The gymnastic events took place at the Arena Olimpica do Rio
The artistic gymnastics started on August 6th finishing on the 16th with a break in the middle for the trampoline from the 12th – 13th. Rhythmic gymnastics followed from the 19th – 21st August.
Men’s Artistic gymnastics. 43 nations took part with 98 gymnasts
Women’s Artistic gymnastics. 50 nations took part with 98 gymnasts.
Great Britain’s best prepared gymnastics team for any Olympic Games; support staff were there in abundance from physios to individual personal coaches to nutritionists.
Photo – Nile Wilson taking bronze on High Bar – photo BG
The World Championships in Glasgow 2015, was the qualifying event for Rio. There was so much to shout about with great performances from the British and world gymnasts; the event was a sell-out.
There was no repeat of the 2011 disaster for the men, when they failed to qualify on the first attempt. The men’s team of Louis Smith, Max Whitlock, Kristian Thomas, Dan Purvis and new boys, Brinn Bevan and Nile Wilson came third in the team qualification behind Japan and China. They then went one better in the final coming in second behind Japan beating China and Russia. The men’s competitions were an indication of what was to come with Max coming second behind the amazing Shirai on floor exercise and Max and Louis coming first and second on pommel horse.
The women’s team of the Downie sisters, Becky and Ellie with Claudia Fragapane, Ruby Harrold, Kelly Sim and Amy Tinkler came in third in qualification then maintained this position in the final.
FIG JUDGING INNOVATIONS
At this time there were no changes to the competition format. Judging problems of the past seem to be very much resolved with the use of two expert judges on each apparatus and one member of the technical committee also assigned to each piece. With the use of video play-back the difficulty value could be carefully scrutinised before marks released.
British Gymnasts preparation at Lilleshall – video from team gb
With only five in each team some gymnasts were very disappointed with their non selection for the Games, namely Dan Purvis and Kelly Sim.
Men’s Artistic Gymnastics Team
Kristian Thomas – Earls Gymnastic Club, Dudley West Midlands – coaches Michelle Bradley and Andre Popov
Max Whitlock – South Essex Gymnastic Club, Basildon – coach Scott Hann
Louis Smith – Huntingdon Gymnastic Club – coach Paul Hall
Brinn Bevan – South Essex Gymnastic Club, Basildon – coach Scott Hann
Nile Wilson – Leeds Gymnastic Club – coach Dave Murray
Team Coaches – Eddie Van Hoof and Andre Popov
Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Team
Amy Tinkler – South Durham Gymnastics Club – coaches Nicola Preston and Rachel Wright
Claudia Fragapane – Bristol Hawkes Gymnastics Club – coaches Helen May and Rory Silva-Weavers
Ruby Harrold – The Academy, Portishead, Bristol – coach Liz Kincaid.
Team Coaches – Amanda Reddin, Colin Still & Liz Kincaid
Judge – Carol Malone
Amanda Reddin recalls – this was the first time I had been at an Olympics as the head coach. There were many pressures with the job but the hardest job was when I personally phoned various gymnasts to tell them that they hadn’t made the team.
The Downie Sisters – It had always been a dream of Becky’s that one day she would compete with her sister at the Olympics.
Trampoline Gymnastics Team
Nathan Bailey – OLGA, Bournemouth – coach Brian Camp
Kat Driscoll – Apollo, coach Gary Short
Bryony Page – Sheffield – coach Paul Greaves
Team coach – Tracy Whittaker Smith
There was no British representation at these games.
MEN’S TEAM FINAL
|RANK||COUNTRY||FLOOR||POMMELS||RINGS||VAULT||PARALLEL BARS||HIGH BAR||TOTAL SCORE|
The British boys delivered the goods but with Russia back to fighting form it wasn’t going to be another London result. The British boys were top scorers on pommels even with Louis’s fall. A clean routine for Louis would not have changed his team’s final position, with China having a 1.37 cushion over GBR. Max posted a 15.40 for floor and 15.991 for pommels, indications of what might come, while Nile Wilson delivered a 15.666 on high bar, only matched by Hambüchen from Germany.
The Japanese were on song, coming 1st on three of the six apparatus. Only Uchimura worked all 6 pieces for Japan, scoring above 15 for all apparatus except rings.
|RANK||NAME||COUNTRY||FLOOR||POMMELS||RINGS||VAULT||PARALLEL BARS||HIGH BAR||TOTAL SCORE|
Uchimura had a total of 3 gold & 4 silver over 3 games, a rare breed. He collected silver in Beijing all around, gold in 2012 all around and now gold in 2016. This record of repeat medals in 3 Olympics in the all-around is only matched by Kato, also from Japan. Uchimura’s record of being all around Olympic Champion over two consecutive Olympics is only matched by Braglia of Italy 1908 and 1912, Chukarin of the Soviet Union, 1952 and 1956 and Kato of Japan 1968 and 1972. However, he does not match Kato’s tally of 8 Olympic golds for gymnastics who is in 2nd place behind Larissa Latynina with 9 golds. Latynina of the Soviet Union competed in 3 Olympics, 1956, 1960 and 1964.
