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Veteran Kryukov Happy Among Medalists
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Although his younger Russian teammates outshined him at the recent European Championships, 1999 world all-around champion Nikolai Kryukov told IG he was "in a bit of shock" after winning a medal of his own.

Nikolai Kryukov

Kryukov, 28, won the silver medal on parallel bars and tied for fifth on pommel horse at the Europeans, held April 26-29 in Amsterdam. He did not compete in the all-around, which 23-year-old teammate Maxim Devyatovsky won. Third was 20-year-old Russian Yuri Ryazanov. Their teammate Anton Golutsutskov, 22, won gold on the vault in the apparatus finals.

"It was a surprise," Kryukov told IG in Amsterdam, after placing second to Slovenia's Mitja Petkovsek on parallel bars. "I didn't expect to be second, because I didn't perform the routine well enough to the end. But, frankly speaking, I was in a bit of shock."

A native of Voronezh, Kryukov was the youngest member of the gold medal-winning Russian team at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. He is the only member of that team who is still competing. He suffered a torn Achilles in early 2000, but came back to help Russia win a team bronze at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

At the 2006 World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, Kryukov helped the Russian men win the team silver. He also finished fourth on pommel horse and fifth on high bar.

Kryukov said he is pleased to be competitive after a lengthy career, but is not certain how much longer he will compete. If he competes at September's World Championships in Stuttgart, it will be his eighth consecutive world championships appearance.

"I won't predict the future," he said. "I tell everyone, 'Let's wait till the World Championships, and we'll see."

Read complete coverage of the Men's and Women's European Championships in upcoming issues of International Gymnast magazine.

IG Magazine Related Feature
"All-Around Nice Guy" - Kryukov cover story (February 2000)

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