Legendary Bulgarian Gymnast Yovchev Retires at 39

Sports | August 24, 2012, Friday // 12:54
Bulgaria: Legendary Bulgarian Gymnast Yovchev Retires at 39 Bulgaria's legendary Yordan Yovchev, 39, the first male gymnast to compete in his sixth Olympic Games, received loud and wholehearted acclaim as he ranked seventh in the rings final on August 6. Photo by EPA/BGNES

Bulgaria's Yordan Yovchev, 39, who became the first ever male gymnast to compete in six Olympic Games, has officially announced the end of his competitive sport career.

"It's time for me to say enough. I can go on, but I see no point in that. There is nothing for me to pursue any more. A next Olympics? It would be ridiculous to perform gymnastics at 50. I don't even consider training anymore," Yovchev told reporters on Friday.

The legendary gymnast revealed that he planned a benefit performance in Sofia's Arena Armeets sports hall in November.

"I have not set the date yet, but a benefit performance in November would be great," he said, adding that he would invite the latest Olympic champions, as well as promising Bulgarian youngsters.

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 greying gymnastics veteran won in January a quota for the London Summer Olympics despite a shoulder painful injury. This was his sixth participation in Olympic Games for the 39-year-old, a world record in itself.

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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Tags: Yordan Yovchev, rings, Olympic Games, London 2012, gymnast, gymnastics

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