Mighty China sweeps all before it in men's team event
China wins the Artistic gymnastics team gold, with defending champions Japan claiming silver, and the US narrowly defeating Germany to win the bronze.12 August 2008
BEIJING - China put in an all-conquering performance Tuesday on its way to securing the men's team gold in the artistic gymnastics event at the National Indoor Stadium.
The host nation scored the highest marks in five of the six disciplines to finish well clear of the rest of the eight-man field with a winning total of 286.125 points.
Defending Olympic champion Japan came a distant second on 278.875, while the United States beat off the challenge of Germany to take bronze thanks to a score of 275.850.
China's victory was achieved through dominant performances by the six-man team of Chen Yibing, Huang Xu, Li Xiaopeng, Xiao Qin, Yang Wei and Zou Kai, not least in the team's strongest events of vault, pommel horse and rings.
The Chinese team also scored the highest points total in the high and parallel bar disciplines but was only fourth in the floor exercises.
The victory banished the memory of China's failure to win a medal in the men's team event four years ago, when the country was defending Olympic champion.
"When we were in Athens we failed and after four years of huge effort we have improved and finally today we returned to the top of the podium," said coach Huang Xu.
"I'm very glad that the team members were able to remain cool and give their best.
All-around world champion Yang scored well but was outshone by some of his teammates as Chen scored a superb 16.575 points at the rings, Li 16.775 on the vault, Huang 16.475 on the parallel bars and Xiao 16.100 on the pommel horse.
"I feel I have shed a huge burden by winning the team gold and can now compete in a relaxed mood in the individual event," said the 28- year-old Yang.
Japan, with Takehiro Kashima and Hiroyuki Tomita the only members of the 2004 gold-medal team remaining, put in its weakest performance in the vault, scoring the lowest points total of the eight teams after mistakes by Kashima and Koki Sakamoto.
"I think the team members worked very hard and we won this silver as a result," said Tomita. "We were quite confident and performed as one and I am happy with how we competed."
The United States, silver-medallists in Athens but missing defending Olympic all-around champion Paul Hamm and his brother Morgan through injury, assured itself of the bronze with a strong performance in the high bar in the sixth and final rotation.
Jonathan Horton scored 15.700, Justin Spring 15.675 and Joey Hagerty 15.550 for a total of 46.925, a total only bettered by the Chinese score of 46.950.
"Any finish on the medal podium is special especially as those guys are incredible athletes and are irreplaceable," said Horton, referring to his absent teammates.
Mistakes by Maxim Devyatovskiy and Sergey Khorokhordin on the pommel horse during the first rotation proved costly for the Russian team as it finished down in sixth place, behind South Korea but ahead of Romania and France.
The next medal event in artistic gymnastics comes Wednesday, when the women compete in the team event.
[dpa / Expatica]
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