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Höck on Tokyo: ‘I Will Take All The Chances I Have’
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Since winning the 2014 European junior title on rings, Austria’s Vinzenz Höck has been hovering close to major senior finals on his best apparatus, and he continues to push closer to the top as he aims for next summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The 23-year-old Höck was second reserve for the rings final at the European Championships in Szczecin, Poland, in April, an improvement of one rank from his performance at last year’s Europeans in Glasgow. He finished among the top 20 on rings at the 2017 and 2018 World Championships.

In this IG Online interview, Höck describes the work and strategy he is employing in his quest to qualify for the Tokyo Games.

IG: You came very close to making the rings final in Szczecin, but what do you think you could have done better, in order to make it into the final?

VH: This year I tried to push my D-score to 6.2. It is the highest D-score I have shown in competition yet, but as everyone knows a high D-score does not guarantee an event-final qualification. As you said, it was close for me to make the final, but unfortunately I made a few costly mistakes at the end of my routine, thus could not advance to the final.

IG: Over the past few years you have been close to making the rings final at the World Championships and other major competitions. There are many strong rings guys, so what improvements or changes to your routine will you make in order to make the Worlds final?

VH: Until now I mainly focused to improve my D-score, but now that I finally achieved a D-score above 6.0, I try to work on my execution and details. In my opinion, working on very small details is the only way to reach a major championships final in the future. Therefore I don’t plan any changes in my routine this year, but to improve my execution.

IG: What are your target competitions between now and Tokyo?

VH: The first step is the Universiade next month in Italy. It will be my first all-around competition in two years. The next target is the World Championships in Stuttgart in October. After Stuttgart I will know if I have the chance to participate in Tokyo and so any further plans can only be made after Stuttgart.

IG: What is your plan for trying to qualify for Tokyo as an individual? What chance do you think you have?

VH: I know that the qualification process is tough, and so I will take all the chances I have. I am returning to the all-around stage and trying to secure an all-around spot in Stuttgart. Since the places for pure event specialists are still very limited I think the all-around is my highest chance to qualify for the Games.

IG: Although you are known mainly for your expertise on rings, you are also an all-arounder. Going forward, do you plan to remain an all-arounder, or narrow your focus to competing on only rings and/or a few other apparatuses?

VH: I thought a lot about continuing in the all-around because it is very entertaining to practice and compete, but rings is a very special event and needs a lot of time to practice. Therefore I am thinking of narrowing my focus on rings and trying to become a true specialist in the future. However, until the World Championships in Stuttgart this year, I will focus on the all-around and try to qualify for Tokyo.

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