Kohei started gymnastics when he was 3 years old. His parents were gymnasts. When he was 15, he went to Tokyo and trained alongside Naoya Tsukahara, the son of Mitsuo Tsukhara, the legend of the vault.
There was a feeling among many of the gymnasts that Verniaiev from the Ukraine should have won. Although the marks were close, Kristian Thomas felt that on the day, Oleg was the better gymnast and should have won. How do you define a 0.099 difference? It’s hard to break through this barrier of belief that the Japanese must be the best, looking back at their long history of dominance, after all Uchimura was a legend.
Max Whitlock starting on pommels had a great competition to win the all-around bronze medal.
Nile Wilson aged 20 put in a fantastic performance for 8th at his first Olympic Games.
The artistry of Uchimura in his own words:-
“I aim for perfection as long as I am a gymnast.”
Eileen Langsley’s impressions of Uchimura.
“During my years of photographing Kohei Uchimura, I don’t think I have ever taken an image of him with bent feet or an imperfect body line.”
Eileen Langsley, photographer and journalist.
Max Whitlock – winning bronze in the All Around Final
MEN’S FLOOR FINAL
Max Whitlock – winning gold in the Floor Final – video from team gb
Kenzo Shirai was expected to win the floor. Back in the World Championships in 2015 he had a massive start score of 7.6, 0.8 above his rivals including Max Whitlock, but with two mistakes in the final, there was a chance for Max to grab gold. When comparing the execution scores, Max only came 2nd scoring 8.833 with Kristian Thomas topping the table with 8.858.
Scott Hann, Max’s coach remembers
When competing, Max stays focused. He never looks at the scores of others until the end of the competition. As Max was early up in the floor final, and he had the pommel final next he kept his head down. It was my job to keep an eye on what was going on and make any informed decisions going around. Max had performed a great routine on the floor and we were both happy with his score. There were some big names to perform after him, all capable of big scores, so we hoped to scrape a bronze medal maybe, but if not, we were happy as it set him up for the pommel final. One by one the next performers made mistakes meaning Max stayed in the top spot.
I remember Kristian asking him if he wanted to know the scores, but Max said no. As each gymnast went, Max’s medal colour changed. I tried hard to refrain from telling him anything but when the last competition finished and the score came out, I remember hitting Max in the leg and just saying ‘you’re Olympic Champion!’ He was quite emotional and neither of us had planned or prepared for that! It was an amazing feeling, but we both knew we had to re-compose ready for the pommel final, as that was what we were there to do. And that’s exactly what he did.
Max Whitlock going for glory with third medal in Rio – photo BG
MEN’S POMMEL HORSE FINAL
Kristian Thomas remembers
Max did not want to know his floor score, wanting to stay focussed on the next routine on pommels. It was incredible, that he got the gold on pommels as well, although it was a sure thing that Max and Louis in some order would get gold and silver on pommels.
Louis Smith also goes down in the record books. He, like Uchimura, has won medals over three Olympics for the same event.
Louis’ pommel record is;
3rd 2008 (after count back on execution) 2nd 2012 (after count back on execution) and 2nd in 2016. He must also be the most unfortunate gymnast to drop a medal place twice on count back. Ironically Louis’s execution score on this occasion would have put him in 1st place scoring 8.933, whilst Max was on 8.766.
The other male gymnasts to achieve this magical 3 medals for the same apparatus are Fabian Hambüchen, Germany, on High Bar, Nicolai Andrianov, Soviet Union, on Floor and Vault, Li Xiaopeng, China, on Parallel Bars and Marius Urzica, Romania, on Pommel Horse. All won gold medals.
MEN’S RINGS FINAL
The Greek gymnast was in a class of his own, a rings specialist, only performing rings in the qualification competition. The Greeks have had a great history in this discipline. The first Olympic gold on rings went to a Greek gymnast in 1896.
MEN’S VAULT FINAL
|RANK||NAME||COUNTRY||FINAL SCORE||VAULT 1||VAULT 1 DIFFICULTY||VAULT 1||VAULT 2 DIFFICULTY|
|1||Se Gwang Ri||PRK||15.691||15.616||6.4||15.766||6.4|
What a final with three gymnasts vaulting with a difficulty of 6.4. but only Ri could match this on his 2nd vault. Both Ri and Abliazin used the Tsukahara double back with full twist in the first somersault. Abiliazin performed a 6.2 vault next and Shirai a 5.6.
