World all-around gymnastics champion Kohei Uchimura will put thoughts of personal glory aside at the London Olympics to help Japan win the men's team gold medal back from arch-rivals China.
"I am only thinking about the gold medal in the team event. Since the Beijing Olympics we have only managed silver (in competitions)," Uchimura told reporters at the National Training Centre on Wednesday.
"I don't want to feel the same disappointment any more," said the 23-year-old, who has won an unprecedented three consecutive world all-around titles since he finished runner-up to China's now-retired Yang Wei in Beijing.
"I felt happy when I won a team event when I was a student. I believe it feels good for the five of us to win together on the world stage."
Japan lost the men's Olympic team title to China at Beijing 2008 after finishing runners-up to them at the world championships in 2007. They also got second place in 2010 and 2011. Team events were not contested in 2009.
Uchimura, aiming to become Japan's first men's all-around champion on the Olympic stage since 1984, said Japan failed to catch China at the 2010 and 2011 worlds because of mistakes on the horizontal bar.
At home in Tokyo last year, Uchimura and Yusuke Tanaka fell from the high bar, their last piece of apparatus. China, a team of event-by-event specialists, edged Japan by just two points for a fifth straight title.
In 2010, Kazuhito Tanaka lost his grip on the bar and fell.
"We will have to gain points on the floor and try not to be outdone on the horizontal bar," Uchimura said. "It is important for us to get ahead of China even by 0.1 point on each piece of apparatus and make no mistakes."
He said he was concerned about the foreign-made apparatus that will be used in London.
"Basically, they are more unwieldy than Japanese-made apparatus and I need to apply more strength in using them," said Uchimura, who has been testing imported kit for three weeks. "They are a little more burdensome on my body."
"But I know I will get used to them along the way. At the 2009 worlds (in London), it took me about a month to get used to them," said the 161cm and 55kg gymnast, who also won the world floor exercise gold last year and hopes to compete in all six individual apparatus events in London.
About his potential rivals, he only said: "I am not concerned about them much. I only seek to give an ideal performance. Whatever other gymnasts may do, it doesn't change what I do."
For him, London is a happy hunting ground where he won his first world all-around title at the O2 Arena in 2009.
"The venue will be used for the Olympics again," said Uchimura. "I managed to perform well there and I believe I can do so this time, too."
He was the youngest among Japan's male gymnastics at the Beijing Games but now is the only one with Olympic experience in the squad for London.
"Four years ago, I just followed other gymnasts. This time, I'm the first to step into the gym and start training so I can lead everyone else."