Jovtchev: "I'm competing for fun"

6:00 AM

A great article is on The Pakistan Daily Times courtesy of Reuters about Men's Artistic Gymnastic Jordan Jovtchev. So much respect for this six time Olympian who is also the President of the Bulgarian Gymnastics Federation and who will only be competing on Still Rings. The article is from http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012%5C07%5C25%5Cstory_25-7-2012_pg2_14 but you can read it below:

His 39-year-old body is “falling apart”, his back is “hurting” and his ankles are “killing” him but even if he has to be pushed out in a wheelchair, gymnastics’s elder statesman Jordan Jovtchev is determined to make one final hurrah at the Olympics. On Saturday, the Bulgarian strongman will be the oldest competitor to stride, or even hobble, out at the North Greenwich Arena for what will be a record sixth Olympics for a gymnast.
With his distinctive salt-and-pepper hair, Jovtchev could easily be mistaken as an official or a coach whenever he marches into a sporting arena. But lift him up on his signature apparatus, the rings, and the years fade away. Since winning his first international medal in 1995, Jovtchev has scooped four at the Olympics, 13 at the world championships and nine at the Europeans. Although he is prepared to battle through the pain barrier with gritted teeth over the next week, Jovtchev is realistic that his hopes of winning an elusive Olympic gold is all but over. “I guess my body is telling me I’m too old for this. I’m just doing what I’m capable of doing. I don’t really care. I know I am the oldest gymnast here and everybody knows that,” Jovtchev, who has won world titles on rings and the floor, told Reuters. “I am just doing rings. My back’s hurting, my ankles are killing me, so it’s not worth trying anything else. “I’m just trying to survive. My body’s falling apart. My goal is to be here and enjoy the Olympic Games without any pressure as before I was always fighting for a medal,” added Jovtchev, who will retire after the Games. 
Jovtchev also has an ulterior motive for competing in London as his participation has kept several people in gainful employment - at least until the close of the Games on August 12. “I’m competing to support the Bulgarian gymnastics federation. If we have a gymnast at the Olympic Games, then we will have head coach, a masseuse, doctors... going to the Olympics,” added Jovtchev, who is also president of his nation’s gymnastics federation. “If we didn’t have a male going to the Olympics, it would’ve been tough for the Bulgarian gymnastics federation to survive. (So keeping a lot of people employed) is part of it,” he added with a grin. While Jovtchev might feel like a relic competing against a bunch of 20 somethings, he is keen to leave a lasting legacy in the sport. “I just wanted to do another Olympics because I’ll be the only male gymnast who has been to six Olympics. To be here is unique,” said the Bulgarian. “It hurts that I never won an Olympic gold. I’m getting old and my chances are now limited to almost zero. I doubt I’ll get that gold medal now. “I’m not really counting on a gold anymore. I’m competing just for fun.”

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