Born on 8th September 1987 in Unterhaching, Munich, Germany, Marcel Nguyen, started gymnastics at the early age of four. At the age of ten, he was already part of the top young gymnasts in Germany and subsequently opened the door for his first ever international competition in 2002.
With several National and European Championship medals in his record, his popularity intensified in 2012 when he brought home two Olympic Silver Medals in Men’s Artistic Individual All-Around and Parallel Bars from the London Olympic Games.
In September 2014, the two-time Olympic medalist, suffered from a knee injury which required immediate surgery of his ligaments and then a second surgery needs to be performed five months later. As a result, he missed his chance to compete in the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships which were held in Nanning, China, that same year.
We had the good fortune to ask the Olympian about his vision as well as his preparations for the upcoming Rio 2016, his relationship with his coach, and his sacrifices as an athlete.
Eugephemisms: What does Gymnastics mean to you?
Marcel Nguyen: That means really much for sure. I have been doing gymnastics since I was a small child and that actually made me exactly the person that I am now.
E: How do you envision Team Germany’s performance in the coming Rio Olympics? How are the preparations?
MN: I feel that I’m a part of a good team; no more, no less. I still hope to be qualified for participation. I think I’m quite good on the parallel bars and on the horizontal bar, so that means I can bring my team further as well.
E: Being in the elite level of this competitive sport, in your opinion, what does it require from the athletes? What should they invest in terms of the physical, social, and mental aspects? What are the sacrifices?
MN: Sure, the professional athletes must avoid a lot of stuff and should follow the perfect discipline–thinking all the time if he is allowed to do this or that. Always think about the body: bear a good ratio while sleeping or having lunch. Many think that gymnasts eat much to maintain their weight. Actually, that’s not the case. Sometimes I even try to avoid lunch or have a snack, so as not to have a full belly during a training session. The athletes have a nutrition plan, although it’s very difficult to follow.
E: How important is it for an athlete to maintain a good rapport with the coach?
MN: It’s very important without any doubt. You can only build a strong team if you have a good relationship with you trainer. From the very beginning I feel that I’m very lucky to have met some great people in my life, especially my coach Valery Belenki.
E: At what point can you say that you have reached everything in Gymnastics?
MN: I can now say that I have already achieved what I had desired — the 2 Olympic medals — and one of them is from an Overall Ranking, what else can I wish for? At this point in my athletic career, I feel that I don’t have much to lose. All that I’ll do next will bring much fun and I will surely enjoy those moments. I’d be very happy to experience Olympics once again. I don’t want to say that these Olympics aren’t my target or desire. No. They are my next big goal for my own sport story. I mean that even now I can say: I’m good with everything I have.
E: Outside of the gymnastics world, who is the athlete that you admire most and why?
MN: Oh, this is an extremely difficult question, there are so many that I can hardly pick someone. Let’s say David Beckham: He’s a very interesting person not only as a sport personality but as a guy who have created his life in a very good manner.
Let’s follow his journey as he ‘cartwheels’, ‘somersaults’ and ‘handsprings’ his way to the very heart of the Olympics. @themarcelnguyen
All images used with permission from 24passion GbR.