According to Eurosport Italy, 2004 Olympic horizontal bar champion Igor Cassina is determined to win a medal at the upcoming Europeans in Milan. The competition, which Cassina calls “the most important meet of my life,” may end up being his swan song, because if he doesn’t medal, he is ready to leave competitive gymnastics and devote himself to coaching instead. “If I don’t at least win a medal in 2009, I’m ready to retire, commit to my degree in sports science and take up gymnastics coaching,” stated Cassina, with particular reference to the European Championships, which will take place in Milan in late March and early April.
“I’m 31 years old,” said the former Olympic champion, “and knowing I can win is no longer enough. I need to bring home a medal.” And to do that in front of his home crowd (Cassina was born in Seregno and now lives and trains in Meda, near Milan) would be fantastic - the crowning achievement of a very successful career.
Igor Cassina in Beijing (photo: Getty Images)
The new Code of Points has brought Cassina a couple of bittersweet changes. He has decided he will no longer compete his supremely difficult “Cassina 2,” a double-twisting Kovacs, as the additional twist will not be awarded any bonus points (see Cassina perform the skill here). However, his famous other signature skill, the “Cassina” (a laid-out full-twisting Kovacs), formerly an F, now carries a G value, which means the skill will be worth 0.7 from now on (up from 0.6 last year). Cassina hopes the skill will help him defeat rivals such as Hambüchen and Zonderland in Milan.
“I feel the will and pleasure to get to my appointment in Milan in top form, to give a great performance in front of my home crowd, and to postpone the day of my retirement as far as possible,” Cassina told Eurosport.
Here’s hoping Cassina will get his medal and stick around for a bit longer!
(Many thanks to Luisa for providing the translation on which this post was based!)