Olympic gymnastics all-around champion Kohei Uchimura has recently announced his retirement from the sport at age 33. The Japanese gymnast won a gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in London and again in 2016 in Rio De Janeiro. He also won the all-round gymnastics World Championship on no less than six occasions.
Uchimura made what he has now confirmed was his final Olympic appearance at the 2020 Tokyo Games, which were postponed until 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Sadly, the gymnast took a fall from the horizontal bar and did not make it through to the finals.
He did, however, make it back into competition following that disappointment, with the final competition of his career being the 2021 World Championships in Kitakyushu, his city of birth.
Uchimura was known as somewhat of a character in Japanese gymnastics, admired for his down-to-earth attitude and easy-going personality, along with a certain quirkiness that led to amusing and relatable stories about the athlete. The $4,500 phone bill he received during the Rio Olympics made headlines, mainly because rather than incurring the charges for calling family and friends back home, he ran up the bill playing Pokemon Go.
The gymnast was the first man to win back-to-back Olympic all-around golds, in 2012 and 2016, having also taken the silver in 2008. He also walked away with the world title in every world championship in between.
Uchimura suffered recurring shoulder injuries and was not really expected to make the Tokyo Games in 2021. Ultimately, he surprised everyone by taking the radical decision to drop most events, focusing exclusively on the horizontal bar.
The Japanese gymnastics legend will bid the sport goodbye in his own way on March 12 in a gymnastics exhibition he is organizing at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.