Earlier this week, the South Korean rhythmic gymnastics star Son Yeon Jae arrived in Rio de Janeiro to prepare for the Olympic Rhythmic Gymnastics competition scheduled this weekend.
Since the beginning of this month, Son has been training in Sao Paolo with the Russian rhythmic gymnastics team, including the gymnastics stars Yana Kudryavtseva and Margarita Mamun.
The 2016 Rio Olympic Games will be the climax of the South Korean athlete’s career, where she will try to acquire South Korea’s first Olympic medal, a historic feat no other Korean rhythmic gymnast has ever made.
“The competition is just around the corner, and I have to stay focused and keep working hard to get a good result,” said Son, who achieved the fifth place in the individual All-around event at the London Olympic Games.
“Just because I’ve experienced the Olympics once, it won’t mean the second Olympics will be any easier,” the Korean gymnast added. “This is such a huge stage, and everyone has been training hard for this. And because I have worked hard for it also, I want to make sure I won’t have any regrets.”
A day after her arrival in Rio, the 22-year-old South Korean gymnast began practicing her routines twice a day in preparation for the Olympic Games. She will continue training at this pace until the start of her competition.
“Since the Olympics will be the last competition of the season, I’d like to show everything I have in clean, mistake-free programs,” she said. “I think it’s helped that I’ve been training in Brazil all along.”
Since 2011, Son has been practicing her routines in Russia, and even trained with the Russian athletes ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games.
Son hauled a total of 17 medals during the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup cycle this season, including silver and a bronze each in the individual All-around event.
Based on her scores at this season’s World Cup cycle, Son has been ranked as the fifth best gymnast in the world.
After claiming a combined total of seven all-around titles at the 2016 World Cup cycle, Russians Yana Kudryavtseva and Margarita Mamun are expected to achieve the top two spots in Rio.
The world’s third best gymnast, Aleksandra Soldatova, will not be able to compete in Rio due to a two-per-country rule of the Olympic Games. That leaves Son Yeon Jae and world’s rank 4 Ganna Rizatdinova competing for the bronze medal.
Son Yeon Jae has been one of the most renowned and highest-achieving athletes of South Korea for years, and acquiring a historic Olympic medal in Rio will make her achieve a new level of stardom.
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