I remember first seeing Phillip Boy competing at the 2007 World Championships, where Germany won the bronze medal.
At that time it was hard not to miss him with his bleached blond locks. Even though he only finished 18th in the all-around finals, there was something that reminded me of one of my all-time favorites, Alexi Nemov. I was not sure if it was the way girls swooned over him, while boys envied him, or the way he played to the crowd and made gymnastics look like it was not always so serious. I just had a feeling he would soon be fighting for many titles, and that he could be the next big thing in MAG.
Here is a look back at a career of this popular gymnast, one who will be greatly missed in this sport.
Boy began to make his mark in gymnastics when he won the German junior all-around title in 2004 and 2005, and was a member of the silver medal-winning team at the 2004 European Junior Championships. When he made his debut at the senior level the following year, he only finished 32nd in preliminaries and seventh with his team at the World Championships. After a somewhat not “perfect” senior debut, the following year Boy climbed to 18th in the all-around final and helped Germany win their first Worlds team medal since 1991, a bronze.
A continued rise in results followed in the years to come. A second place finish with his team at the European Championships; a first place finish at the first German Olympic Trials; a second place finish at the German Championships; and his first trip to the Olympics, where he placed 13th in the all-around finals.
With one Olympics down and two World Championships appearances, Boy began to really come into his own and showed the promise he showed in prior years. A fourth place finish at the 2009 European Championships was just the start to a successful quad. The following year was probably Boy’s most successful. A first place finish with his team and bronze medal on high bar at the European Championships was followed by a team bronze medal, all-around silver medal and fourth place finish on high bar at that years World Championships.
Riding the high of his success, Boy continued to prove he was a true all-around threat with his all-around title and silver medal on high bar at the European Championships in 2011. Later that year, Boy earned his second World all-around silver medal, proving he would be fighting for a podium finish in London.
Yet, it all began to go down after what many thought to be just the beginning for this then 24-year-old. During that year’s Stuttgart World Cup, Boy suffered, in my opinion, one of the most painful looking falls I can remember. This one high bar fall seemed to follow him from then on, causing one of the most charming and charismatic gymnasts from this quad to lose that “spark.”
Boy continued on to compete, yet 2012 was a year of struggles. It was depressing seeing Boy limp his way through London, an Olympics many thought would be a successful one for him. After not qualifying to the all-around final and seeing his teammate finish second, many wondered what Boy would do next? That question was answered with his retirement announcement at this year’s Stuttgart World Cup.
With a statement posted on his Facebook page, Boy thanked his fans for all of their support during his career. I for one, will greatly miss his appreciation for the sport. He truly looked to love what he was doing, playing to the crowd and being a great idol for younger gymnasts. I wish he would have continued and regained his composure, yet walking away healthy and at the level of success he reached was a great way to end his great career.
We here at The Couch Gymnast would like to wish Boy the best on all his future doings, whether it be in the sport or outside the sport. Thank you for providing some great gymnastics and many memories for us fans to enjoy for years.
Here are a few highlights of his high and lows of a great gymnastics career:
-2008 Olympics- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Y5R-aXZ9K8
-2007 Worlds- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XziLBxE-hY
-2010 Stuttgart- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsiFhGGqe0U
-2010 AA performances Worlds: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SonE5fxqXYw
-2011 AA Performances Worlds: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCnNFHDnDjE
-2011 Stuttgart Fall: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3d6xfFnuQr8
-2012 Europeans: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wi8viEehumo
-2012 Olympics Vault fall: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ebka-qQcxIQ
-2012 Cottbus foor: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJxejRUdE_c
-2011 American Cup: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kq8l10_tzZ4
Article: Brian Taylor
Photo: Phillipe Boy
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