Thomas Bouhail en route to a silver medal at the Olympics
(Photo: Amy Sancetta/AP Photo)
Gymnastics: Thomas Bouhail in a Hurry to Get Going Again
Having won the Olympic silver medal on vault in Beijing in August, Thomas Bouhail is impatient to prove his talent in 2009 with a view to becoming "a good all-arounder" for the London Olympics in 2012.
The 22-year-old gymnast from Sotteville-les-Rouen has the European Championships in Milan from April 2nd to 5th in his sights, followed by the World Championships in London from October 12th to 18th.
"In both cases, I want to confirm [that I'm a good vaulter], and not let up. Now that I have the Olympic silver around my neck, I no longer have the right to lose, especially if the Olympic champion isn't there. In short, whatever the competition, I'm not asking for the moon," Bouhail told Reuters.
On December 14th, Thomas Bouhail raised himself to the height of his new ambition by winning, in the absence of the Olympic champion Leszek Blanik, the World Cup Final in Madrid.
But from December 7th to 10th, this new small phenomenon of world gymnastics was celebrating in Courchevel, Savoy, with the French medalists of this season's Olympic Games and World and European Championships.
"My medal has literally taken me beyond myself. After the celebrations, I immediately had to leave for the World Cup Final. Now I can't wait to see the next season begin," he explained..
"Always to deserve gold"
"A born and thus insatiable competitor," Thomas Bouhail is counting on Sebastien Darrigade, a former gymnast who is now his national coach.
"He knows me by heart, knows how to hold me back or push me when necessary. Our collaboration brings me tremendous calm," he underlined.
His Olympic silver medal has given him wings. "Even if it sticks in my throat because I'm 90% sure I should have finished first," he says with regret.
(Photo: AFP/Getty Images)
At the Olympic Games, his young age hardly seemed to faze him in face of the experience of the Pole Blanik, who is in his thirties. Two months earlier, Thomas Bouhail himself had only been the French team's alternate for Beijing after suffering problems with his right shoulder from July 2007 to January 2008.
"That's the way it goes! And anyway, if I'm honest, before the Games I would have settled quite happily for silver or even for bronze. Nevertheless, I'll do everything in my power in order always to deserve gold," he warned.
European vice-champion on floor in 2007, Thomas Bouhail expresses his desire "to become a good all-arounder between now and London 2012."
Even if his shoulder is interfering with his movements on rings, he assures that he "can perform on the other apparatus despite the pain."
Regarding this new challenge, the native of Seine Saint-Denis concludes, "It's my heart's desire. And if I achieve it, I'll be thrilled with any medal, whatever its color."