Rio Revisited: Larsson Keeps Perspective
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Aiming to become Sweden's first Olympic all-around finalist in 32 years, Emma Larsson decided to shrink the daunting magnitude of the Games into a psychologically more manageable size.

Eighth in a series by IG correspondent John Crumlish, who was a gymnastics sports writer for the Olympic News Service at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Aiming to become Sweden's first Olympic all-around finalist in 32 years, Emma Larsson decided to shrink the daunting magnitude of the Games into a psychologically more manageable size.

"I know this is the biggest competition, but I have to make it a little smaller than it is," said Larsson after her first workout at Athletes' Park. "I've been to worlds. I want to make it like worlds. I know how it is there. Make it a little smaller than it is, but at the same time I know how big it is. I want to enjoy it but do what I'm here to do."

Larsson said training with Veronica Wagner and Jonna Adlerteg, the last two Swedish women to compete at the Games, prepared her for the Olympic stage.

"I know what those girls have done and I look up to them," Larsson said. "I train with Jonna side-by-side, so I always saw how she and the other girls trained. I was always the younger one so that showed me the way."

Larsson hoped to match or better the performance of compatriot Lena Adomat, the Swedish women's last Olympic all-around finalist. Adomat finished 35th all-around at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles.

"I want to make Sweden proud," Larsson said. "I want to show them that I'm good enough to be here. No one has been in the all-around final (since the 1984 Games), so it would be so much fun to be the one."

Larsson, who went on to placed 35th all-around in qualifications after she fell on uneven bars, said adjusting to the pressure of major events has been a gradual process.

"The more I trained, the more I qualified for bigger competitions," Larsson said. You learn the way. I build my self-confidence. I am more confidence when I do well in training, so when I do well in training, I do well in competition. The first time I competed at the European championships (2012 European Junior Championships in Brussels), on floor in the all-around final, I remember that I wasn't 'there.' It was so big and I had no idea what I did. I learned for the next time. I knew how to control it, step by step, all the way up."

The September 2016 issue of International Gymnast magazine is a special issue devoted to reports, photos, quotes and results of the Rio Olympic Games. The October 2016 issue features continued coverage of the Games, including many more behind-the-scenes quotes, notes and anecdotes. To subscribe to the print and/or digital edition, or order back issues, click here.

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