Uchimura, Biles keep blowing everyone's minds

Mon Nov 2, 2015 12:22pm EST
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By Pritha Sarkar

GLASGOW (Reuters) - Kohei Uchimura is no fan of "noisy arenas", so the Japanese superhero should invest in some heavy-duty earplugs when he heads to Rio next August bidding to become the first gymnast in more than 40 years to win back-to-back Olympic all-around titles.

The all-conquering gymnast, who has been immortalised in comic strips in his homeland and has many screaming teenybopper fans around the world, will arrive in Brazil as the holder of a record six world all-around titles.

After collecting every Olympic and world all-around title since taking silver at the 2008 Beijing Games, King Kohei will be favourite to become the first man since compatriot Sawao Kato in 1972 to win successive Olympic all-around titles.

However, Kohei, who has 19 world medals, including 10 golds, said: "I don't really care about the results. I would rather have a great performance that touches people."

He certainly whipped up a frenzy in Glasgow as he led Japan to their first world team title in 37 years before enjoying individual success in the all-around and horizontal bar finals.

While other gymnasts have won more medals and more golds, most notably Belarus's Vitaly Scherbo, no one has dominated the sport or maintained their levels of excellence for as long as Uchimura.

In a gruelling sport that seems to leave champions on the scrapheap faster than it takes Usain Bolt to run the 100 metres, Uchimura's gymnastics lifespan defies logic.

Yet Uchimura, who would dearly like to meet Bolt, has no time to engage in talk about being the greatest.   Continued...

Japan's Kohei Uchimura reacts after his horizontal bar routine during the men's apparatus final at the World Gymnastics Championships at the Hydro arena in Glasgow, Scotland, November 1, 2015. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne