- 25 Sep 2000
- Sydney 2000
Gymnast Nemov records another six-medal haul
Russian gymnast Aleksey Nemov had set himself a high standard in Atlanta four years earlier, coming away with two golds, a silver and three bronze medals. Now, still a young man at the age of 24, he was back to see if he could repeat the feat.
Nemov had endured a series of injuries since Atlanta, which had hindered his progress, particularly in the all-around category that had brought him his silver in Atlanta. Nemov's strength when it came to floor exercises remained undiminished, and he won gold at the World Championships in both 1997 and 1999, but failed to make the all-around podium at either.
Perhaps it was returning to the Olympic stage that inspired him; or perhaps he had simply timed his recuperation perfectly. Whatever the reason, he started the Sydney Games in tremendous style, leading the way in qualification for the all-around competition.
In the final, he again produced a fine display on every piece of apparatus, serving up a series of error-free routines. Although the scoring was close, he led from start to finish, prevailing over China's Wei Yang by just over one tenth of a point to take the gold.
Nemov followed that up with a silver medal in the floor exercises, where he was surprisingly beaten by Latvian gymnast Igors Vihrovs. However, returned to the top step of the podium with a surprise victory on the horizontal bar. Few, including Nemov himself, considered it his best event, but the Russian produced a wonderful display to match the score of France's Benjamin Varonian, with the gold awarded to Nemov on the basis of his better execution score.
There were bronze medals too, on the parallel bars, the pommel horse and also as part of the Russian all-around team, which meant that Nemov finished the Games with two golds, a silver and three bronzes – exactly matching his Atlanta tally.
It was the biggest haul of medals enjoyed by any athlete in Sydney and left him with 12 Olympic medals overall and a place among gymnastics’ all-time greats.