Rio 2016: Uchimura is like Bolt and Phelps - Verniaiev


Oleg Verniaiev believes Kohei Uchimura is to gymnastics what Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps are after pushing the Japanese star all the way in the men's all-around final.

'King Kohei' won his eighth major all-around competition in a row on Wednesday, pipping the Ukrainian by just 0.099 of a point - his narrowest victory margin of those by some way.

A supreme show on the horizontal bar overturned a deficit of nearly a whole point to Verniaiev on the last rotation, the silver medallist paying the price for a stumbled landing on his dismount.

Verniaiev was upbeat, despite being pipped at the last, vowing to finally get the better of Uchimura when they next meet.

"I respect Uchimura," he added. "I said after the worlds I'd beat him in Rio. Now I say I'll beat him next time.

"I am disappointed. I was so close to gold. I've never trained so hard for an event.

"He is the king of gymnastics. Like Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt in their sports."

Now a three-time Olympic gold medallist, Uchimura can add a fourth in the individual floor final, after overcoming a rollercoaster of emotions in the all-around.

Uchimura said: "After winning the group gold it was tough to refocus. I'm so exhausted right now, but proud.

"Oleg performed superbly. I thought I had lost at one point. I tried not to look at his performance.

"Six world championships and two Olympic wins in eight years is a great victory. I've raised the bar.

"I devote myself to this event. But a new wave of athletes are coming."