Olympic and World vault champion Ri Se Gwang announces retirement

By Patricia Duffy | February 19, 2020
Ri Se Gwang announces retirement
Courtesy F.I.G.

Vault phenom Ri Se Gwang announced his retirement last week after being a staple on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s national team for almost two decades.

The 35-year-old began training in gymnastics in Pyongyang around the age of 7. Ri climbed his way to the top, enduring setbacks and international turmoil, to become one of only three gymnasts from the Democratic People’s Republic to win an Olympic gold medal in gymnastics, alongside the 2008 women’s vault champion, Hong Un Jong, and the 1992 pommel horse co-champion, Pae Gil-sui.

Ri has been active on the international stage since 2003. His accolades over the years include four World medals (three gold, one bronze) and Olympic gold in Rio in 2016. He was not able to compete at the London Games in 2012 due to a ban imposed on his federation.

In his home country, Ri is widely regarded as a hero for his efforts. Internationally, he will continue to be known as a risk taker who always pushed the boundaries of his speciality apparatus, where he has two skills named after him in the men’s Code of Points. The Ri Se Gwang is a full-twisting double tsukahara. The Ri Se Gwang 2 is a front handspring double piked 1/2 twist. Check out those skills below!