Japan's Kohei Uchimura wins gymnastics gold as American men falter

Ross Houston
August 14, 2016

Going into the final horizontal bar rotation - off which Uchimura had tumbled in qualifiers - just 0.901 separated the pair.

Kohei Uchimura concedes he thought his Olympic title was lost after a thrilling, narrow victory ahead of Oleg Verniaiev in gymnastics.

Verniaiev's score is 92.266 points.

Max Whitlock scored 90.641 points to claim the bronze medal and ensure Britain's first podium finish in an Olympic all-around event for 108 years.

As the reigning European champion and 2014 world champion on parallel bars, Vernyayev snatched the lead on Wednesday after the third rotation and extended his advantage to 0.901 points before the last routine thanks to his convincing performance on parallel bars, which earned him a all-high of 16.100 points.

Both weathered low points, with Mikulak landing glaringly short on his vault and Brooks staring down the demon pommel horse, while shining on their strengths.

"I think that for so long we've been told that we should be finished at a certain age", she said.

In 2010 in Rotterdam, Uchimura competed and won gold despite a shoulder injury.

Also, Spain's Mireia Belmonte Garcia finally won her first gold medal after two silvers and a bronze, touching first in the 200 butterfly.

Speaking to ITV News he said: "I'm so happy, but relieved too".

Verniaiev compared Uchimura, the two-time all-around champion, to swimming icon Michael Phelps. "And I think that there's a lot of athletes out there that are actually showing that that's not true".

Historically, Japan has been the best in the world in judo, entering 2016 with 36 Olympic gold medals while the three next-best countries-France (12), South Korea (11) and China (8)-had just 31 combined. And he did just that in the team final, erupting with joy after his floor routine in the final rotation secured the gold for Japan.

Uchimura became the first man to win back-to-back Olympic titles since compatriot Sawao Kato in 1972, with a score of 92.365. Over six world championships plus the London Olympics, "King Kohei's" reign has been largely unchallenged.

"As a result, the pH level of the water was outside the usual range, causing the discoloration", said FINA, the global swimming and diving body, which added that the water posed no health risk to divers. Both fell off the pommel horse in the preliminaries, but could get close to the podium if they get flawless scores. I just perform as usual. "But I am not in the same league as them", added Uchimura, who owns 26 world and Olympic medals, including 13 golds. Neither suffered a true fall, but Mikulak's knees brushed the mat on the landing of his vault and he had to stagger forward to stay upright. Knowing what he needed to win Ukraine's first ever all-around Olympic gold in the sport, he put together an easier and less risky routine.

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