31 year old Ri was unable to compete in London 2102 due to a total ban on the North Korean gymnasts following the persistent issues regarding falsification of female gymnasts’ ages.
Dragulescu, that renowned and charismatic vaulter from Romania, remembered forever with his gift of the Dragulescu vault, double front half, had been world champion on vault in 2001, 2005, 2006 and 2009 but an Olympic gold medal on this or any other apparatus has eluded him.
The Ukrainian gymnast Radivilov qualified in fourth place with a first vault of 6.0 difficulty, however in the final he went for a massive 7.0, but was unsuccessful.
MEN’S PARALLEL BARS FINAL
A great and popular win for Verniaiev. With a couple of mistakes with overarching of the back he managed to stay ahead of Leyva with his 7.1 difficulty score and finishing with a great double front ½ turn to a solid landing and a smile on his face. All of the medallists had great routines, travelling the length of the bars with ease and showing great artistry; what a difference from parallel bar routines of the early days.
MEN’S HIGH BAR FINAL
|5||Francisco Barretto Jnr||BRA||6.9||15.208|
Everyone was so happy for Hambüchen; his 3rd attempt at winning the gold on high bar. He is such a likeable guy, very humble and always goes out of his way to shake everyone’s hand, says Kristian Thomas.
Hambüchen was up first on high bar and apart from a slight stumble on his double twisting double straight back dismount he performed an excellent routine including a Cassina and a Kolman, with two other release elements. Hambüchen had won bronze in 2008, silver in 2012 and was now hoping for gold just prior to retiring. Up next was Zonderland, the reigning Olympic was hoping to retain his title but fell on his 2nd release element.
Britain’s Nile Wilson was next up, realising that there might now be a chance for him to medal. A great routine with a rock-solid dismount but the difficulty gap was too much to make up with Hambüchen on a 7.3 and Wilson on 6.8.
Others tried to challenge but only Leyva with his flair on his release elements succeeded.
A great result for Wilson, GB’s first ever medal on high bar; fantastic.
WOMEN’S TEAM FINAL
What a huge lead that the Americans had, just short of 8 marks. They came first on each piece of apparatus so stamped their superiority from the start. Great Britain managed 2nd on floor but beam was a disappointing 8th position.
WOMEN’S ALL-AROUND FINAL
|7||Jessica Lopez Arocha||VEN||14.833||15.100||13.800||14.233||57.966|
Still some crazy differences in marks; only .001 between 7th & 8th position.
15.1 score on vault helped to lift Ellie Downie to this exalted position. A fall during qualification on floor meant that she only just qualified for the all-around in 24th place, so ending up in 13th position was a great achievement.
On vault beam and floor, Simone Biles was in a class of her own scoring 15.866, 15.433 and 15.933 respectively.
WOMEN’S VAULT FINAL
|RANK||NAME||COUNTRY||VAULT 1||DIFFICULTY||VAULT 2||DIFFICULTY||FINAL SCORE|
|6||Un Jong Hong||PRK||15.400||6.4||14.400||6.3||14.900|
Simone Biles difficulty scores were 6.3 and 6.4 but what was so amazing in qualification she scored 9.7 for execution for both vaults. In the final she dipped slightly, only managing 9.6 and 9.633. Incredibly, 2016 was Oksana Chusovitina’s 7th Olympics.
WOMEN’S UNEVEN BARS FINAL
|6||Jessica Lopez Arocha||VEN||6.7||15.333|
Mustafina is one of the few gymnasts to successfully defend her title in consecutive Olympics. Those that have managed this on bars are Polina Astakova USSR 1960/1964 and Svetlana Khorkina Russia 1996/2000.
Ellie Downie qualified in 10th place, being the 2nd reserve. Her start score was an amazing 6.8 matching Mustafina’s. Only Fan Yilin China had a higher difficulty, 6.9 who also missed out of the final due to a fall. At least Fan Yilin had her bronze medal from the 2008 Olympics as a consolation.
WOMEN’S BEAM FINAL
Sanne Wevers the 2nd Dutch gymnast to win an individual Olympic gold, Epke Zonderland being the first in 2012. Biles fell onto the beam during her final to lose the gold. Wevers, renowned for her difference on beam, performed a combination of 3 different spins and, also exploiting her spinning ability, performed a triple spin. Hardly putting a foot wrong she was justly rewarded after a long debate by the judges. Unbelievable that no Russians made the final and that China failed to deliver after their great performances in London 2012.
