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SA gymnast makes Olympic history

2016-08-06 19:46
Ryan Patterson (WESSEL OOSTHUIZEN/SASPA)

Rio de Janeiro - His name is not one that many South Africans will be familiar with, but Ryan Patterson made his own piece of Olympic history on Saturday. 

Competing in the Individual All-round category of the artistic gymnastics, Patterson became South Africa's first male gymnast to appear at an Olympic Games since Jack Wells in 1956.

The 22-year-old finished second last in his qualification group and, as a result, will not progress to the final. 

Still, it was an experience that Patterson will not forget.

"I'm happy with most of my routines. Vault and parallel were a bit iffy," Patterson said afterwards.

"I think I let the adrenaline get to me a little too much but that's something to work on for next time, to calm down a little more and focus."

The California-based Patterson has dual citizenship in South Africa and the United States, but that did not stop him from feeling the pressure that accompanied historic circumstances. 

"The pressure was more a motivation thing. I'm here to represent my country and it's an honour, so channeling that into my routines is what I had to do," he said.

"If you let the pressure get to you, you're going to fall all over and make mistakes. Fortunately that's not what I did."

Lloyd Burnard is Sport24's correspondent in Rio de Janeiro for the duration of the 2016 Olympics ...

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