Japan's Uchimura Wins All-Around Gymnastics Gold

Kohei Uchimura of Japan retained his all-around title Friday at the world gymnastics championships, despite a heavily taped left shoulder.

He gave a command performance with six consistently good scores to win the title with 92.331 points for a huge 2.283 margin over silver medalist Philipp Boy of Germany. Jonathan Horton of the United States was 2.467 behind for bronze.

The 21-year-old Uchimura already led Japan to the team silver medal behind China on Thursday. He also qualified for two apparatus finals this weekend.

“The first thing I want now is rest,” he said after 11 apparatus performances in 24 hours.

After a stunning performance, Uchimura did little more than wave and smile at the rapturous crowd of 7,000 at the Ahoy Arena, where the Japanese flags were flying high.

Uchimura used the same smooth grace that gave him all-around silver at the Beijing Olympics and gold at the world championships in London last year. Now, he proved even pain and injury can’t stop him in the competition that crowns the world’s greatest gymnast.

“It is the adrenaline,” Uchimura said through a translator.

He came to Rotterdam with an inflamed shoulder and said the pain was getting progressively worse. Still, once he focused on the competition, there was no room for distraction.

“A bum shoulder, no shoulder, no arms. The guy is ridiculous. Uchimura — he is a machine,” Horton said.

In Uchimura’s shadow, Boy took over the role of the absent Fabian Hambuechen to earn a surprise silver with clean routines. Hambuechen, the 2007 runner-up, had a lingering Achilles’ injury that kept him out of the all-around finals.

“It is 100 percent a dream,” Boy said. “After the team bronze on Thursday. Now the silver.”

Horton had a strong finish on the parallel bars and high bar to earn bronze. Horton’s extra steps on his landing in the vault may have cost him the silver.

Uchimura dominated from the opening floor event, flying higher and landing steadier than the competition to open up a huge half-point margin. Boy got the crowd going with his acrobatics, but it was no match for Uchimura’s elegance.

On the pommel horse, Horton was clean throughout his traditionally worst event. Still, Uchimura was just as good and added a grace of movement belying the strain on his shoulder muscles. Again, he dominated with stunning ease.

If he was going to show some weakness, it was going to be on the third event, the rings. Team officials even added more skin-colored tape to his left shoulder, knowing it was the toughest test of his injury.

“I felt some tightness after the horse and they took care of that,” he said.

During qualifying, Uchimura said adrenaline got him through the pain. He skipped the event during team competition on Thursday. He carried on with another near-flawless performance Friday, swinging freely before hanging dead-still in a skip of a beat. When he nailed his landing, he had again increased his lead in the top group on everyone but Horton, who got the best ring marks.

Uchimura had a sloppy landing on his parallel bar routine, but it didn’t matter. He was not conservative on the high bar to protect his lead on the last event.

“I just wanted to execute my training routine,” he said.

Uchimura’s job was easier because last year’s silver medalist, Daniel Keatings, is sidelined with a torn knee ligament.