Kōhei Uchimura

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Kōhei Uchimura
— Gymnast —
Kohei Uchimura (2011).jpg
Kōhei Uchimura in 2011
Personal information
Country represented  Japan
Born (1989-01-03) January 3, 1989 (age 25)
Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture
Hometown Isahaya City, Nagasaki Prefecture
Height 160 cm (5 ft 3 in)[1]
Weight 55kg
Discipline Men's artistic gymnastics
Club KONAMI
Head coach(es) Hiroyuki Kato
Assistant coach(es) Yoghiaki Hatakeda, Koji Gushiken
Former coach(es) Naoya Tsukahara

Kōhei Uchimura (内村 航平?, born January 3, 1989 in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture) is a Japanese artistic gymnast.[2] He is a five-time Olympic medalist (all-around, team and floor exercise), winning a gold and four silvers, a 13-time World medalist (all-around, team, floor, high bar, and parallel bars) and is considered by many to be the greatest gymnast of all time.[3][4][5] He is famous for becoming the first gymnast (male or female) to win every major all-around title in a single Olympic cycle, including four consecutive world all around titles (2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013)[6] and the 2012 Olympic All-Around Champion. He is also known for delivering difficult and accurately executed routines. His gymnastics skills were praised by International Gymnast Magazine as a "combination of tremendous difficulty, supreme consistency and extraordinary elegance of performance."[7]

Early life and career[edit]

He began gymnastics at age 3, in Nagasaki Prefecture at his parents' sports club; his parents, Kazuhisa and Shuko Uchimura, were both competitive gymnasts.[6][8] At age 15 he moved to Tokyo where he trained with Athens gold medalist Naoya Tsukahara.[6][7][9] His sister Haruhi Uchimura is also a gymnast and is ranked 14th in Japan.[citation needed] Kōhei Uchimura stated of his beliefs, "I don’t believe in God. I never had lucky charms. All I believe in is practice."[10] His first international competition was the 2005 International Junior Competition in Japan,[11] where he competed outside the official competition.[12]

Senior career[edit]

2007[edit]

Uchimura joined Japan's National Team in 2007.[11] He made his senior debut at the 2007 Paris World Cup in March, a major international event. Here he won bronze on vault and placed ninth on floor.[13] In August, he won team gold[14] and 1st on floor and 3rd on vault[15] at 2007 Summer Universiade in Bangkok. At Japan's national championships in October, he placed 7th in the all around.[16] A month later, at the international "Good Luck Beijing" event, he won silver with the Japanese team and placed 7th on floor exercise. [17]

2008[edit]

Uchimura started the 2008 season by winning gold on floor at the World Cup in Tianjin in May.[18]

Later that summer, he was selected to represent Japan at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing as a member of the national team. At the Olympics, he contributed to the team silver by competing on floor, vault, parallel bars, and high bar.[19] He qualified for the all-around final, where he won the silver medal. His 2nd place win behind China's Yang Wei gave Japan its first Olympic medal in the event in 24 years.[20] He obtained the highest mark of that meet on the floor 15.825 (double Arabian piked half out, triple twist dismount) and had a spectacular high bar routine (Kolman, layout Kovacs).[21] He also qualified through to the floor final, where he placed fifth.[19]

At the Japanese national championships that year, 19-year-old Uchimura racked up the highest scores on floor exercise and pommel horse en route to winning his first national all around title. He was the first teenager in 12 years to win the Japanese men's national title.[22]

2009[edit]

In October 2009 Uchimura competed at the 2009 World Championships. Here, he dominated both the qualifications and the all around final. He won the all around title by a margin of 2.575 points ahead of Daniel Keatings, marking top scores for floor, rings, vault, and horizontal bar.[23][24] Uchimura also placed fourth on floor and sixth on high bar.[23] He appeared on the cover of the December 2009 number of the International Gymnastics Magazine which was entitled "Uchimura rules".[24]

Boy (left), Uchimura (center) and Horton (right) in 2010.

2010[edit]

In October 2010 Uchimura headed to the 2010 World Championships again as a member of the Japanese national team. As in the previous year, he dominated the qualifications and the all around final, winning his second consecutive all around title by a margin of 2.251 points ahead of Philipp Boy. During the all around final he had the highest score of the day on floor and the highest execution mark (9.666) for a Yurchenko 212 twists on vault.[7] He also contributed to Japan's team silver medal by competing the team final on all events except still rings. He qualified for two event finals, winning silver on floor and bronze on parallel bars.[25]

2011[edit]

On October 14, 2011 Uchimura won the all-around final for the 3rd time at the 2011 World Championships in Tokyo, Japan. With a score of 93.631 points, Uchimura won by a margin of 3.101 points, roughly the same margin that separated 2nd and 14th place. Not only is he the first male gymnast to win three all-around titles, but he is also the first gymnast - male or female - to win three consecutive all-around titles. During the all around final, Uchimura recorded the highest score on four of the six events - floor exercise, still rings, parallel bars, and pommel horse (he tied for the highest score on pommel horse). Uchimura also qualified for five of the six individual apparatus finals (all except vault). He won his first world championship event gold medal on floor exercise as well as a bronze medal on high bar and the silver medal with the Japanese team.[26]

