How does he do that?
Even though Quebec gymnast Rene Cournoyer did not advance to any finals at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Saturday morning, he still managed to blow our minds as he competed for Team Canada in the qualifying rounds of men's artistic gymnastics.
The 24-year-old from Repentigny, who studies physiotherapy at Université de Montréal, was named Gymnastics Canada's Senior Male Athlete of the Year in both 2017 and 2018 — and, despite his results at the Olympics, it's easy to see why.
Ahead of his competition, Cournoyer said he "Can't wait to compete Saturday!" on Instagram. He gave no indication of nerves, despite the qualifiers being scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Japan time — which is 1:30 a.m. for Montrealers. His posts also gave us a glimpse of the venue, including the empty stands that make this year's Games feel unusual and subdued.
Cournoyer started on the vault before moving on to the parallel bars, the horizontal bar, the floor, the pommel horse and the rings.
According to Gymnastics Canada, the national governing body for gymnastics, Cournoyer's overall score was 77.697 – "well below the score of 82 he'd hoped would advance him to the all-around finals," but his moves were still a sight to see as he launched himself into the air, flung his body around the pommel horse and held himself upside down.
"It was a difficult competition, and not necessarily the performance I was expecting, but I had a lot of fun, and I'm very happy with the experience I've gained, and the memories I've made," Cournoyer told Gymnastics Canada.
"I had a lot of new skills, and all of them went through - it's the easier ones that I missed but that happens. Pommel is an event that I had a lot of trouble with in training and that went through, and rings was a tough routine with a new skill and it went through and I was very happy with it. I finished strong, I had some mistakes, but overall, I'm very happy with everything."
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