Dalaloyan crowned King Artur

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Dalaloyan crowned King Artur

November 8, 2018

As the most decorated male gymnast at #DohaGym2018

After winning three European titles (team, vault and parallel bars) in Glasgow just a few months ago, Artur Dalaloyan was dubbed ‘King Artur’ at the World Championships in Doha last week as he collected an impressive set of 5 medals, becoming the most successful male gymnast there. Starting with a silver medal with the team, the first medal for Russia since 2006 but a bit of a disappointment nonetheless as the guys were so close to gold. Their biggest mistake: a fall off parallel bars by Dalaloyan.

He refocused immediately though. Fourth all-around in qualification after a fall on pommel horse, he battled the defending Champion Xiao Ruoteng until the very last exercise. The pair actually tied but the tie break rules stipulate that then the lowest score needs to be dropped, giving Dalaloyan the gold medal. The first Russian gymnast to win all-around gold since 1999 when Nikolay Kryukov won in Tianjin, Dalaloyan said afterwards: "I'm overwhelmed by emotions. I had only one goal, and that was to perform my job from beginning to end without mistakes. I was surprised and can’t say anything more. I’m just so happy. I feel good, excellent. I simply tried my best to show my best. I can’t believe it yet. I need to probably go to my hotel, take a deep breath and realise that yes, I won this championship.”

Dalaloyan qualified for four apparatus finals. After his all-around victory he received messages from all around the globe, including from Russian President Vladimir Putin: “The President’s telegram really inspired me! I was still in my bed this morning, setting myself up for the competition and I received the photo of the telegram. It is very dear to me! It ignited me so much that I didn’t even warm up today, I didn’t need anything, I was ready to do anything possible in order to win gold. I’m very happy and proud”. The best kind of inspiration it seemed as Dalaloyan tumbled to his second World title, beating Japan’s Kenzo Shirai on floor.

On the last day of the Championships, Dalaloyan performed three more times, winning silver on vault and bronze on parallel bars. He ended with a fall from high bar, the fatigue taking its toll. The 22-year-old stays realistic, and optimistic: “There is still room for achievement. It’s good that I still have room to improve. There is no limit for perfection.”

Things didn’t always go smooth for Dalaloyan though and his recent success comes after many setbacks: "It wasn't easy for me because two years ago I wasn't a part of the main Russian team. Back then I was a boy and not a man. I now feel as though I have grown up and have an understanding of what I want to get from gymnastics. We get money and we get medals, so I've changed my mindset and now I'm a champion."

Kryukov was one of the coaches who guided him through his rollercoaster career. Lack of confidence resulted in inconsistent performances, and he went through a rebellious period in his teens that resulted in being expelled from the national team. He says it took him a month or so of being stubborn to come back to the gym with a new attitude. "I really understood a very simple thing: I need Gymnastics," said Dalaloyan. His laidback attitude cost him dearly: "I did not do things the way professional athletes should do. When you are 18 or 19 years old, it is difficult to lock yourself in the gym and only train. I wanted to have fun, dance with girls, go for walks, and much more. I thought, 'Why limit myself? After all, I'm already in the national team!' Then I began to notice that the other guys were all progressing, and I was wasting time. When I realised that I really could not get to Rio, I discarded all [the] unnecessary and went to work. It was like something clicked in my head.”

Changing his mindset only brought positive results for Dalaloyan so far as he placed second all-around behind Oleg Verniaiev (UKR) at the 2017 Europeans where he also won the gold medal on vault.

And this year has truly been his breakthrough year winning a combined total of 9 medals at the European and World Championships! Often compared to 2000 Olympic Champion Alexei Nemov thanks to his excellent form and body line, Dalaloyan also received the Longines Prize of Elegance in Doha. 

The future sure shines bright for King Artur.