Jul 28, 2016

    Expect 'robots' Uchimura, Biles to floor rivals


    THE world's best gymnasts will be hoping the sweat and tears they have been shed in training will provide them with the spark they need at the Olympics to pull the plug on two record-chasing champions who have been dubbed "robots".

    Such has been the dominance of Japan's Kohei Uchimura and American Simone Biles over the four-year Olympic cycle that if they fail to win the all-around titles at the Rio Games, it will be considered one of the biggest shocks witnessed in the sport.

    Since Uchimura's arrival on the world stage, Japan have had to make do with silver medals behind champions China in 2008 and 2012.

    But having finally toppled China from their lofty perch at last year's world championships in Glasgow, he hopes he can now lead his band of Japanese brothers to Rio glory.

    Despite his diminutive 1.62m frame, Uchimura is regarded as a gymnastics Goliath as he has turned countless rivals into emotional wrecks in his never-ending search for perfection.

    "A lot of foreign athletes say I perform like a machine.

    "I take that as a compliment," said Uchimura, whose Olympic medal haul totals one gold and four silvers.

    The 27-year-old is not the only one expected to break records in Rio.

    Biles, who was 11 when Uchimura picked up his first Olympic medal in 2008, has also been an unstoppable force after becoming the first woman to win a "three-peat" of all-around golds at the worlds.

    "Everyone says that I'm an alien or a robot but I think he (Uchimura) is," said the 19-year-old.

    She is the most successful female athlete at the worlds with a record haul of 10 gold medals.

    Biles and her American team-mates - who include Olympic all-around champion Gabby Douglas - will be the overwhelming favourites to win a second successive gold, having annihilated all before them since 2011.