Performing on the still rings at the Olympics is difficult enough. It requires a combination of strength, technique and flexibility as gymnasts must swing around, then hold strength poses for at least two seconds before coming up with a turning, twisting dismount.
Can you imagine how difficult it is to make it into the top eight of still rings performers? Can you imagine how much more difficult that is to do the day after carrying your country's flag and standing through the hours of the Opening Ceremony? Now, can you imagine doing that at the age of 39, after a gymnastics career that spanned two decades?
Welcome to Jordan Jovtchev's world. The Bulgarian gymnast is competing in his sixth Olympics, and will attempt to win his fifth Olympic medal during the rings event final on Aug. 6. He earned a berth in the finals with a top-eight finish at the preliminary round of gymnastics on Saturday. He'll turn 40 in February.
In a sport of young sprites throwing Amanars and double-twisting, double backs that make joints shudder, Jovtchev is representing for the gray-haired set. Cheer for him because the next time you don't want to get on the treadmill, you'll remember the 39-year-old who kept pace with the youngsters.
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