After a near-perfect performance last month at the Olympic Test Event for Floor Exercises in England, Tomás González waited eagerly for the judges to announce his score, with coach Yoel Gutiérrez near his side.
With a score of 15.466, it was enough to beat out stiff competition for the gold medal by two hometown favorites from Great Britain, turning a dream into reality for the Chilean, who had hoped to medal in the Test Event for floor exercises.
Just a few days earlier, González had made Chilean history by becoming the first national gymnast to qualify for the Olympic Games, during a near-perfect performance in the All Around Olympic Test Event.
The 26-year-old athlete from Santiago received an 87.456, placing him in sixth place overall and second place for gymnasts qualifying by themselves and not as part of a team. Mexico’s Daniel Corral took the gold that day, with an overall score of 88.465, but it didn’t matter for the Chilean: González had already secured one of the 18 positions available to qualify for the London 2012 Olympics.
“I still can’t wrap my head around it, but I’m beginning to realize that I have qualified for the Olympic Games,” González told Radio Universidad de Chile.
“This is the dream that I’ve had since I was a kid, the dream of a lifetime and I have just made it come true.”
González will become one of a select handful of Chilean athletes to have competed in the world’s most-viewed sporting event. Chile’s Olympic hopes have usually rested on the tennis court, not in the realm of gymnastics.
So how is he feeling about his chances for London 2012?
“I am a candidate to reach the finals of the Olympic Games. There are a lot of factors that come into play… you have to go step by step. I don’t like to speculate, but I am without a doubt aspiring to reach an Olympic final,” González said.
“The most important thing here is that the athlete is on a roll and he is very willing to succeed, with a lot of confidence … he believes in himself,” said his coach.