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Shigeru Kasamatsu2007

Shigeru Kasamatsu - Japan

Shigeru Kasamatsu
Shigeru Kasamatsu, Class of 2007, International Gymnastics Hall of Fame

1974 world all-around Shigeru Kasamatsu gave his name to a twisting technique that serves as the base for some of today's most difficult vaults. In addition to this innovation on just one of his several strong events, Kasamatsu set a global all-around standard that no fellow Japanese gymnast was able to duplicate for 31 years.

Kasamatsu's all-around victory at the 1974 World Championships in Varna marked the last time a Japanese man would earn the world all-around gold medal until 2005, when Hiroyuki Tomita placed first at the Worlds in Melbourne.

A member of Japan's gold medal-winning squad at the 1972 Munich Olympics, where he also finished fifth all-around, Kasamatsu missed the 1976 Montreal Games because of an emergency appendectomy.

Kasamatsu returned to peak form at the 1978 Worlds, where he won the gold medal on high bar and helped Japan retain the team title it won four years earlier in Varna.

In the twilight of his career, Kasamatsu placed an impressive second all-around at the World Cup, and made three event finals at the 1979 Worlds, where Japan lost the team title to the Soviet Union for the first time in two decades.

The Kasamatsu legacy continued, after he himself retired from competition, however. His son, Akihiro, competed at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, where Japan placed fourth in the team final. Kasamatsu's wife, the former Kazue Hanyu, was a gymnastics Olympian in 1968 and 1972.

In 2006, Kasamatsu was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.

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