Jovtchev to retire after 2008

Bulgaria's Jordan JovtchevBulgarian star Jordan Jovtchev will be calling it quits after the Beijing Olympics, The Guardian Unlimited reported this morning.

“I think it’s the right time to retire,” the 34-year-old told Bulgarian Darik radio on Wednesday. “I want to do things in the best possible way.”

Jovtchev is training for an unprecedented fifth Olympic Games.

Actually, it’s not unprecedented. Barring injury, also heading to Olympics number five this summer is Soviet/Uzbekistanian/German Oksana Chusovitina, age 33.

What’s interesting about Jovtchev is that the best parts of his gymnastics career seemed to begin long after it was supposed to be over.

When Jovtchev came out of retirement to compete at the 1998 American Cup, people kind of poo-pooed it. It was so easy to see the former Bulgarian as a “dinosaur,” a word used too frequently by the NBC commentators to describe gymnasts over the age of 20.

That’s the thing about dinosaurs: they may be old, but they’re still big and capable of huge amounts of destruction.

Jovtchev took his moderate success at the American Cup, left Bart Conner Gymnastics Academy in Oklahoma where he’s been coaching, and went back to Bulgaria. Olympic success followed: bronze medals on rings and floor in Sydney, another bronze on floor in Athens and the silver on rings there as well.

Many believe he should have been the Olympic Rings champion in 2004. But he was passed over in favor of Greek native Dimosthenos Tampakos in what might have been the biggest display of partisanship during a Games where men’s gymnastics was tainted by numerous judging scandals.

Jordan Jovtchev, 2004 Olympic Games Event Finals, Rings:

Jovtchev is currently the world bronze medalist on floor exercise. All told, he has four World Championship medals of each color, including two all-around bronzes from the 1999 and 2001 Worlds.

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2 Responses to “Jovtchev to retire after 2008”

  1. TCO Says:

    Could it be steroids? One just wonders when someone acheives at a higher level at an older age.

  2. K. Eric Says:

    No steroids dude. That’s pure muscle from Jovtchev, my all time hero!

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