You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Three Kiwi gymnasts to compete at Rio

NZN 10/05/2016

A trio of gymnasts will compete for New Zealand at August's Olympics including the first-ever trampolinist.

Aucklander Dylan Schmidt is the only Kiwi trampoline specialist to qualify for the Games, reaching his target at the test event in Rio in April.

He will be joined by artistic gymnasts Misha Koudinov and Courtney McGregor, rounding out the largest New Zealand Olympic gymnastics contingent for more than 50 years.

It is a boost for the sport, which hasn't boasted an Olympic athlete since David Phillips at Sydney 2000.

For Aucklander Schmidt, 19, the historical feat is a reward for several years of solid international results.

His silver medal at the test event followed a top-10 placing at last year's world championships in Denmark.

Christchurch 18-year-old McGregor specialises in the vault but will compete on all four women's apparatus in Rio.

She reached the vault final at a World Cup event in Doha two years ago and followed up with a silver medal at last year's Pacific Rim championships and 17th place in the vault at the subsequent world championships.

McGregor said she completed a handstand lap around her lounge when she learned of her Rio selection.

"At primary school I always said I wanted to be an Olympic gymnast when I grew up, without actually realising all of the hard work it would take," she said.

Aucklander Koudinov, 24, is more accomplished, having competed at the 2006 and 2010 Commonwealth Games, where he failed to win a medal.

He has completed a four-year US scholarship at Ohio State University and is confident his experience can hold him in good stead at Rio.

"I've known I've wanted to compete at the Olympic Games since I started gymnastics. I felt it was my destiny to dedicate my life to it and reach as high as possible," he said.

Koudinov, who finished just 0.234 points off making the parallel bar finals at last year's world championships, will contest all six men's apparatus in Rio.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon