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Poland's Pihan-Kulesza Sets Sights on Third Olympics
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2012 Olympic all-around finalist Marta Pihan-Kulesza told IG that, at age 26, she feels more confident than ever as she aims for the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

“I really don’t think about my age,” said Pihan-Kulesza, who competed at the 2008 Beijing Games and finished 19th all-around at the 2012 London Games. “I don’t feel like I’m the almost-oldest one. I feel really good, so I plan to do better in Rio than in London.”

Pihan-Kulesza said her unsteady performance at last weekend’s Gymnastics Legends International meet in Los Angeles was nonetheless a positive start to her competition year.

“I changed my vault to a Yurchenko,” she said. “In my 20 years in gymnastics I never did a Yurchenko, so I tried, because I didn’t see a chance to upgrade my front vault. I also did a new floor routine. Bars and beam were awful, but this competition was experience for me. It’s the best way to prepare for an important competition.”

During her 20s, Pihan-Kulesza has won 14 medals, including five golds, at World Cup and FIG Challenge Cup events. She placed 41st all-around at last fall’s world championships in Antwerp, despite short preparation.

“After the Olympics, I decided to quit, but life changes,” said Pihan-Kulesza who completed her degree in physical therapy and is now coaching young male gymnasts. “Shortly before worlds I decided to come back.”

Pihan-Kulesza said she enters the 2014 season in good health, following treatment late last year on one of her shoulders and surgery on her left ankle. She is already looking ahead to solid results in Rio.

“I hope to make the floor final, because my floor is pretty good, and I plan to upgrade my acrobatic passes,” said Pihan-Kulesza, who performed to “The Pink Panther” at the Legends meet. “So I hope it will be great.”

Pihan-Kulesza also has high hopes for her husband and fellow 2012 Olympian, Roman Kulesza, whom she married shortly after the 2008 Games.

“Roman is still training,” she said. “He doesn’t have any competitions right now so he’s focusing on training, but I think he’s in good shape. I really hope for him to do better.”

Is Pihan-Kulesza’s other goal for the Rio Games to again join her husband on the Olympic podium?

“Yeah, of course,” she said with a cheerful laugh. “Always together.”

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