International Gymnast Online's annual year-end tradition of holiday-themed features kicks off with this update from German Olympian Lukas Dauser.
German gymnast Lukas Dauser said competing in the team final at this summer's Olympic Games in Rio was the highlight of his year, but he is ready for new challenges in 2017.
Lukas Dauser during the team final in Rio
"The most unforgettable moment for me was the team final at the Olympic Games," said the 23-year-old Dauser, who helped Germany finish seventh in Rio. "It was the goal we wanted to achieve after the tough qualification where Andreas Toba tore his ACL and we had to finish it with only four gymnasts left. That showed our amazing team spirit. It was unbelievably emotional and a feeling of pure joy."
Dauser said teammate Fabian Hambüchen's victory on high bar in Rio also impressed and gratified him.
"The gold medal of Fabian was an outstanding highlight," he said. "We all worked so hard and when one of our team can make that happen it's too good to find words for it."
Dauser, who placed third on parallel bars at this year's Cottbus World Challenge Cup, said he intends to fortify his all-around program and contend for a key podium finish in 2017. He placed fourth all-around and first on parallel bars at this year's German Championships. "I want to work even harder than before and increase my all-around ability," Dauser said. "On my favorite event, parallel bars, I want to train on a higher difficulty so I can fight for a medal at the European Championships in May."
Dauser's holidays will be devoted to family and friends. He plans to spend Christmas Eve with his parents and two sisters at their home near Munich. "We'll have wiener sausage with cabbage and potatoes as our family traditional meal," he said.
On Christmas Day he will celebrate with his entire family - including his grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and girlfriend - in Eichstätt. Their holiday meal will feature goose and Knödel (dumplings).
"New Year's Eve is reserved for my girlfriend and a bunch of friends in Berlin celebrating 2016," he said.
While Dauser plans to enjoy end-of-year festivities, he is already eyeing his 2017 gymnastics goals.
"After the hard year 2016 I want to take more time not only for me but also my family and friends," he said. "But of course also I want to work hard on my new perfect training schedule with my new coach, Robert Hirsch, to be super fit for the competitions and present myself perfectly."