Team GB’s men’s gymnastics team finished fourth at the Tokyo Olympics, with Max Whitlock and Co just missing out on a bronze medal after being snatched by China to a podium finish, while Russia claimed gold
- Team GB finished fourth in men’s gymnastics at the Tokyo Olympics
- Max Whitlock, Joe Fraser, James Hall and Giarnni Regini-Moran stood out
- They finished with a score of 255,760, a bigger total than the US
- But their performance was not enough for a medal as China sealed the bronze bron
- Russia took the gold medal, while Japan came second at home
It was not up to Max Whitlock to discuss the elephant in the room during the men’s gymnastics team final. The fact that the gold medal went to a team of athletes from a Russian country allegedly banned from international competition because of institutionalized state-sponsored doping.
Without the daring team of the “Russian Olympic Committee” – “Russia” by another name – the young British team Whitlock led would have won a bronze medal. And they would have deserved it if they had embarked on a bold and daring three hours of gymnastics in an effort to match the sport’s superpowers.
The four of them risk everything, betting on high-difficulty routines for a chance to win a medal. The hope was that one behemoth or the other would err a fraction of a penny, leaving Whitlock the slightest gap in closing the night of the team on the pommel horse that he controls as well as anyone in the world. .
Team GB’s men’s gymnastics team finished fourth at the Tokyo Olympics on Monday
The grace and power of that last Whitlock routine will long be remembered: the 28-year-old’s legs swirl like the sails of a windmill with hypnotic precision and pace around his favorite device. Whitlock’s difficulty was the highest anyone had set all night.
The feat was enough to see Britain finish ahead of the United States – a nation plowing huge resources into this sport. But the Russians were already out of sight by then, along with legitimate competitors from Japan and China.
Whitlock said in the aftermath that he purposely avoided eye contact with the scoreboard when he went bankrupt. “I did that on purpose because I had my plan,” he said. ‘I’ve done that my whole career. I have worked for a long time to get the most out of myself at the right time.
Led by Max Whitlock, the team put on a good show as they performed the prank horse
‘I don’t feel like doing all those training sessions and then suddenly seeing a lot of scores come in and thinking: ‘I have to improve this score now’. Not knowing helps me to just stay on my path and do my best.’
His pommel score – 14,966, fractionally ahead of his qualifying routine – is one he will likely need to improve on to win gold in Sunday’s pommel final, where Ireland’s Rhys McClenaghan will be among his challengers. But it was the team’s second best individual score of the night.
The best was 22-year-old Giarnni Regini-Moran, here against all odds after the horrific injuries he sustained five years ago from falling from the high bar. The team needed the best of him after 22-year-old Joe Fraser missed one of his combinations on his own parallel bar specialty and was discounted.
But they didn’t have enough to overtake China, who claimed third place to take a bronze medal
He delivered. With the most deft hand movement, Regini-Moran used the full length of the parallel bars to get a score of 15,166. That’s deep in the medal territory.
The sport’s world powers were always out of reach, as they waged a three-pronged battle for supremacy. They sure know how to choreograph this sport. Japan and China, for whom these Olympics are a private battle for socio-political bragging rights, sat together on the same device all evening.
At death, a tantalizing moral victory seemed within reach. Russian Denis Abliazin stepped out of the track with both feet, in his floor routine, and Japan felt an opening. 19-year-old Daiki Hashimoto grabbed it and flew through a staggeringly high bar as his teammates’ screams filled the empty arena with sound.
It was Russia that walked away with the gold medal after a score of 262,500
A crippling reality was quickly restored. When Hashimoto was done, Russian Nikita Nagornyy greeted the judges and delivered a floor routine to get Russia gold. Japan took silver, while China was unable to make up for a poor start.
There is something desperately cynical about the Russian delegation. The so-called “Organizing Committee” wears the Russian colors on their uniform. The country’s ruler Vladimir Putin, whose officials presided over doping, will dine on their gold today.
Hashimoto transcended that cynicism. And so was Whitlock, who was looking for a bright future for Britain. “It’s a young team,” he said. “I’m the oldest in it for a few years. They have all become Olympians this time, so they are extremely proud. I think we should all be proud.’