Even when pressure mounts upon the stout shoulders of Tomás González – the first Chilean gymnast to qualify for the Olympic Games – his trademark smile never fades.
Now the Chilean medal hope has even more reason to smile, after González qualified for the men’s gymnastics final in both the floor and vault exercises on the first weekend of the 2012 London Olympic Games.
And as Chile rides a wave of national pride into the coming finals, the entire country is hoping the young athlete can perform the routine of his life.
González is no stranger to the pressure that international competition brings. His explosive performances have already yielded nine medals for Chile at World Cup events, five at the Pan American Games, and first place at the January 2012 London Olympics qualifier event.
In April 2011, he was ranked number one in the world for floor and vault for the first time.
But nothing compares to the intensity of the Olympic stage, where eyes the world over watch, and where a single moment may provide a life-altering bearing upon his life.
For those who witnessed his finals-qualifying performances, his ear to ear smiles before and after, spoke volumes to his character, while the concentration shown in between displayed his athleticism to the world.
What the final scores will be for Tomás González at this year’s Games still lies with his performances, but we are certain no matter where they fall on the scoreboard, the experience will have a long-lasting and positive effect upon gymnastics in Chile.
For one thing, González has already declared an ambition to open his own gym when he returns, and create a place where he can use his special ability and successes to guide and train aspiring gymnasts.
Good luck in the finals Tomás! We are rooting for you!
When to see González
The men’s floor exercise finals will be held on Sunday, August 5, at 2 pm local time (9 am in Chile), while the vault finals will be on at Monday, August 6, at 3:40 pm (10:40 am in Chile).