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Rio Revisited: Skjerahaug Takes Aim At Final
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Continuing the series of flashbacks to the 2016 Olympic Games by IG correspondent John Crumlish, who was a gymnastics sports writer for the Olympic News Service in Rio.

Norwegian gymnast Stian Skjerahaug joked that he just might make the 2016 Olympic pommel horse final "if everybody falls."

Skjerahaug's calculable improvements gave him a reasonable shot for at least the all-around final in Rio, so his potential for a final was no laughing matter.

Stian Skjerahaug (Norway)

"I always have a target, and I want to score 85 here, which should be enough for the all-around final," said Skjerahaug as he wrapped up a training session at Athletes' Park. "To score 85 I need to be almost perfect."

Skjerahaug scored 75.974 at the 2011 World Championships in Tokyo, 80.065 at the 2013 Worlds in Antwerp, 82.331 at the 2014 Worlds in Nanning, and 83.498 at the 2015 Worlds in Glasgow. He earned his berth to the Rio Games at the Aquece Rio test event in April, where he scored 84.624.

In addition to his sense of humor, Skjerahaug maintained his hope for success on pommel horse. He made the pommel horse final at Challenge Cup meets in Baku and Cottbus earlier this year.

"If I'm really lucky and perform perfectly, maybe I have a small chance," Skjerahaug said. "Pommel horse is my best apparatus but also the one on which I put the most pressure on myself. I need to keep up the progress here."

In qualifications, Skjerahaug came close to his personal best and at least one final. His all-around score of 84.331 made him fourth reserve for the all-around final, for which 85.289 was the cut-off. He placed 34th on pommel horse.

Skjerahaug said experience and confidence have contributed to his ever-stronger performances.

"I got older and wiser, and a little better in my head in competition," he said. "It took time."

The September 2016 issue of International Gymnast magazine is a special issue devoted to reports, photos, quotes and results of the Rio Olympic Games. To subscribe to the print and/or digital editions, click here.

Next Up: Sweden's Emma Larsson keeps things in perspective

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