Triple champion Chen quits as China's aura fades

Updated: 07 August 2012 13:49 IST

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

London:

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

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Topics mentioned in this article Gymnastics Olympics 2012
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