German Marcel Nguyen, the second-best gymnast at the London Olympics, endured plenty of pain the last three years, including about 20 hours’ worth from a tattoo artist.
Check out Nguyen’s left arm — from the shoulder to the wrist (larger photos below). It’s an Olympic-themed tattoo that he said includes the Olympic rings, an Olympic medal, an Olympic torch, Nike the Greek Goddess of Victory and the Acropolis in Athens, site of the first modern Games in 1896.
Little has been heard about Nguyen since he earned the all-around silver medal behind the iconic Kohei Uchimura at the London Olympics, plus another silver on parallel bars. Nguyen competed then with a chest tattoo that read “Pain is Temporary Pride is Forever” in cursive.
He competed on two of six events at the 2013 European Championships, earning zero medals, and then took a break after an exhausting two Olympic cycles.
Nguyen aimed to return in 2014 but ruptured an ACL straightening his leg too soon on a dismount and required surgeries in September 2014 and January 2015.
Nguyen, now 28, didn’t consider retiring.
On Sunday, he competed with Germany in qualifying at the World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland. It didn’t go well.
Nguyen struggled on pommel horse, messing up his dismount and having to remount to score 11.233. Nguyen was 47th overall in all-around qualifying, missing the 24-man final. Germany was ninth in team qualifying, missing the eight-team final.
Nguyen won’t compete in any finals in Glasgow this week.
“It was a difficult competition for me,” he said. “One of my first all-around competitions after my injury. I’m satisfied with my competition except pommel horse. I always have problems with pommel horse, so nothing new. But I’m happy that I’m back on the stage.”
The German men, who were fourth at the 2008 Olympics, must compete in an Olympic test event in Rio in April to attempt to clinch a team berth at the Rio Games.
Nguyen said he’s not sure if will try to compete in the all-around at the Rio Olympics, should he make it to the Games.
NBC Olympics researcher Amanda Doyle contributed to this report from Glasgow.
MORE GYMNASTICS: World Championships broadcast schedule