Who is Kohei Uchimura?
Kohei Uchimura (January 3rd, 1989 – ) is a Japanese artistic gymnast who is known for a high level of precision and elegance in his routines. The two-time Olympic silver medalist and nine time World Champion is the first male gymnast to win three consecutive all-rounder titles in a world series when he took home the titles in 2009, 2010, and 2011.
Where did Uchimura grow up?
Uchimura was born in the Nagasaki prefecture of Japan. His father Kazuhisa, is also a competitive gymnast and is the proprietor of his own sports club. It was here that Kohei began training at age 3 until he moved to Tokyo to train with the Athens gold medalist Naoya Tsukahara in 2004. By the next year, Uchimura was fit to compete in his first world competition at the 2005 International Junior Competition.
What are some of his achievements?
He is a three-time Olympic gold medalist and twenty-one time World medallist and is the first male gymnast to win three consecutive all-rounder titles in a world series when he took home the titles in 2009, 2010, and 2011.
Artistic gymnastics is a discipline where athletes perform short routines of no more than 90 seconds on different apparatus. Uchimura has contended as an all-rounder, which means he has to compete is all gymnastic events. For men, these events are:
1. Parallel bars
Men must perform a routine on two bars more than shoulder width apart raised to a height of 1.75 m but is increased to accommodate the heights of different athletes. They must execute a series of swings and releases.
2. High bar
Athletes must perform a series of gymnastic twists, turns and direction changes on a steel bar raised to 2.5 m above the ground ending in a scoring dismount.
3. Pommel horse
This routine consists of a metal frame with foam/rubber over it which has a leather cover over it. At the centre of the frame are two metal or plastic handles. The gymnast must perform a routine of swinging his legs in complete rotations, performing variations along the way. His toes must be pointed during the entire routing and legs must be kept absolutely straight the entire time.
Also known as still rings it is definitely the toughest of the artistic gymnastic events. The gymnastic routine is performed on a pair of rings suspended 5.8 m above the ground. The athlete must perform a series of movements including a strength hold, which demonstrates a high level of control. They are also scored on the dismount.
A floor exercise is performed on a 12 X 12 m spring floor. The gymnast performs a series of tumbles and passes to demonstrate strength, flexibility and balance. Rules for men require them to touch all 4 corners of the floor at least once and include strength feats.
The vault is the only gymnastic event common to both men and women gymnasts. It consists of a 25 m runway, a springboard and a vaulting horse. Gymnasts must run towards athe springboard and use the force generated to vault themselves forward. They may use the horse to spring into twists and turns before landing on their feet.
Listed above are the 6 events that men must compete in order to be considered an all-rounder. Can you find out what the women’s events are?
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