Returning Olympians: Men

Jovtchev of Bulgaria performs in the men's rings final and wins silver at the Gymnastics World Championships in London

On Tuesday we took a look at the female gymnasts who would be making a return to the Olympic Games. For some London 2012 would be their second Games for others their fourth or sixth. It is now time to take a look at the male competitors with many making another appearance at an Olympic Games. Results and information have been drawn from, we hope that they are accurate.

Germany – Fabian Hambuechen, Philipp Boy & Marcel Nguyen

Hambuechen had a relatively successful competition at the 2008 Olympic Games. He qualified for three out of six event finals, placing fourth on Floor, fourth on Parallel Bars and third on High Bar. He also placed seventh in the All Around final with the German team placing fourth in the team final. Hambuechen is sure to challenge Kohei Uchimura for the All Around title at this summers Olympic Games.

Philipp Boy and Marcel Nguyen will compete in their second Olympic Games.Along with Hambuechen, they were part of the German team who finished fourth in Beijing in the team final. Neither gymnast made an event final.

France – Yann Cucherat, Hamilton Sabot & Pierre – Yves Beny

London 2012 will not be the first Olympic Games for any of these gymnasts. Yann Cucherat will be competing in his fourth Olympic Games since competing in 2000, 2004 and 2008. In 2000, he ranked 16th in the AA competition and made the Parallel Bars final placing 6th. In 2004 he also ranked 6th in the Parallel Bar final. At Beijing in 2008 he made the High Bar final, unfortunately placing last out of the eighth competitors.

Pierre – Yves Beny made his Olympic debut back in 2004 where he tied for fifth with Italy’s Matteo Morandi  in the Rings final. He was not a member of the 2008 Olympic team.

Hamilton Sabot competed in his first Olympic Games in 2008. He did not qualify to the AA or Event Finals.

China – Zou Kai, Teng Haibin & Chen Yibing

London 2012 will be a second Olympic Games for these three gymnasts. Teng Haibin made his Olympic debut in Athens in 2004 where he won the gold on Pommel Horse. Both Kai and Yibing made their Olympic debut in 2008 where they were part of the gold medal winning home team. Zou Kai also won the Olympics High Bar and Floor titles, whilst Yibing won the Rings title.

USA – Jonathan Horton

Jonathan Horton is the only member of this years USA team, both Men’s and Women’s to have competed in a previous Olympic Games. In 2008, the Men’s US team placed third in the team final. Horton scored 16.175 to secure the silver medal at the High Bar Olympic final, just 0.025 behind Zou Kai.


Japan – Kohei Uchimura

Uchimura is the only member of this years Japanese men’s team to have previously competed on an Olympic Team. Back in 2008 he placed second in the All Around final behind China’s Yang Wei, the Japanese team also finished in second place in the Team final. He also made qualified through to the floor final, only to place fifth  out of eight competitors. The three time All Around World Champion is sure to shine at this Olympic Games.

Romania – Flavius Koczi

Koczi will compete at his second Olympic Games this summer. In Beijing, he qualified to the Vault event finals along with team mate Marian Dragulescu, here he placed 7th out of eight competitors. The Romanian team placed seventh in the Team Final.

Canada – Nathan Gafuik

Back in 2008 Gafuik competed with a full Canadian Team, this year he received his countries single nomination to compete in London. In Beijing he ranked 17th in the All Around final, not proceeding to the Team or Event finals.

Bulgaria  – Jordan Iovtchev

Iovtchev, like Oksana Chusovitina, one of the Women’s Returning Olympians, is an Olympic veteran, with five Olympics to his name, he is due to compete in his sixth in London.  In Athens 2004, he won a silver medal in the Rings Final and Bronze in the Floor final. Sydney 2000 was also a successful Olympics for him, winning bronze on both Floor and Rings.  During his fifth Olympics in Beijing 2008 he once again qualified for the Rings final, qualifying second but unfortunately a missed handstand left him in last place during the final. In Atlanta 1996, the Bulgarian team finished sixth in the team final competition, Jovtchev finished 16th in the AA competition and fourth in the Rings final. Barcelona 1992 saw the Bulgarian team rank 10th in the Team Final but Iovtchev not reach any Event finals.

Netherlands – Epke Zonderland

Zonderland made his Olympic debut back in 2008. Here he reached the High Bar final, placing seventh. Zonderland should be expected to make the High Bar final, should he not have a dreadful routine similar to the one which kept him out of the European High Bar final this year.

Greece – Vlasios Maras

Vlasios Maras competed in his first Olympic Games in 2004 in his home country. He  failed to qualify for any event finals, High Bar being his specialty  finishing 13th in qualification and 36th in the All Around competition.

Brazil – Diego Hypolito

Despite contracting a serious illness in 2008, Hypolito, the younger brother of Daniele Hypolito, competed in his first Olympic Games in Beijing where he was Brazil’s only male gymnast. He qualified to the Floor final, only to count a fall on his last pass to place sixth.

Croatia – Filip Ude

At Filip Ude’s first Olympic Games in 2008 he won a silver medal at the Pommel Horse Event Finals in Beijing.

Great Britain – Louis Smith

Louis Smith will be the only member of this years British Men’s Olympic team who has already had Olympic experience. He placed third in the Pommel Horse final in Beijing, ths year he will be hoping to grab the gold on home turf. Back in 2008 he also competed in the All Around placing 41st whilst team mate Daniel Keatings, who has been left of the London 2012 Squad advanced to AA finals where he ranked 21st out of 24 gymnasts.

Italy – Alberto Busnari

With the Italian Men’s Olympic Squad for London only announced this week, Pommel Horse specialist Busnari is set to make his fourth Olympic Games this summer. He has not yet won any Olympic medals or placed in any Event Finals.

Despite  Spain and Korea having not yet named their teams, there is a possibility of more gymnasts to be competing at yet again another Olympics. Unfortunately for Spain’s Rafael Martinez he will not be competing at his third Olympic Games. He confirmed this yesterday via his Twitter account. Martinez placed 5th in the AA competition in 2004 and 10th in 2008.


Make sure to check out our series which will be coming to a close this Friday:

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