RIO DE JANEIRO – Reigning Olympic and world men’s all-around champion Kohei Uchimura shrugged off an error-strewn team workout after Japan’s men’s gymnasts trained for the first time Wednesday at the main competition venue ahead of the Rio Olympics.
Uchimura fell twice on landings while practicing the floor exercise at the Rio Olympic Arena and flubbed his “Li Xiaopeng hop” maneuver on the vault.
But the six-time world champion said, “It is like this every year (at the competition venue). To put it the other way round, it would frighten me if practice was too good. I think we were all able to achieve our objectives.”
Other gymnasts also struggled with their landings on the vault but floor and vault specialist Kenzo Shirai said it was all part of grasping the bigger picture.
“I just wanted to check out the apparatus and the atmosphere and was able to get a good feel for things,” Shirai said.
Uchimura said he fancied the green color of the apparatus area at the venue.
“It is great,” Uchimura said. “Green has a calming effect. I think I will be able to perform the way I normally do.”
Shirai added, “I had pictured (the color of the venue) being more garish. I was able to practice with a sense of calm. Once spectators come I think it will change the atmosphere, so it’s something to look forward to.”
China’s men’s team, who are aiming for a third consecutive Olympic gold medal, also worked out here Wednesday.
Japan broke China’s stranglehold on world championships team gold — the victory in Glasgow, Scotland, in 2015 being the country’s first in 37 years.