Gymnastics: King Kohei in no mood to abdicate throne

Thu Aug 11, 2016 1:04pm EDT
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By Pritha Sarkar

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - The man dubbed as the "Michael Phelps of gymnastics" proved that when it comes to showcasing skills across six apparatus there is no equal to Kohei Uchimura.

While other gymnasts have won more medals and more golds, most notably Belarus' Vitaly Scherbo -- who bagged a record six golds at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics -- no one has dominated the sport or maintained their levels of excellence for as long as the Japanese.

The 27-year-old has now scooped every Olympic and world all-around title since taking silver at the 2008 Beijing Games, a streak of eight successive global golds unmatched in gymnastics history.

"To keep it going for that long is just crazy," summed up Britain's Max Whitlock, who picked up bronze behind Uchimura and Ukraine's Oleg Verniaiev.

"To stay at a level and at the top for that many years is a hard job. I feel very honored to stand on the podium with him."

In a grueling sport that seems to leave champions on the scrapheap faster than it takes Phelps use his giant wingspan to swim a 200m butterfly race, Uchimura's gymnastics lifespan defies logic.

The bad news for all his rivals is that he is still not done.

With Tokyo hosting the next Olympics, the all-conquering gymnast wants to keep going.   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Artistic Gymnastics - Final - Men's Individual All-Around Final - Rio Olympic Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 10/08/2016. Kohei Uchimura (JPN) of Japan competes on the rings during the men's individual all-around final.  REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach