Bulgaria Legendary Gymnast Yovchev Receives Top IOC Award
The silver-haired Bulgarian with chiselled physique received standing ovations as he ranked seventh at the rings final in London Olympics in August. File photo
Bulgaria's Yordan Yovchev, 39, who became this year the first ever male gymnast to compete in six Olympic Games, has been recognized by the International Olympic Committee for his extraordinary contribution to sports.
Yovchev will be awarded the International Olympic Committee's 2012 - IOC - Sport and Sustainable Development trophy at a ceremony in Sofia on Monday.
In the summer Yordan Yovchev made history by becoming the first ever male gymnast to compete in six Olympic Games, only to announce officially the end of his competitive sport career shortly afterwards.
The legendary gymnast plans a benefit performance in Sofia's Arena Armeets sports hall in November, but no date has been set yet.
Yovchev's spirited performance in the Olympics rings final earned him the seventh place on August 6, as he was ardently applauded both by the audience and his much younger rivals.
Yovchev has been battling serious shoulder injuries and recently admitted he has been trying different types of treatment to ease the pain.
The four-times world champion never had the chance to win an Olympic gold medal.
In the rings competition of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, Dimosthenis Tampakos of Greece received a generous score of 9.862. Then Yovchev, with a perfect performance, superior in every way, received a 9.850.
Yovchev said he has been robbed, while Bulgarian media slammed the decision of the judges as the "theft of the century".
The inspiring gymnast is now the president of his country's gymnastics federation.
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