Part two of the series of flashbacks to the 2016 Olympic Games by IG correspondent John Crumlish, who was a gymnastics sports writer for the Olympic News Service in Rio.
While Belgian gymnast Dennis Goossens accurately predicted that the Rio rings final would pit 2015 world champion Eleftherios Petrounias of Greece against 2012 Games gold medalist Arthur Zanetti of Brazil for the title, he was also right on the mark in estimating his own chances.
Dennis Goossens (Belgium) in the rings final in Rio de Janeiro
"The specialist at the moment is Petrounias," said Goossens after one of his early training sessions. "I think everybody will have a hard time trying to beat him. He and Zanetti will be contending for the first spot, and I'll be contending for somewhere between the fifth and eighth spot. I don't think I'll even get close. There are probably 16 gymnasts fighting for the final, so it will be quite a fight."
Goossens' best performances in the current Olympic cycle pointed to his potential to make the Rio final. He placed 12th on rings at the 2013 world championships in Antwerp, 10th on rings at the Olympic test event in Rio in April, and seventh (tie) on rings at the European championships in Bern in May.
"I'll need my very best routine," Goossens said. "I made the rings final at the European championships and at that moment I felt that was the best routine I've ever done. This time it needs to be even better. My best option is going for a clean, solid routine with the best possible execution."
Goossens, who went on to finish seventh in qualifications and eighth in the final, said his practical, logical view of his gymnastics reflects his academic acumen.
"I'm pretty analytical about my training, as well," he said. "I try to film a lot of my training and do statistics on how it goes. I don't know if it really helps. I think it's more my nature."
The September 2016 issue of International Gymnast magazine is a special issue devoted to reports, photos, quotes and results of the Rio Olympic Games. To subscribe to the print and/or digital editions,
Next up in the series: Three-time Greek Olympian Vassiliki Millousi on the beauty of aging