After overcoming a shaky start and a nagging sense of self-doubt, Marcel Nguyen smiled in disbelief as he touched the silver medal hanging around his neck – proof that he had won Germany’s first men’s all-around Olympic medal since 1936.
As the last gymnast in action on Wednesday, the humble 24-year-old had an agonizing wait after his floor routine, staring up at the screen for his score to be posted before his podium finish was confirmed.
“It’s amazing. A dream came true today and I’m just happy to have this medal around my neck,” Nguyen, who is half-Vietnamese and was born in Munich, said.
Nguyen reeled in the silver medal after a weak start on the pommel horse.
German coach Andreas Hirsch called Nguyen’s performance “stunning” and said it had left him speechless after some rocky patches characterized by a lack of confidence.
“Marcel was the one who doubted himself the most because he was scared, because he had a couple of difficulties, and he was a bit skeptical that he was going to advance,” Hirsch said.
Nguyen, who four years ago in Beijing failed to secure a place in the final of the same event but finished eighth in the 2011 world championships, agreed that he lacked self-belief at times.