Bulgaria's Legendary Yovchev Says Goodbye with Grand Benefice Show

Sports | February 23, 2013, Saturday // 15:22|  views

The silver-haired Bulgarian with chiselled physique received numerous rounds of standing ovations at his benefice show Saturday evening, just a day before he turned 40. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

Bulgaria's Yordan Yovchev, 39, who became last year the first ever male gymnast to compete in six Olympic Games, kept his promise to deliver an unforgettable benefice show for all his fans Saturday evening.

Many political and showbiz celebrities attended this historic sport event. Gymnastics fans were looking impatiently forward to see again in action the man, who made history by becoming the first ever male gymnast to compete in six Olympic Games, only to announce officially the end of his competitive sport career shortly afterwards. 11 000 of them turned up at Sofia's Arena Armeets sports hall on February 23, but many more missed out on tickets.

"This is my way to say thank you to all those who supported me thorough the years. Let's take this event as a new beginning, not as the end of my sports career," Yovchev emotionally shared.

The revenues raised at the event will be used for the future development of gymnastics in Bulgaria.

Yovchev's spirited performance in the Olympics rings final earned him the seventh place on August 6, as he was ardently applauded both by the audience and his much younger rivals.

Yovchev has been battling serious shoulder injuries and recently admitted he has been trying different types of treatment to ease the pain.

The four-times world champion never had the chance to win an Olympic gold medal.

In the rings competition of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, Dimosthenis Tampakos of Greece received a generous score of 9.862. Then Yovchev, with a perfect performance, superior in every way, received a 9.850.

Yovchev said he has been robbed, while Bulgarian media slammed the decision of the judges as the "theft of the century".

The inspiring gymnast is now the president of his country's gymnastics federation.

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Tags: Yordan Yovchev, Olympic Games, rings, International Olympic Committee, IOC


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