RIO DE JANEIRO • Bullied as a child for his height, Greek gymnast Eleftherios Petrounias hit back at his tormenters on Monday as he claimed the Olympic rings gold in Rio.
The 25-year-old flexed his muscles with a display of power and control to crush his rivals with an unbeatable 16.000 points.
"We worked so hard for this result. It came as I expected," he said.
Before the Games, he had revealed how he had been bullied and is now involved in an anti-bullying campaign.
"I was bullied about my height. But now it does not bother me, because I know that if I were taller, I could not do what I do as a gymnast," said the 1.64m gymnast, who added the Olympic gold to his world title in artistic gymnastics.
The 25-year-old edged out 2012 champion Arthur Zanetti of Brazil in the final, who lost out on the top prize by 0.234 of a point while Russia's Denis Abliazin had to settle for the bronze (15.700).
Petrounias, showing off his bulging biceps and the Olympic rings tattooed on his upper back, delivered a routine that combined moments of perfect stillness with a rapid series of somersaults.
He became the first Greek since Dimosthenis Tampakos in 2004 to win the rings. It was his country's second gold in Rio.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE