessly through the next 90 seconds, but made a little error on his dismount. With his slightly wobbly landing, he settled with only 14.800 points, a full point behind the score of Uchimura. With only a tenth of a point difference in their total scores, the Japanese gymnast won the All-around competition.

Kohei Uchimura and Oleg Verniaiev

As the competition came to an end, the two competitors posed for pictures together with a smile. Verniaiev mentioned that Uchimura is one of the athletes he admires the most, and sportsmanship was obviously seen that day. Uchimura silently returned the compliment, pointing his thumb to Verniaiev as if to say, “What a competitor!”

Uchimura now owns a total of seven Olympic medals in addition to his 19 World Championships medals – which includes ten gold medals.

“At the moment, he is the king of gymnastics like Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt in their sports, a multiple champion,” said Verniaiev. “I got as close as possible to his score as nobody has done before. I did everything I could.”

However, the competition is not yet over for the two gymnasts, as they will still compete for the apparatus finals starting this weekend. The apparatus event finals for men’s artistic gymnastics will begin on Sunday, August 14.

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