Chinese trampolinist Dong Dong bounces to record fourth Olympics

Shanghai (AFP) –


Legendary Chinese trampolinist Dong Dong will compete at the Tokyo Olympics, state media said on Wednesday, making a record fourth appearance at the Games.

The 12-time former world champion will be the first male trampolinist to participate in four Olympics and will be desperate to go out on a high -- he has said that he will retire after Tokyo.

The 32-year-old, who has won a medal at each of the last three Olympics, will take part in the men's individual event.

Dong qualified second for the Chinese team behind the 2019 world champion Gao Lei, Xinhua news agency said, citing a notice from China's gymnastics authorities.

"My goal for Tokyo is always to win the gold medal," Dong told AFP in 2018, before the coronavirus pandemic postponed the 2020 Games to this July-August.

Dong hopes that his age can be an advantage.

"My mentality is my advantage over younger trampolinists. I know better how to take advantage of the nervousness. I make fewer mistakes," he said in 2018.

Dong has reached the podium in all three of his previous Olympic appearances: bronze at the age of 19 in Beijing in 2008, gold in London four years later and silver in Rio in 2016.

Dong was the oldest competitor in the men's individual final at Rio, where he missed out on becoming the first back-to-back winner as Uladzislau Hancharou of Belarus beat him to the title.

Like many Chinese gymnasts, Dong has been training since childhood, joining a gymnastics team at the age of five.