Triple champion Chen quits as China's aura fades

Three-time Olympic champion Chen Yibing announced his retirement from gymnastics on Monday, on a day when China's iron grip on the sport was weakened once again.

Dominant on home soil in Beijing four years ago, when they won nine of the 14 gymnastics gold medals at stake, China have occasionally looked a pale imitation of themselves in London.

Despite victories for the men's team and for Zou Kai in the men's floor exercise, China have seen their other Olympic titles wrenched from their grasp one by one.

Chen and He Kexin were the latest champions to lose their crowns, with Chen narrowly edged by Brazil's Arthur Zanetti in the men's rings final and He beaten by Russia's Aliya Mustafina on the uneven bars.

Chen kissed the apparatus after completing his routine and later revealed that it was a farewell kiss, bringing down the curtain on a career that has also seen him win eight World Championship golds and four Asian Games titles.

"I think there are more brilliant people coming out of China, younger and greater," he explained.

"There are many young athletes, and I'm sure they will have better results. I'm sure after my retirement there will be more champions to come out of China."

Chen said he had been surprised to see Zanetti win gold, describing the Brazilian's landing as "not great", but he said he felt that he had improved personally since his rings triumph four years ago.

"Today, compared to Beijing, I think I was better," he said.

"Psychologically and physically, I was well prepared. I was very familiar with my routine. I thought I performed better."

Like Chen, He was also the first gymnast to take to the floor in her event final, but she, too, had to suffer the agony of seeing her score bettered by a rival.

He finished with a score of 15.933, which was 0.200 points below Mustafina, but she said she was pleased by her performance.

"I'm quite happy and satisfied. I think I did what I could," she said.

"Physically I have trained myself to be very, very familiar with the routine. I mastered every move."

China's disappointment contrasted starkly with South Korea's joy at seeing Yang Hak-Seon claim the country's first ever Olympic gymnastics gold by triumphing in the men's vault final.

Yang finished above Russia's Denis Ablyazin and Igor Radivilov of Ukraine, and said he hoped to inspire Korean youngsters to seek to emulate his success.

"Korea's aim is to be in the top 10 in the total medal chart and I'm happy to contribute to that," said the 19-year-old, whose signature vault is a triple-twisting front somersault that bears his name.

"Gymnastics is not a very popular sport in Korea. But rather than trying to inspire people who are training at the moment, I'd like to inspire people who are a bit younger than me to have a go."


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • High spirits battle: Asia tycoons vie for cognac maker Louis Royer

    * Louis Royer valued at about $150 mln - sources * Suntory selling cognac maker as part of portfolio reshuffle * Asia cognac demand seen rising 13 pct in 2015-19 -Euromonitor (Adds graphic link) By Denny Thomas and Khettiya Jittapong HONG KONG/BANGKOK, May 30 (Reuters) - Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi is considering buying cognac maker Louis Royer, people familiar with the matter said, potentially locking horns with a Philippine tycoon for the French firm amid a forecast …

  • OIC asked to complete review of peace pact with MNLF
    OIC asked to complete review of peace pact with MNLF

    The Philippine government is asking the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to finally complete the tripartite review process of the implementation of the 1996 peace agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). The review – snagged  for several years as government had its hands full with the peace process with rival faction Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) – tackles how the 1996 peace pact with the MNLF has been implemented and centers on the three remaining …

  • Alleged Binay dummies appear in Senate probe
    Alleged Binay dummies appear in Senate probe

    Eight of the resource persons ordered arrested by the Senate finally attended the 21st public hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee into the alleged anomalies involving Vice President Jejomar Binay, but the proceedings turned out to be a review of matters previously presented. For over three hours, the subcommittee heard presentations regarding the alleged hidden assets of Binay and the issue regarding the supposed P200 million in kickbacks he received from a deal between the Boy …

  • DOJ wraps up Mamasapano probe
    DOJ wraps up Mamasapano probe

    The Department of Justice (DOJ) is wrapping up its investigation into the “massacre” of 44 members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25. A joint team of prosecutors and NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) investigators is about to finish the second part,” Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has told congressmen. She was responding to questions raised by former senior police officer and now Rep. Samuel Pagdilao of party-list …

  • APEC meet in Bataan seen to boost tourism
    APEC meet in Bataan seen to boost tourism

    BALANGA CITY, Bataan – More than 2,000 delegates of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and international media outfits are expected to enjoy the splendid coastline of Bagac town, which faces the West Philippine Sea, as they converge for a workshop in this province next month. …

  • DOST opens P54-M research facility
    DOST opens P54-M research facility

    A P54-million research and development facility of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) was recently opened in Bicutan, Taguig for scientists and researchers to develop technology and techniques to allow Filipino fashion and clothing designers and manufacturers to produce more mainstream products from local, tropical fabrics like piña, banana and abaca. Science Secretary Mario Montejo said the Innovation Center for Yarns and Textiles (ICYT) is the DOST’s flagship effort at reviving …

  • DFA worried about alleged violations of convicted Pinoys’ rights
    DFA worried about alleged violations of convicted Pinoys’ rights

    Philippine embassy officials in Doha have raised their concern with Qatari authorities over coercion and human rights violations in the alleged forcing of three Filipino workers convicted of spying to provide information and confess to the crime. Speaking to reporters, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Charles Jose yesterday said the embassy has raised the matter during several high-level meetings with Qatari officials and the national human rights committee in Qatar. “Our embassy …

  • US affirms ‘ironclad’ promise to defend Phl
    US affirms ‘ironclad’ promise to defend Phl

    US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told his Philippine counterpart on Wednesday that Washington’s pledge to defend the Pacific nation remains “ironclad” and called for an end to land reclamation in the South China Sea, officials said. In talks in Hawaii with Voltaire Gazmin, Philippine secretary of national defense, the Pentagon chief “reaffirmed” the strong ties between the two countries and discussed territorial disputes in the contested waters of the South China Sea, where Beijing has been …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options