Hiroyuki Tomita plans to retire

Hiroyuki Tomita brought Japanese gymnastics back to the top.

Hiroyuki Tomita brought Japanese gymnastics back to the top.

Via Gymnastics Coaching. 2005 World Champion Hiroyuki Tomita was the undisputed leader of the resurgent Japanese men in 2004 and 2008. More than that, he often showed a personal courage that transcended competition.

Examples that come immediately to mind were his performance during the all-around final in Beijing where he continued, obviously in pain, after the scariest rings fall I’ve ever seen. Tomita wasn’t initially one of the two Japanese men to advance to the all-around final — teammate Koki Sakamoto, fifth in team prelims (Tomita was sixth) withdrew to make way for him — and he must have felt enormous pressure to do well.

Tomita displayed a similar attitude in the all-around final at the 2007 World Championships, where he struggled with fatigue after competing in the team final the day before to give the best of himself on every event, even after he had been eliminated from medal contention. This in comparison to Russian Maxim Deviatovsky, who many said gave up at the same competition once hope of a medal faded.

Like retiring teammate Takehiro Kashima, another stalwart of a great Japanese team, Tomita plans to coach. Both men leave the team in the young, extremely talented hands of newly-crowned national champion Kohei Uchimura.

One of Tomita’s finest moments was rising to the pressure during the 2004 Olympic team finals on the team’s last event and nailing a performance that gave Japan its first Olympic gold in gymnastics since 1984.

Hiroyuki Tomita, 2004 Athens Olympics Team Finals, High Bar:

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One Response to “Hiroyuki Tomita plans to retire”

  1. ng kai-lee Says:

    yup. his retirement hit us badly. i still can’t believe it, he’s so young
    but its ok i guess. he knows what’s best for himself
    hopefully he’ll achieve more success in future

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