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Schmidt 'Fiercer' In Quest For Tokyo 2020
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Although Dutch gymnast Casimir Schmidt was not selected for a starting spot on his country's team at this summer's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, he has shifted his focus from frustration to optimism as he aims for the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Although Dutch gymnast Casimir Schmidt was not selected for a starting spot on his country's team at this summer's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, he has shifted his focus from frustration to optimism as he aims for the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Schmidt, who turned 21 on October 31, was one of the top Dutch prospects for team and individual success in Rio. He placed 18th all-around at the 2013 World Championships in Antwerp, and competed all-around at the 2014 and 2015 World Championships, where the Dutch team finished 18th and 11th, respectively. He was a member of the Dutch team that placed third at the April Olympic test event in Rio in April, where the Dutch men qualified their first full team since 1928.

Among Schmidt's best individual achievements, he won gold on floor exercise and bronze on vault at the 2014 Challenge Cup of Ljubljana, bronze on vault at the 2014 European Championships in Sofia and silver on vault at the 2015 European Games, where he placed 13th all-around. He also placed fourth on floor exercise at the Olympic test event.

Schmidt, who finished fourth all-around at the Dutch Olympic trials in July but was named a non-traveling reserve for the team, reflects on his missed opportunity and projects his aspirations for the coming years in this IG Online interview.


IG: How have you been able to cope with, and reconcile with, the fact that you were not selected to compete in Rio?

CS: Of course it's difficult for me. I really felt that I was supposed to be on that team, but I was also happy for my teammates who did earn themselves a spot on the team. I'm very easy in accepting, and that was kind of the only thing I could do. There wasn't anything I could've done about it.


Schmidt won the silver medal on vault at the 2015 European Games.

IG: When you watched the Dutch team's performance in Rio, what do you think they could have done differently for a better result?

CS: I don't know for sure, but of course they took a risk with having only three gymnasts on floor, pommel horse, vault and parallel bars. But you never know if someone else could've done it better.

IG: Also when you watch the team's performance, what do you think you could have contributed that was missing from the team?

CS: I think my best apparatuses are floor and vault, so maybe on those events, but you can't be sure about that. Besides that, the team performed very well, and I'm really proud.

IG: In what ways did your status as non-traveling reserve gymnast for the team, and the team's actual results, motivate you to continue your career?

CS: Of course I think gymnastics is the most beautiful sport there is, and I'm fiercer than I was before on getting to the Olympics. Now that I was so close that I could almost taste it, I want the full dish, if you know what I mean. I don't only want to compete in Tokyo 2020, but I want to surprise everyone.

IG: What upgrades and changes are you working on, to better your chances for success in 2017 and beyond?

CS: The Code of Points is going to change a lot, so we are not sure yet what we are going to change, but at least my high bar has to improve. We're really working on that, and it's coming along very well. And I'm working on some big moves on floor!

IG: With Tokyo still over three years ahead, what is your plan to stay focused and keep a steady pace, so you can be at your best in 2020?

CS: The best is staying healthy and fit, so I'm just trying to do everything I can to be 100% every training and work my tail off. And we will see if that pays off at the end!

International Gymnast magazine's recent features on Dutch gymnasts include:
"Dutch Master" - Eythora Thorsdottir interview (April 2016)
"Marked for Success" - Casimir Schmidt profile (July/August 2014)
"Just Verdict" - Céline van Gerner interview (June/July 2012)
"Ready to Rise for the Netherlands" - Noel van Klaveren profile (June 2013)
"Skilled and Studious" - Epke Zonderland cover story (March 2014)

To order back issues, or subscribe to the print and/or digital edition of International Gymnast magazine, click here.

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