For Uchimura, it's all in the performance

Thu Jul 21, 2016 9:48pm EDT
 
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By Elaine Lies

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Kohei Uchimura lost the first competition he ever entered but at the Rio Olympics he will be the man to beat as he aims to become the first gymnast in 44 years to win back-to-back all-around golds.

Even so, he claims the results don't matter that much.

"I don't do gymnastics to win or lose," he told Reuters in an interview earlier this year.

"I think it's all about what you want to convey with gymnastics. Winning or losing doesn't matter."

Since taking silver at the 2008 Beijing Games, the 27-year-old has scooped every Olympic and world all-around title and is now favorite to become the first man to take two Olympic golds in a row since compatriot Sawao Kato in 1972.

Holder of a record six world all around golds and 19 world medals altogether, Uchimura, the son of two gymnasts, took up the sport aged three.

Training at a gym they founded in southwestern Japan, he honed his skills in the air on a trampoline they acquired from the United States. Almost a quarter of a century later, he has not lost any of his hard work ethic.

"I don't do anything special, I basically think it's just building on every day. How much can I do earnestly every day," the soft-spoken Uchimura said.   Continued...

 
Japan's Kohei Uchimura competes on the parallel bars during the men's all-around final at the World Gymnastics Championships at the Hydro arena in Glasgow, Scotland, October 30, 2015. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne