London 2012: Chile’s Tomás González seeks Olympic medal

London 2012: Chile’s Tomás González seeks Olympic medal

By Dialogo
July 23, 2012

SANTIAGO, Chile – Gymnast Tomás González knows exactly where he stands entering the London Games.

“I am a candidate to make it to the finals,” González, 26, said.

González, who will compete in the floor exercise and vault, has high aspirations after spending much of the past two years placing at some of the sport’s biggest international meets.

He started the year by winning gold in the vault and bronze on the floor exercise at the Grand Prix Osijek 2012 in Croatia in April before taking silver in floor at the Ghent Gymnastics World Cup in Belgium in June.

González, a Santiago native, entered the year ranked first in the floor exercise and vault by the International Gymnastics Federation after he won both events at the Paris World Cup in March 2011. At the 10th South American Artistic Gymnastics Championships in August of last year in Chile, Gonzalez won gold on the floor, vault and all-around, and silver on rings and parallel bars.

At the 2011 Pan American Games in Mexico, he won the silver medal in floor and became Chile’s first medalist ever in the all-around competition, as he earned the bronze medal with cumulative score 80,050 in the six events – floor exercise, pommel horse, rings, parallel bars, horizontal bar and vault.

González anticipates needing a score of 15.3 on the vault and 16.1 on the floor exercise in the preliminary rounds to make the medal round. Earlier this month at a local competition, González scored a 16.1 on the vault and a 15.45 on the floor exercise en route to winning both events.

González’s trainer, former Cuban gymnast Yoel Gutiérrez, who has coached him since 2007, is encouraged by the scores.

“It gives us a full chance at the Olympic finals,” he told local reporters.

Chile’s only Olympic gold medalists were Fernando González and Nicolás Massú, who teamed to win gold in the men’s tennis doubles competition in Athens in 2004, where Massú also took gold in singles.

Tomás González has trained nonstop the past two years so he can seize Olympic glory, increasing the difficulties of his routines so his trip to London ends with a medal. He’s already in London and will compete on July 28, the day after the Opening Ceremony of the Games of the XXX Olympiad.

“I have trained intensely during this last period to be able to try new floor routines, more difficult elements” González told Radio Bío-Bío in June. “Now, we’re fine-tuning what to do to keep from having important points taken off routines.”

Chileans have no doubt González’ performance will match his expectations, said Eugenio Figueroa, a sports journalist with TV station Canal 13.

“Of our five best Olympic athletes, Tomás González has the best chance of winning a medal,” he said. “Tomás is strongest with the vault, but Korean Yang Hak-seon could win that competition. With the floor exercise, if he makes it to the finals, that will be good.”