Monday was an exciting day in Tokyo as the men’s artistic gymnastics team final took place. This was the first medal event for artistic gymnastics so far in these games and it was a day full of intense competition and emotion. The event began at 7 PM JST and rotation 1 saw Japan and China on floor, ROC and the USA on pommel horse, Germany and Great Britain on rings, and Ukraine and Switzerland on vault. The Japanese athletes scored highly on floor, with Takeru Kitazono and Daiki Hashimoto both earning 14.600 points and Wataru Tanigawa scoring 14.500. These floor routine scores by the Japanese were the highest out of all the men competing, with the exception of the ROC’s Nikita Nagornyy who scored 14.666 in the final rotation. By the end of the 1st rotation, Japan sat in 1st place with a team total of 43.700 with the ROC in 2nd place and 43.140 points.
Moving on to rotation 2, China and Japan now took the pommel horse, USA and ROC were on rings, Germany and Great Britain on vault, and Ukraine and Switzerland on parallel bars. The highest pommel horse score of the night went to China’s Sun Wei who earned 15.000 points during this rotation, followed closely by Max Whitlock of Britain who scored 14.966 on this event later on in the evening.
Rotation 3 saw Japan and China on the rings, ROC and USA on vault, Great Britain and Germany on parallel bars, and Switzerland and Ukraine on horizontal bar. ROCs Denis Abliazin scored the highest on rings in rotation 2 with a 15.033. None of the other men could break this rings score throughout the competition, with the next highest score going to China’s Jingyuan Zou at 15.000 during rotation 3.
During rotation 4, Ukraine and Switzerland took the floor, China and Japan moved to vault, the USA and ROC were on parallel bars, and Germany and Great Britain on the horizontal bar. Both the Chinese and Japanese athletes scored highly on vault last night, with Japan’s Wataru Tanigawa earning the highest vault score of the night with 15.233 points. The ROC also performed outstandingly on the vault during rotation 3, with Nikita Nagornyy earning 14.966 and Artur Dalaloyan scoring 14.933.
The 5th rotation saw Great Britain and Germany on the floor, Switzerland and Ukraine on the pommel horse, Japan and China on parallel bars, and USA and ROC on horizontal bar. China’s Jingyuan Zou scored highly on parallel bars during this rotation, earning himself 15.466 points on this apparatus. The only other athlete to match that parallel bars score throughout the team final was Lukas Dauser of Germany who also earned 15.466 points during rotation 3.
On the 6th and final rotation, the USA and ROC performed on the floor, Germany and Great Britain took on the pommel horse, Ukraine and Switzerland moved to the rings, and China and Japan were on horizontal bar. Japan’s Daiki Hashimoto earned a 15.100 on horizontal bar during this rotation, the highest horizontal bar score of the night. The United States also performed very well on the horizontal bar during rotation 5, as Brody Malone posted a 14.633 and Sam Mikulak a 14.566.
Although there was plenty of incredible performances by gymnasts across the board, the ROC ultimately took home the gold medal with a total team score of 262.500. Japan was a very close second with a score of 262.397, and China won the bronze medal with 261.894 points.
Nikita Nagornyy performing on floor was the final ROC athlete to compete last night, and the reactions of the entire ROC team were priceless as he completed his routine and received his score. Given the extremely close scores with Japan, Nagornyy’s floor routine was the decider between a gold or silver medal for the ROC. The men could not contain their emotions, all bursting into tears and smiles as soon as Nagornyy’s score was posted and it became evident that they were in 1st place.
It was a night full of superb quality gymnastics and moments that truly showcase the sportsmanship and emotion of the Olympic games. For more artistic gymnastics coverage check back with Unbenched as the women’s team final took place on July 27th and the men’s all-around final is set for July 28th.