Kohei Uchimura

Kohei Uchimura inspired by Olympic track and field legend, picks best gymnast of all time

Leave a comment

The world’s greatest gymnast, and perhaps the best of all time, gave a rare detailed interview with the BBC, discussing sports legends and his future, among other topics.

Japan’s Kohei Uchimura became the first gymnast — man or woman — to win four world all-around championships in Antwerp, Belgium, last week. Uchimura, 24, has won every world and Olympic all-around title since 2009.

It’s a run of dominance matched by few, if any, athletes in any sport across the world. Uchimura said he was inspired by another man who is in the middle of a dominating run.

“Usain Bolt,” Uchimura said with an interpreter on hand. “He comes across all cool and says, ‘I am going to be a legend,’ and then he goes out and actually does it. I really admire that.”

Asked if Uchimura thought of himself as a legend, he laughed.

“I can’t say that myself!” he told the BBC.

Uchimura’s place in gymnastics history is debatable. Sure, he is the greatest of his generation. But all time? There are other contenders. Uchimura is a student of the sport. Asked who the best of all time is, he answered 1990s Belarusian great Vitaly Scherbo. Scherbo is the only gymnast to win six gold medals at a single Games, doing so at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics for the Unified Team.

Scherbo owns 10 career Olympic medals and 23 career World Championship medals. Uchimura is well behind with five Olympic medals and 13 worlds medals.

“To win six gold medals at a single Games is something that just isn’t normally possible, regardless of how the rules may have changed in the meantime,” Uchimura said. “To complete each individual event so perfectly could not have been possible without a huge amount of training and really strong mental, psychological control.”

Uchimura also reflected on Japan’s team silver medal at the 2012 Olympics. He almost cost his team a spot on the podium with a clumsy dismount of the final event, pommel horse. A video review and a .7 of a point scoring bump saved Japan from a fourth-place failure.

“At the time, I had spent my entire career striving for gold medals and so my first reaction was that it didn’t really make much difference whether we ended up second or fourth,” he told the BBC. “However, when I thought about it properly, we had all worked so hard to get there and I felt very sorry that I had reacted that way. If my mistake had cost everyone else their medals, that responsibility would have weighed on very heavily.”

Uchimura said a team gold medal at the 2016 Olympics is his next goal. Japan has won silver at his two Olympic appearances in 2008 and 2012 after taking gold without him in 2004.

He has also said he wants to compete through the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, when he will be 31.

Italian gymnast, country’s federation apologize for racist remarks about American

Shaun White discusses ‘shock’ of missing X Games

Shaun White
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Two-time Olympic halfpipe champion Shaun White said he has no hard feelings toward the X Games, after the event didn’t invite him to compete last month for the first time this millennium.

“Basically, I got the phone call that I was uninvited,” White told a Fox TV station in California while promoting his Los Angeles Air & Style event next weekend. “It was a bit of a shock to me. I don’t have any hard feelings. It’s definitely interesting because I was invited to the event for X Games in Norway [in two weeks]. So, I don’t know, they may have some sort of strange politics happening. … I got my own event coming up, which is pretty amazing. Maybe there’s some friction.”

X Games organizers have not elaborated on why White was not invited.

White, an eight-time X Games halfpipe champion, plans to compete in X Games Oslo, his coach said before X Games Aspen two weeks ago, when announcing that White would not compete in Aspen.

White’s relationship with the X Games changed when, before the Sochi Olympics, he purchased a majority share in Air & Style, a touring big air ski and snowboard event that also includes music. Air & Style events have been held in Europe, Beijing and, debuting last year, Los Angeles.

White expanded on Air & Style in October, saying his acquisition came after his conversations with X Games organizers for a similar plan fell apart.

MORE: Fenway Park set to host big air competition

Fenway Park big air broadcast schedule, plus video of jump

Fenway Park
Tom Kelly's Instagram
Leave a comment

What will it be like to jump off a ramp inside Fenway Park that’s four times the size of the Green Monster?

“The coolest thing will be standing on top and just seeing Fenway filled with people and people cheering and then basically sliding into home plate,” U.S. Olympic ski slopestyle silver medalist Devin Logan said. “That’s a dream come true, right?”

U.S. skiers and snowboarders will compete in Big Air Fenway, a one-of-a-kind event at the hallowed home of the Boston Red Sox, on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra on Thursday night (snowboard, 8:30 ET) and Friday night (ski, 9 ET). NBC will air coverage Saturday at 5 p.m. ET.

PHOTOS: Fenway Park builds big air jump

“I hear numbers like 20,000 [fans], and I’m like, wow, I’ve never skied in front of that many people,” U.S. Olympic ski slopestyle bronze medalist Nick Goepper said.

Olympic ski and snowboard viewers may not be familiar with big air events, since it will debut at the Winter Games at Pyeongchang 2018. It most resembles slopestyle.

“Slopestyle is six to eight features to deal with on the whole way down, you don’t really get to showcase your best most challenging tricks,” U.S. Olympic snowboard slopestyle champion Jamie Anderson said. “With big air, it’s kind of like the one-hit wonder. You get to really go for it and try your hardest tricks. It really takes that level of progression up a lot.”

Ski big air, however, is not yet part of the Olympics.

“It’s really cool that we have the opportunity to do this and to showcase the skiing aspect of big air competition to the world and to [the International Ski Federation] and to all the fans to gain some validity to hopefully be included into the next, next Olympics,” Goepper said.

VIDEO: Chloe Kim scores perfect 100 at U.S. Grand Prix

Alone in Fenway Park. ⚾️⛷

A photo posted by gus kenworthy (@guskenworthy) on

Game on! #bigairfenway ready to rock. @ussnowboarding @usfreeskiing #boston

A photo posted by Tom Kelly (@tomkelly_ussa) on