Already victorious in the all-around, floor exercise and rings, the 15-year-old Kitazono came out on top in the parallel bars and horizontal bar to become the first artistic gymnast to win five gold medals at the Youth Olympic Games. He also won silver in the team competition earlier at Buenos Aires.
‘Takeru, Takeru, Takeru we love you,’ sang the crowd after he had completed his stunning medal haul, prompting the teenage star to smile and blush. “I am happy that I have won five gold medals here, but I have failed in one of my finals: the pommel horse, where I ended up sixth. That is the only medal that I didn’t win,” Kitazono said.
“I have shown everything that I have been training for here,” he added. “Through the support I had here at Buenos Aires 2018, I have been able to showcase my talent and that turned out to be enough for five gold medals. Of course there were a lot of expectations around me and I am very proud that I was able to meet those here. It is a great result. I will now use this experience in the lead-up to the Tokyo Olympic Games, where I also want to win a gold medal.”
On parallel bars, Kitazono finished 0.366 points ahead of silver medallist Yin Dehang. Sergei Naidin of Russia won the bronze.
In the horizontal bar final, the Japanese finished ahead of Brazil’s Diogo Soares, the bronze medallist in the men’s all-around final. The bronze went to Hungary’s Krisztian Balazs, who also won a floor silver earlier in the week.
“My main focus was the all-around final and I was already amazed to win a medal there,” Soares said. “To win another medal on the horizontal bar is a great bonus to finish this competition.”
On parallel bars, Kitazono finished 0.366 points ahead of Yin Dehang (CHN), who finished second.
I will now use this experience in the lead-up to the Tokyo Olympic Games, where I also want to win a gold medal. Takeru Kitazono Japan - Takeru Kitazono Japan
Italy’s Giorgia Villa won the women’s floor exercise to collect her third gold of Buenos Aires 2018, the first two having come in the all-around and the vault. “To be honest I just wanted to win here and I am very happy to have done so,” said the Italian after topping the podium from Great Britain’s Amelie Morgan and Ukraine’s Anastasiia Bachynska.
“I will now focus on my new goals, especially those for next year when I turn senior,” added Villa. “But I will celebrate first, of course. There are a lot of emotions going through my mind right now. I had a great time and this result is simply amazing.”
In the day’s other competition, the women’s balance beam, Xijing Tang of China won gold from Russia’s Kseniia Klimenko, with Great Britain’s Morgan stepping up to the podium again to collect the bronze.