Kohei Uchimura’s place in gymnastics history after record-breaking fourth world all-around championship
Oct 3, 2013, 4:32 PM EDT
Kohei Uchimura‘s fourth world all-around championship was his closest yet, but the Japanese superstar still dominated and moved into sole possession of a gymnastics record.
Uchimura defended his title of world’s greatest gymnast by a whopping 1.958 points at the World Championships in Antwerp, Belgium, on Thursday.
He led after all six rotations and posted the highest score of the 24 gymnasts on three of six apparatus, totaling 91.990 points.
American Sam Mikulak was in position for a medal until a major error on his final event, high bar. The 2012 Olympian and U.S. all-around champion finished sixth with 88.548 points.
“You’ve got to learn to lose before you can learn to win, I guess,” Mikulak, 20, said in a video interview posted by USA Gymnastics.
Japan’s Ryohei Kato took silver (90.032), and Germany’s Fabian Hambuechen stepped up for bronze (89.332).
Uchimura, 24, became the first gymnast to win four world all-around titles, breaking his tie with retired Russian Svetlana Khorkina, whose three were not consecutive like Uchimura’s four have been.
The World Championships continue with the women’s all-around final Friday, where two Americans are medal favorites, and apparatus finals Saturday and Sunday.
How dominant has Uchimura been at the World Championships and the Olympics?
In 2009, Uchimura won by 2.575 points — the margin separating second place from eighth place.
In 2010, Uchimura won by 2.283 points — the margin separating second place from 13th place.
In 2011, Uchimura won by 3.101 points — the margin separating second place from 14th place.
In 2012 (Olympics), Uchimura won by 1.659 points — the margin separating second place from eighth place.
In 2013, Uchimura won by 1.958 points — the margin separating second place from eighth place.
There’s a strong argument Uchimura is the greatest gymnast of the last 40 years, given nobody has won multiple Olympic all-around titles since 1972. There is more debate if you compare generations and dig deeper into history.
On the men’s side, Japan’s Sawao Kato won Olympic all-around titles in 1968 and 1972 and silver in 1976. In those days, the World Championships were held once every four years. Now, they are every year except Olympic years. Soviet Viktor Chukarin (1952, ’56) and Italian Alberto Braglia (1908, ’12) also won back-to-back Olympic titles.
On the women’s side, Larisa Latynina and Věra Čáslavská won back-to-back Olympic titles in 1952 and 1956 and 1960 and 1964, respectively. Latynina, with 18 Olympic medals, was the most decorated Olympian of all time until Michael Phelps passed her in 2012.
Uchimura owns five Olympic medals, including all-around gold in 2012 and silver in 2008. His 11 World Championship medals are well behind Vitaly Scherbo‘s record (23). He could win three more this weekend in apparatus finals on floor exercise, parallel bars and high bar.
Apr 20, 2015, 3:14 PM EDT
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Apr 20, 2015, 3:10 PM EDT
The top U.S. finisher was an Olympian in fourth.
Apr 20, 2015, 10:05 AM EDT
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Apr 20, 2015, 9:27 AM EDT
Leveaux details his claim in an upcoming autobiography.
Apr 20, 2015, 9:17 AM EDT
Not even Michael Phelps has attempted this.
Apr 18, 2015, 10:03 PM EDT
Katie Ledecky also flirted with a world record.
Apr 18, 2015, 10:17 AM EDT
The U.S. appears to have a better shot in the women’s race.
Apr 18, 2015, 9:09 AM EDT
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Apr 17, 2015, 8:35 PM EDT
“I’m like, Michael, 2016, Rio, 50 free, 100 free, just a relay.”
Apr 17, 2015, 3:06 PM EDT
The finals are at 9 p.m. ET on Universal Sports.
Apr 17, 2015, 11:03 AM EDT
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Apr 17, 2015, 10:29 AM EDT
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Apr 17, 2015, 9:09 AM EDT
“It doesn’t seem like she has served a ban.”
Apr 17, 2015, 8:42 AM EDT
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Apr 16, 2015, 3:16 PM EDT
If Phelps is added by FINA, the U.S. might be able to try for podium sweeps at the World Championships.
Apr 16, 2015, 3:15 PM EDT
Phelps and Ryan Lochte appear headed for a showdown Thursday night.
Apr 16, 2015, 11:45 AM EDT
Canada has a shot to qualify for its first Olympics since 2000.
Apr 16, 2015, 11:04 AM EDT
“There is no legitimate case for nationality change,” a British official said.
Apr 16, 2015, 10:03 AM EDT
See Eugene’s bid video for 2019 that failed to get a taste of what Worlds will be like in the U.S.
Apr 15, 2015, 6:50 PM EDT
The gold-medal game will be live on NBCSN.
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