I’m Happy to Be One of the Best in The World: Lee Chih Kai Eyes Tokyo Gold Medal

After a disappointing individual finish in Rio nearly five years ago, Lee Chih Kai is looking towards the upcoming Tokyo Olympics not only with a team at his side, but with Olympic gold medal prospects on his specialty, Pommel horse.

Renowned for his crowd-pleasing, flare saturated routine composition, Chih Kai is the first Taiwanese gymnast to ever medal on pommel horse at a World Championships.

“I’m really happy that I can be one of the best in the world, it can help everyone make progress, it’s actually a really good opportunity to make everybody watch me as a model for people to study. Until now I didn’t think about becoming a person like this- it feels really amazing.”

In order to maximize his difficulty, Chih Kai works very closely with his coach, Lin Zexin to construct a routine that maximizes difficulty and execution.

“I’m changing his routine before the Tokyo Olympics,” Zexin said. “I added some new elements, but these are like a weapon. We are working continuously to get his whole set together.”

In a clip from an internal Taiwanese competition last week, Chih Kai showed off new upgrades boosting his already monstrous difficulty score to a 6.7.

Like many athletes, the road to Tokyo hasn’t been easy. The postponement of the Games has been a mental game for everybody involved. The postponement and cancelling of many international competitions has only elevated the stress and uncertainty.

“This more or less has an impact, the process has been really difficult because I don’t know when the Games will happen, or if they could be canceled. I think my mindset is a really important issue,” Chih Kai said.

As of now, the Taiwanese gymnastics federation has opted out of all competitions in February and March, but are expecting to send a team to Hangzhou, China for the Asian Games in May to get back in competition shape before the Olympic Games in July.

The road to the Olympics hasn’t been easy for Chih Kai, but he has shown to persevere even through setbacks and uncertainty.

“On the road from kindergarten to now, we almost broke off from our dreams, however he [Chih Kai] persevered and didn’t give up on his dream,” Coach Zexu said. “On this road we’ve had our ups and downs, but we still got what we wanted. From the establishment of our country fifty years ago, we weren’t even close to touching a team final result and now we have it.”

Whatever happens, Chih Kai is focusing on his training and preparation.

“It’s about returning back to my best form, going to competitions in my best form, exhibiting my best self. Compared to others I feel there is less pressure. Then I can do my best at the meet and the results will follow.”


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