Eleftherios Petrounias won the silver medal at the World Championships in Antwerp, securing his spot in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. In a remarkable display of strength and skill during the rings final, Petrounias almost got gold, finishing second as Chinese gymnast Yang claimed the top spot with a score of 15.233.
This achievement carried particular significance as Petrounias was competing for the single direct qualification spot to the Olympics. To secure this coveted berth, he needed to outperform his competitors, including Azero Simonov, Austrian Heck, and Armenians Avetisian and Davtian. These athletes had already locked in their spots through previous qualifications.
The silver medal marked a historic moment in Petrounias’ career, representing his first silver at a World Championship. The athlete expressed joy after the well-deserved achievement.
Ο βασιλιάς των κρίκων, ο μύθος της γυμναστικής @Petrounias_E θα δώσει το παρών και στους Ολυμπιακούς Αγώνες @Paris2024
Πήρε 🥈στο Παγκόσμιο Πρωτάθλημα και συνεχίζει την ανυπέρβλητη πορεία του στις κορυφές του κόσμου!
Φίλε Λευτέρη, η χώρα σ' ευγνωμονεί🇬🇷 pic.twitter.com/tFtGyMIeBr
— Lefteris Avgenakis (@l_avgenakis) October 7, 2023
Another Victory Of Petrounias
The current medal is one of many others throughout championships achievements of Petrounias. Earlier in 2023, Petrounias had secured a gold medal at the Men’s Still Rings Turnier der Meister World Cup competition held in Cottbus, Germany.
It was the victory at the Artistic Gymnastics World Cup that earned him a place in the championship in Antwerp.
Petrounias, often referred to as the “Lord of the Rings” due to his remarkable record in international competitions, showcased his prowess by executing multiple iron crosses at the Lausitz Arena during the Turnier der Maister. His outstanding performance earned him a total score of 14.966 points, outshining the silver and bronze medalists who scored 14.766 and 14.533, respectively.
Petrounias’ Path to Sport
Petrounias’ journey to the pinnacle of gymnastics is marked by determination and resilience. As a hyperactive child, his introduction to the Panionios Gymnastics Club at the age of five provided an outlet for his energy. Along the way, he faced setbacks, including a finger injury necessitating the insertion of two screws and two hernia surgeries. At the age of fourteen, he took a three-year hiatus from gymnastics, grappling with both physical and emotional exhaustion.
Petrounias didn’t solely focus on gymnastics. He also pursued a degree in communications and marketing from the Athens University of Economics and Business. Beyond the gym, he delved into the discipline of parkour and engaged in anti-bullying initiatives, driven by his own experiences of being bullied during his childhood, primarily due to his small stature.
His dedication and exceptional achievements didn’t go unnoticed, as he was honored as the Greek Male Athlete of the Year for four consecutive years from 2015 to 2018.