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Rittschik Revels In Post-Surgery 2017 Highlights
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International Gymnast Online's annual series of holiday-themed features kicks off with this profile on German gymnast Ivan Rittschik, who overcame two ACL surgeries to make his European and world championship debuts this year.

International Gymnast Online's annual series of holiday-themed features kicks off with this profile on German gymnast Ivan Rittschik, who overcame two ACL surgeries to make his debuts at the European and world championships this year.

"I'm proud that I made it this far, even though I had some struggles with those injuries in the past few years," said the 25-year-old Rittschik."I hope the fact that I made both highlights this year will help me get a good position for the selection to the team next year."

Rittschik, who placed third all-around and first on pommel horse at this year's German championships, said he is confident he can remain a key player on the German team heading towards the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.


Ivan Rittschik (Germany)

"It's true that the German team has a lot talents to choose from, for example, Andreas Bretschneider, Marcel Nguyen, Lukas Dauser, Andreas Toba and Philipp Herder," Rittschik said. "They are all great gymnasts, but I think none of them can say that they feel as comfortable as I do on pommel horse. So I will focus next year on stabilizing, cleaning up and putting some difficulty in my all-around performance. Without the all-around, there is no chance to make the team. I will also clean up my difficult pommel horse routine that I presented this year (at worlds) in Montreal."

Rittschik, who also won the German pommel horse title in 2015, said nature and training make him a particularly valuable asset to his team on this apparatus.

"I guess it is a mix of talent, body type and hard work," he said. "I'm 174 cm tall (5'8½") and I have long arms, so this helps me to keep high support over the handles and have high amplitude while swinging. Pommel horse was always my favorite discipline because I learned quickly, had fun trying new skills and could practice on this apparatus for many hours. Also, as I had my knee injuries and couldn't practice on other apparatuses, I could put even more hours of work into pommel horse. I think, in my case, I was a little bit lucky. But, for example, I am worse on still rings because of my body type."

With his competition year behind him, Rittschik plans to enjoy Christmas in his native Lithuania and New Year's Eve in Germany.

"For Christmastime I will fly over to my hometown of Vilnius and visit my family," he said. "We will celebrate in our family circle with some nice traditional food, and then we will exchange some presents and have a nice, peaceful time together. After that, I will fly back to Germany and start practicing and preparing for the season next year, so I guess I won't be able to celebrate a lot on New Year's Eve. But I think I will meet with some friends and we will greet the new year together somewhere in the city."

Rittschik's New Year's resolutions are all gymnastics-related.

"I think the same as every year," he told IG. "Try to stay healthy, get better in gymnastics, compete in national and international competitions, and have fun while doing it!"

Next in the series: Australia's Talia Folino reflects on her senior international breakthrough.

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