Rio Revisited: Kuksenkov Keeps Focus Firmly On Russia
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Ninth in a 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.

Indifference to defending champion China made a medal-winning difference for Russia’s Nikolai Kuksenkov, who helped his team to silver in the team final over bronze medalist China.

"When we performed we didn’t really pay attention to the other team,” said Kuksenkov, a member of Ukraine’s fourth-place team at the 2012 London Games. “We try to think and focus on what we have to do. If you focus too much on others you would not be able to do that. If you have doubts it won't lead to good results.”

For Kuksenkov, silver in Rio was a pleasant results reversal from last fall’s world championships in Glasgow, where China was third and Russia was fourth.

“At worlds we didn’t quite make it, but now we beat them,” he said.

Kuksenkov’s individualistic approach to competition certainly contributed to his team and personal success in Rio. Following the team final, he placed 13th in the all-around final and sixth in the pommel horse final.

“In gymnastics you are competing against yourself,” Kuksenkov said. “I'm not competing against others. I just push them aside.”

The September 2016 issue of International Gymnast magazine is a special issue devoted to reports, photos, quotes and results of the Rio Olympic Games. The October 2016 issue includes more behind-the-scenes coverage from Rio, including many notes, quotes, anecdotes and photos. To subscribe to the print and/or digital edition, or order back issues, click here.

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