In Japan they call him “Superman” — and in Rio de Janeiro Kohei Uchimura proved just why.
A virtuoso performance from the 27-year-old ensured gold in the men’s all-around gymnastics final Wednesday for the second Games in succession.
Uchimura, who led the Japanese to team gold last weekend, edged out Ukraine’s Oleg Verniaiev and Great Britain’s Max Whitlock to retain his title.
He will now head into the Tokyo Games in four years time as reigning champion with the opportunity to make yet more history.
“After winning the group gold, it was tough to re-focus,” he told reporters. “I’m so exhausted right now.”
Uchimura is the first man to achieve back-to-back victories in the Olympic all-around since fellow countryman Sawao Kato did so in 1968 and 1972.
The holder of 10 world championship gold medals and 19 in all, Uchimura underlined his undoubted talent once again in the Rio Olympic Arena.
He also joins Kato in being the only male gymnasts to have ever won three all-around Olympic medals, having won silver in Beijing eight years ago. Kato came second in 1976.
Verniaiev, who had led for part of the competition, had to settle for second with Whitlock taking Britain’s first medal in the all-around final for 108 years.