Former Olympic gold medalist Tsukahara retires


Athens Olympic gold medalist Naoya Tsukahara announced his retirement on Wednesday, saying he leaves gymnastics with no regrets.

The 38-year-old Tsukahara, who won a team gold for Japan in 2004, said he hopes to become the best coach in the world.

“I was feeling my limits so there’s no sorrow,” Tsukahara said. “I can be the No. 1 coach in the world if I keep pursuing gymnastics. The never-ending challenge will continue.”

Tsukahara competed in three straight Olympics from Atlanta 1996 and with his father, Mitsuo, became Japan’s first father-and-son to win an Olympic gold medal.

Tsukahara obtained Australian citizenship in 2013, but last month failed to qualify for this summer’s Rio de Janeiro Games.

Tsukahara decided to go into coaching after consulting his father, a five-time Olympic gold medalist, and will succeed him as head coach of the Asahi Mutual Life Insurance Co. team.

“My father will always be my rival. I’d like to pay back the world of gymnastics through the experience I gained, and eventually surpass him as a coach.”