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Ri Se-Gwang, Olympic vault champion, retires from gymnastics

Gymnastics - Artistic - Olympics: Day 10

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 15: Se Gwang Ri of North Korea celebrates winning the gold medal after competing in the Men’s Vault Final on day 10 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Rio Olympic Arena on August 15, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

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Ri Se-Gwang, the Rio Olympic vault champion from North Korea, announced his retirement last week, according to the International Gymnastics Federation.

Ri, 35, earned one of North Korea’s two gold medals overall at the Rio Games.

Ri performed the most difficult combination of vaults -- each with a 6.4 difficulty -- and took one step on each landing to beat Russian Denis Ablyazin and Japanese Kenzo Shirai. He became the oldest Olympic gymnastics champion since 1968, according to the OlyMADMen.

Rio marked Ri’s lone Olympics.

He earned vault bronze at the 2007 World Championships but was unable to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Games.

North Korea’s gymnastics federation was banned from international competition during the London Olympics as punishment for age falsification.

After the ban was lifted, Ri earned world titles in 2014, 2015 and 2018. He failed to make the eight-man vault final at 2019 Worlds won by Russian Nikita Nagornyy, the world all-around champion.
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