South Korea’s star artistic gymnast Kim Han-sol, two-time Asian Games gold medalist in the men’s floor exercise, has a painful memory from the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games.
He pulled off a flawless performance and stood in top position after two attempts in the men’s vault competition in Jakarta.
But he dropped to second place due to a penalty after judges ruled that he forgot to bow before leaving the stage. Under international rules, a performer needs to show a sign of respect to the referees after completing his performance — failing to do so will earn a penalty.
After defending his title in the men’s floor exercise at the 19th Asian Games on Thursday, he recalled the episode five years ago, which he can now laugh about as a joke.
“I’ve been told about the bow a lot. So I bowed to the referees really hard after my performance,” Kim said in a mixed-zone interview, laughing.
With the medal-deciding bow in his mind, he performed as the first athlete among eight finalists in the final at Huanglong Sports Centre Gymnasium in Hangzhou, China.
The defending champ earned a difficulty score of 6.000 and 8.900 points in execution for a total score of 14.900 to top the leaderboard from the beginning.
China’s Zhang Boheng, who finished first in the preliminary round, got a higher 6.100 in difficulty as he tried for a comeback but had 8.333 points in execution with a 0.1 point deduction, failing to surpass Kim. He wobbled when landing.
“I thought I could overcome the 0.1 point difference in difficulty, depending on the landing,” Kim said. “The Chinese seemed to try to be too good and made a mistake in landing.”
With his second Asian Games title, Kim became the third Korean artistic gymnast to win at least one gold medal in two straight Asian Games, following Yeo Hong-chul, who topped the vault podium in 1998 and 2002, and Kim Soo-myun, who finished first in pommel horse in 2006 and floor exercise in 2010.
“I’m very proud of the fact that I’m the third athlete to win the title two Asian Games in a row,” he said. “Though I lost a medal in vault here in Hangzhou, I’m still happy that I’ve achieved my goal.”
Source: Yonhap News Agency