This is Jordan Jovtchev. He is 39-years-old and competing in his sixth Olympic games. He’s also the head of the Bulgarian Olympic gymnastics program, which he came out of retirement to try to rebuild.
Between his administrative duties, age, and injuries, he only is able to train for 30 minutes, three times a week, on what is widely considered to be one of the hardest Olympic events, the still rings.
Last night, in what was supposed to be his farewell performance, and happening really because there’s just no one of age to compete at this level for Bulgaria right now (all his up-and-comers are, he says, still young teens), and mounting the apparatus with what he describes as “a halfway-torn bicep” and a noticeably swollen, “half-way broken” wrist, he scored just high enough — by .08 of a point — to, extremely unexpectedly, make the finals.
His odds of winning a medal are pretty much non-existent. But so were the odds of his making the finals.