November 27, 2008

Diego Hypolito to Avenge Olympic Disaster with Super Difficult Routine in Madrid

The Beijing Olympics were full of drama. Among other major and minor upsets, world champ Shawn Johnson was beaten to the all-around title by Nastia Liukin, Beth Tweddle failed to medal on bars, Li Shanshan failed to medal on beam, and Cheng Fei and Anna Pavlova had complete meltdowns in the event finals. On the men's side, Marian Drăgulescu failed to medal on either floor or vault, which was all the more dramatic since he had just incurred a huge debt to pay for his deaf daughter's expensive surgery. Dragulescu really needed the Beijing prize money to pay off this debt, but a mistake on floor and a botched second vault ruined his chances of a nice and quick fortune.

All these dramas were painful and hard to watch. Some of them left us with tears in our eyes. Yet the most heart-wrenching one of all, we think, was Diego Hypolito's disastrous floor exercise. The Brazilian super tumbler got off to a great start on floor, then fell on his double Arabian and spent the next half hour looking absolutely devastated. He just sat there holding his head, seemingly in complete disbelief and agony at his failure to grab the opportunity of a lifetime. It was heart-breaking to behold.

Diego Hypolito in Beijing (photo: Reuters)

If the Globoesporte article posted below is anything to go by, Diego needed some time to get over the shock. Reportedly he hit the Rio night life hard for a while before pulling himself together and dedicating himself to his sport again. But his failure to medal in Beijing only seems to have made him more determined. While his competitors are recuperating from their Olympic efforts, Diego Hypolito is apparently going all out on his training. The reason? He wants to present a humongously difficult floor exercise at the upcoming World Cup Final. More difficult than the one he presented in Beijing, which was the hardest one on show in the final.

Good. That's one reason to watch the World Cup Final then. God knows there aren't many others, what with half our favorite gymnasts sitting the event out because of injuries.

Anyhow, this is the Globoesporte article referred to above. Enjoy!

Untraumatized, Diego Hypolito will try to get over his disappointment at the World Cup Final

When he got home after Beijing, Diego Hypolito made some changes to his daily routine. Rattled by the fall that prevented him from vying for a medal, he felt he needed to "overflow." After months of tremendous discipline, he began to go out, not returning home until 6 AM the next day. It worried his friends and family. Three months later, they have no reason to fear. The two-time world champion is training hard and hopes to find in London what destiny denied him in China: The dream of becoming an Olympic champion.

(photo: Reuters)

"I needed some time to relax, because starting from the first week of training of the upcoming year, I'll have to deal with everything. I was very sad at the Olympics, but only for a moment. I wasn't finished. People said to me, "Stay strong, don't give up!" I won't give up. I love all this."

Indeed, one day in the gym with the gymnast suffices to see that the words "give up" have never been part of his vocabulary. Although he smiles a lot and keeps joking around with his friends - especially his sister Daniele and Jade Barbosa - the gymnast is 100% focused once he gets on the apparatus.

There's a reason why he's working so hard even though the exhausting Olympic cycle has come to an end. While his competitors are recuperating, Diego insists on keeping training in order to show off a 6.8 start value on floor at the World Cup Final in Madrid in December. That's a higher start value than the one he used in Beijing [6.7].

"Nobody is training as hard as he is," his coach, Renato Araújo, told Globoesporte. "If it were up to me, Diego would take it a bit easier, but he wants a more difficult routine. He obviously wants to get over his disappointment, and I'd be very happy if he did."

Diego courageously acknowledges that he made a mistake in the Olympic final. The image of his fall in Beijing still pops up in his head during training, along with the hope that his time to shine is still to come.

(photo: Reuters)

"It didn't work out [in Beijing] because it wasn't meant to happen. I trained hard. I arrived here (at Flamengo) at 7 AM on the dot and left at 8 PM each day. I highly valued the Olympics. I worked hard to get there. Was that a mistake? No, it wasn't. Am I thinking of going to the next Olympics? Yes, I am," he told Globoesporte.

Before getting started on his new challenge, the gymnast will make two major dreams come true. Diego is preparing a visit to Disney [Disney World, presumably] in January - along with Daniele and Jade, obviously. Moreover, he is excited about the purchase of his first house, in Barra da Tijuca, a western borough of Rio de Janeiro.

"I'm not traumatized by the Olympics. Quite the contrary. Bring on the next ones! Despite everything, it was a moment of victory in my life," says Diego.

Now that's what we call a healthy attitude toward life!

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