Olympic Stories

Kohei Uchimura - Gymnastics

Kohei Uchimura - Gymnastics

Kohei Uchimura
Born on January 3, 1989 in Nagasaki, Japan, Kohei Uchimura is a 23-year-old gymnast who will be representing Japan this summer via the Olympic Games in London. After a tough career early on, Uchimura is now coming on as one of the strongest gymnasts in the world. On almost everyone’s list, he is certainly one of the top 50 athletes of the London Games.

Kohei is from a very athletic family. His sister, Haruhi Uchimura, is also a professional gymnast, ranked #14 in Japan. In a country with so many gymnasts in competition, anything in the top 100 stands out; Kohei is a top-five athlete across the board as of late. This summer Kohei hopes to better his 2008 performance and bringing home some gold instead of settling on silver.

Sporting Career

Like most talented gymnasts, Kohei Uchimura has been doing this since he was a toddler. He started at only 3 years of age and has been in the gym ever since. With two decades of experience, he is an expert in his field, but things weren’t also looking so sunny for Uchimura. When he was just getting started, he had little acclaim or buzz surrounding him. Although he was talented, he simply blended into the surroundings in the competitive landscape. It wasn’t until he went to train with gold-medal-winning gymnast Naoya Tsukahara that he started to up his game.

In 2005, Kohei would participate in his first huge event – the International Junior Competition held in Japan. However, Uchimura would compete outside of the main competition, not having earned his spot with the rest of the gymnasts. Two years later, turning professional, things would start to change in a big way for Kohei. He joined Japan’s National Team in ’07 to start his senior career off, and at the Paris World Cup, he performed well enough on the vault to win bronze.

In 2007, competing with the Japanese team, he helped them to win Silver at the Good Luck Beijing event and placed 7th individually with the floor exercise. This wasn’t what Kohei had hoped for, but it did punch his ticket for the 2008 Beijing Games.

The entire 2008 year was kind to Uchimura. He started out the season with a gold-medal win via the World Cup, and while representing Japan in Beijing, he would compete well enough to help his team win silver, while also competing well enough to earn an individual silver medal in the all-around competition. Following up on his success in 2009, Kohei ran away with the World Championships.

In 2010 and 2011, Kohei would win his second and then third consecutive all-around World Championship title, making him one of the best gymnasts in the world. As the Sumer Olympic Games approach, Kohei is the big favorite for Japan to really do well in the medal rounds.

Career Highlights

  • 2008 Olympic Games – Silver (2: individual, team)
  • 2008 Gymnastics World Cup – Gold
  • 2009 World Championships – Gold
  • 2010 World Championships – Gold, Silver (2: team, individual), Bronze
  • 2011 World Championships – Gold (2), Silver (team) 
  • 2012 Summer Olympics – Gold , Silver (2: team, individual)

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