WOMEN’S FLOOR FINAL
0.466 ahead of the rest just shows the superiority of Biles on this apparatus. Not noted for her artistry or elegance, Biles makes up for her supreme mastery of space. She opened with a double layout somersault with full twist followed in the next tumble with a double layout with half twist out then a double, double, tucked and finishing with a full in back out tucked. With all the bells and whistles in her music she bounced her way around the floor area; amazing.
3rd Place for Amy Tinkler
Amanda Reddin recalls the warm up prior to the floor exercise in qualification, Amy had as her third tumble a one and half twist walkout into round off flip triple twist. This wasn’t going at all well so after speaking to her personal coaches, Amanda changed the triple twist to a tucked double back. This meant a slightly lower start score but ensured a safe and clean routine, a strategy that paid off; with a start score of 6.3 and score of 14.6, Amy qualified in 7th place and a place in the floor final.
After a difficult routine well executed, including a full twisting straight double back somersault, plus a full in full out and a 0.1 extra on her qualification start score, her best floor performance to finish with a score of 14.933 so far in these games. Amy who was fourth up had to sit and wait for the other scores to come in and ended in 3rd position, GB’s 2nd Olympic medal for a woman on an individual apparatus.
Amy was overcome and so shocked with the result.
“I went out there and did my best and enjoyed it, so whatever the result, I would have been really happy. I really am speechless.“
Amy, who was the youngest athlete in the whole of the British team certainly had much to be proud of along with her two coaches, Nicola Preston and Rachel Wright from South Durham Gymnastics club.
Bryony Page making history with first ever medal in Trampoline for Team GB – photo BG
A history making second gold for Maclennan following her Olympic Champion status in London 2012. She is the first trampoline gymnast to achieve this double.
Tracy Whittaker-Smith remembers
My standout memory from Rio was when Bryony achieved her target score that she had been working towards with her best routine ever in competition. She was so overcome with emotion from first of all, completing a great routine and then as she realised she had won a medal. Everyone focuses on the medal but for me it was the actual moment the score went up and I knew her performance was outstanding and we couldn’t have done any more.
Dong Dong may well have been hoping to match Maclennan’s performance but he had to settle for silver. He had been the talk of the trampoline world with his 1.2 lead in London, but here he was in Rio trailing by 1.2.
Nathan Bailey GBR just missed out on the final, he came 9th in qualification scoring 106.795.
|4||Yeon Jae Son||KOR||18.216||18.266||18.300||18.116||72.898|
Such was the ascent to glory of the Russian Yana Kudryvtseva since 2013 that nobody doubted that she would win the title in Rio. For the last Olympic cycle, she had swept all the three consecutive World all-around titles; two European titles, reigned at the first European Games in 2015 and accumulated an enormous tally of World Cup gold and silver medals. Known as “The Angel with Iron Wings” she was acclaimed as a “gymnast from another planet” even by the President of the FIG Bruno Grandi.
However, it was just a fragment of the last second of Yana’s clubs’ routine in the Olympic Final that turned the fortunes away from the 18-year old Muscovite. A drop of one club led to a score of 17.883 pts. That was indeed bitter to swallow but most importantly, impossible to compensate for, given the steady performances on the day of Yana’s compatriot Margarita Mamun.
The 20-year-old “Bengali Tiger”, called so because of her Bangladeshi-Russian connection, Margarita performed first of all the ten finalist with the last apparatus, the ribbon. Her “Black Swan” routine, choreographed to Tchaikolvsky’s “Swan Lake” will indeed remain in the history as the Princess’ march to the Queen’s throne. Mamun deserved a score of 19.233 pts and literally blocked the way of Kudryvtseva to the gold.
|RANK||COUNTRY||RIBBONS||HOOPS & CLUBS||SCORE|
As for the Groups, the teams on the rostrum were the same as 20 years ago, in Atlanta 1996, where they were introduced to the Games, but arranged in a slightly different order:
Russia (bronze in Atlanta’ 96) took their fifth consecutive Olympic title (Sydney 00, Athens 04, Beijing 08 and London 12).
Spain – the Olympic Champions in Atlanta 96 came second in Rio with two flamboyant performances and due to their luck in the tie-break with Bulgaria (higher note for artistry).
Bulgaria – the silver medallists 20 years ago, took the Olympic bronze (as in Athens 04) with two sophisticated routines and a team that deserves a bow for their consistency and longevity.
Traditional innovators and former four-time World champions – Italy dropped to fourth 0.217pts behind Spain and Bulgaria, followed by Belarus, Israel, Ukraine and Japan.
Official 2016 Olympic results
Olympic Special Story of the Games, British Gymnastics
Memories from gymnasts and coaches
Rhythmic report Vera Atkinson
Photo – Double Olympic Champion Max Whitlock – credit BG
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