Kohei Uchimura

Kohei Uchimura’s place in gymnastics history after record-breaking fourth world all-around championship

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Kohei Uchimura‘s fourth world all-around championship was his closest yet, but the Japanese superstar still dominated and moved into sole possession of a gymnastics record.

Uchimura defended his title of world’s greatest gymnast by a whopping 1.958 points at the World Championships in Antwerp, Belgium, on Thursday.

He led after all six rotations and posted the highest score of the 24 gymnasts on three of six apparatus, totaling 91.990 points.

American Sam Mikulak was in position for a medal until a major error on his final event, high bar. The 2012 Olympian and U.S. all-around champion finished sixth with 88.548 points.

“You’ve got to learn to lose before you can learn to win, I guess,” Mikulak, 20, said in a video interview posted by USA Gymnastics.

Japan’s Ryohei Kato took silver (90.032), and Germany’s Fabian Hambuechen stepped up for bronze (89.332).

Uchimura, 24, became the first gymnast to win four world all-around titles, breaking his tie with retired Russian Svetlana Khorkina, whose three were not consecutive like Uchimura’s four have been.

The World Championships continue with the women’s all-around final Friday, where two Americans are medal favorites, and apparatus finals Saturday and Sunday.

World Gymnastics Championships broadcast schedule

How dominant has Uchimura been at the World Championships and the Olympics?

In 2009, Uchimura won by 2.575 points — the margin separating second place from eighth place.

In 2010, Uchimura won by 2.283 points — the margin separating second place from 13th place.

In 2011, Uchimura won by 3.101 points — the margin separating second place from 14th place.

In 2012 (Olympics), Uchimura won by 1.659 points — the margin separating second place from eighth place.

In 2013, Uchimura won by 1.958 points — the margin separating second place from eighth place.

There’s a strong argument Uchimura is the greatest gymnast of the last 40 years, given nobody has won multiple Olympic all-around titles since 1972. There is more debate if you compare generations and dig deeper into history.

On the men’s side, Japan’s Sawao Kato won Olympic all-around titles in 1968 and 1972 and silver in 1976. In those days, the World Championships were held once every four years. Now, they are every year except Olympic years. Soviet Viktor Chukarin (1952, ’56) and Italian Alberto Braglia (1908, ’12) also won back-to-back Olympic titles.

On the women’s side, Larisa Latynina and Věra Čáslavská won back-to-back Olympic titles in 1952 and 1956 and 1960 and 1964, respectively. Latynina, with 18 Olympic medals, was the most decorated Olympian of all time until Michael Phelps passed her in 2012.

Uchimura owns five Olympic medals, including all-around gold in 2012 and silver in 2008. His 11 World Championship medals are well behind Vitaly Scherbo‘s record (23). He could win three more this weekend in apparatus finals on floor exercise, parallel bars and high bar.

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Watch Real Sports trailer on Peter Norman of 1968 Olympic podium protest

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HBO’s “Real Sports” will profile Australian 1968 Olympic 200m silver medalist Peter Norman in an episode premiering Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET.

Norman finished between Tommie Smith and John Carlos in the 200m final at the Mexico City Games.

Largely forgotten, Norman’s story is chronicled by “Real Sports,” with the help of Smith and Carlos.

Norman died of a heart attack in 2006, and Smith and Carlos flew to Australia to serve as pallbearers and deliver eulogies at his funeral.

Smith and Carlos reflected on the role Norman played in their famous raised-fists podium gesture in this transcript from “Real Sports:”

Tommie Smith: “I had my gloves. And there was some discussion in the tunnel between John and myself.”

John Carlos: “Peter was there and he was kinda curious as to what we were doing, what we were talking about. And I turned to Peter and I asked him. I said, ‘Peter,’ I said, ‘Do you believe in human rights?’”

Real Sports: “You said– you expected to see fear in his eyes. Instead–”

John Carlos: “I didn’t see nothing but love, man. He looked at me and he smiled. He said, ‘Of course.’ And I said to him, I said, ‘Would you like to wear Olympic Project for Human Rights button?’ And he said, ‘Yeah.’ And he started reaching for mine. And I pat him on his hand. I said, ‘Whoa, you can’t have this. But I’ll get you one.’”

Real Sports: “He didn’t hesitate?”

John Carlos: “Mr. Norman never flinched.”

MORE: Smith, Carlos honored at White House

Russian wrestler who died in 2013 not stripped of 2012 Olympic medal in doping probe

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 11:  Silver medalist Besik Kudukhov of Russia, Gold medalist Toghrul Asgarov of Azerbaijan, Bronze medalist Coleman Scott of the United States, and Bronze medalist Yogeshwar Dutt of India in the Men's Freestyle 60 kg Wrestling on Day 15 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on August 11, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
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MOSCOW (AP) — Russia says the International Olympic Committee has dropped an investigation into a deceased wrestler who allegedly tested positive for a banned steroid when an old sample was retested.

Besik Kudukhov won the silver medal in the men’s freestyle 60-kilogram class at the 2012 Olympics and died the following year in a car crash.

The Russian Wrestling Federation says in a statement his sample from the 2012 Games was retested this year and found to be positive for the steroid turinabol. The case was passed to an IOC disciplinary commission, which ended its investigation last week with no action taken, the federation says.

The IOC, which has not acknowledged any positive test by Kudukhov, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Kudukhov also won bronze at the 2008 Olympics.

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