At the 2011 Worlds, Uchimura also won the Longines Prize for Elegance along with Romania's Ana Porgras. The prize is given at each world championships to the male and female gymnasts who demonstrate "the most remarkable elegance". Unanimously declared the winners by a panel of judges, Uchimura and Porgras were each awarded a trophy, Longines watch, and $5000USD.[27] Uchimura was especially pleased to win this award, since he collects watches.[28]

In November 2011, Uchimura won 4 gold medals at the 65th Japanese Championships. Besides the all-around title, he also picked up titles on half of the apparatuses: floor exercise, pommel horse, and high bar.[29]

2012[edit]

Uchimura competed in the London 2012 Olympics and had a rocky performance in the Qualifications with several falls, eventually not even placing him in the group of the top qualifiers for the all-around. In the men's team gymnastics final, Uchimura fell from the pommel horse during his dismount. The Japanese coaches appealed the scoring on this performance as he still landed on his feet and felt it should have counted as a full dismount, albeit with a large penalty. Before the appeal, Britain were to get silver and Ukraine bronze, but the appeal pushed Japan's points total up to get the silver and pushing Britain down to bronze. In the men's all around final, Uchimura dominated the competition and won the gold medal with a score of 92.690. He also won the silver medal in the men's floor routine with a score of 15.8.

2013[edit]

During qualifications, Uchimura dominated garnering an all-around total of 91.924 (which was 2.392 points ahead of the closest competitor). He qualified for the Floor Exercise finals in third place with a 15.333, 7th for the Parallel Bars final with 15.400 and first in the Horizontal Bar final with a 15.658. He qualified as a reserve for the Pommel Horse final with a 15.133.

Uchimura won a record fourth consecutive all-round world championship at Antwerp. Uchimura finished with 91.990 points, almost two points ahead of the next nearest competitor. Uchimura also won a bronze medal for the floor exercise(15.500), gold for parallel bars(15.666), and bronze for horizontal bar(15.633). The total of 4 individual medals is the highest number of medals Uchimura has earned from a single World Championship.

Commercial Endorsements[edit]

Uchimura was part of Toyota's 2012 ReBorn ad campaign featuring characters from the anime franchise Doraemon. He was written as the older version of Dekisugi.[30]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Japanese Medalists in London 2012 Olympics". joc.or.jp. Japanese Olympic Committee. Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  2. ^ Sports Reference Kohei Uchimura
  3. ^ "uchimura-goat-no-says-comaneci". Reuters. Retrieved 20 November 2012. [dead link]
  4. ^ John, Emma (13 July 2012). "london-2012-kohei-uchimura-gymnastics". London: Guardian. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  5. ^ "Kohei Uchimura wins all-around gold, proves he’s pretty much the best gymnast ever". Guardian. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c Emma John (13 July 2012). "London 2012: Kohei Uchimura can bring perfection back to gymnastics". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 July 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c International Gymnast Magazine December 2010, "Superman", by Christian Ivanov, page 52
  8. ^ Goldsea Asian American News Kohei Uchimura seen as the most dominant athlete at London
  9. ^ 100 Olympic Athletes To Watch, TIME 100 Olympic Athletes to Watch, July 24, 2008
  10. ^ http://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2012/09/03/language/imagine-a-better-olympics-for-japan/
  11. ^ a b International Gymnastics Federation Athletes Profiles: Kohei Uchimura
  12. ^ Japan Gymnastics Association Results, 2005 International Junior Competition
  13. ^ Gymnastics Results 16th Internationaux de France, Paris-Bercy 2007
  14. ^ International Gymnast Japanese Men Take Universiade Team Title
  15. ^ International Gymnast Ukraine Biggest Winner In Universiade Event Finals
  16. ^ Gymnastics Results 61st Japanese National Championships, Tokyo, October 2007
  17. ^ Gymnastics Results Good Luck Beijing, Beijing 2007
  18. ^ Gymnastics Results FIG 2008 Artistic Gymnastics World Cup, Tianjin
  19. ^ a b European Union of Artistic Gymnastics Statistics 29th Olympic Games Beijing 2008
  20. ^ The Japan Times Online Uchimura earns silver in all-around
  21. ^ International Gymnast Magazine, "Yang's Way" Christian Ivanov, page 30-31, October 2008
  22. ^ International Gymnast Magazine Uchimura wins Japanese title, Ayako Murao, November 2008
  23. ^ a b European Union of Artistic Gymnastics 41stArtistic Gymnastics World Championships, London 2009
  24. ^ a b International Gymnast Magazine, "Untouchable", by Dwight Normile, page 36-38, December 2009
  25. ^ European Union of Gymnastics 42nd World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, Rotterdam 2010
  26. ^ "GB's Purvis narrowly misses medal". BBC News. 
  27. ^ http://www.longines.com/events/2011/43rd-Artistic-Gymnastics-World-Championships
  28. ^ http://articles.boston.com/2011-10-14/sports/30279934_1_kohei-uchimura-gymnastics-danell-leyva/2.  Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  29. ^ http://www.intlgymnast.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3039:uchimura-unstoppable-at-japanese-championships&catid=5:competition-reports&Itemid=164
  30. ^ http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2012-07-14/jean-reno-goes-to-olympics-as-doraemon-in-new-live-action-ad

External links[edit]