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Kohei Uchimura, gymnastics legend, retires

50th FIG Artistic Gymnastics Championships - Day 7

KITAKYUSHU, JAPAN - OCTOBER 24: Kohei Uchimura of Japan reacts as he competes in the Men’s Horizontal Bar Final during the Apparatus Finals on day seven of the 50th FIG Artistic Gymnastics Championships at Kitakyushu General Gymnasium on October 24, 2021 in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka, Japan. (Photo by Toru Hanai/Getty Images)

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Kohei Uchimura, widely regarded as the greatest male gymnast in history, announced his retirement in a press release on his website.

Uchimura, 33, won all eight Olympic and world all-around titles from 2009-16, a combined record for men and women, and became known as “King Kohei.”

He had said for years that Tokyo would be his fourth and final Olympics, leading to the assumption that he would retire soon after the Games.

Uchimura, after battling injuries throughout his last Olympic cycle, competed on solely the high bar in Tokyo and fell in qualifying, failing to make the final.

He continued on for the world championships in Japan in October, placing sixth on high bar.

Uchimura, whose parents were gymnasts who owned a gym, joined the Japanese senior national team in the late 2000s as the heir to 2005 World all-around champion Hiroyuki Tomita.

At 19, Uchimura took all-around silver at the 2008 Beijing Games, then started on his dominant run at the top of the sport, leading Japan to overtake rival China as the top team in 2015 and 2016.

In 2016, he became the first man in 44 years to repeat as Olympic all-around champion.

Uchimura’s plan was always to scale back and not do the all-around for his last Olympics. Injuries starting in 2017 made it difficult for Uchimura just to get to the Tokyo Games.

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