The men's gymnastics individual event finals got off to a rousing start on Day 11 of the Olympics, as the men's parallel bar competition produced some surprising results. Japanese brothers Kazuhito and Yusuke Tanaka entered the event as favorites to medal, but both finished off of the podium.
It was China's Feng Zhe who came out on top, however, with a strong score of 15.966. He was followed by Germany's Marcel Nguyen, who also won silver in the all-around and ended up with a parallel bar score of 15.800. France's Hamilton Sabot was able to hang onto the third spot and capture bronze, despite being the worst qualifier in the field.
Here are all of the results from the men's parallel bars final, as well as analysis on the winner and other competitors of note.
Men's Parallel Bars
|1||Feng Zhe ||China||15.966|
|2||Marcel Nguyen||Germany ||15.800|
|3||Hamilton Sabot ||France||15.566|
|4||Kazuhito Tanaka ||Japan ||15.500|
|5||Daniel Corral Barron ||Mexico ||15.333|
|T-6||Emin Garibov ||Russia ||15.300|
|8||Yusuke Tanaka ||Japan ||15.100|
Winner: Feng Zhe (China)
China's Feng Zhe qualified with the third-best score on the parallel bars during qualifying, so he was certainly a medal contender, but he surprisingly blew away the field with a nearly-flawless routine. It was tough to find too much wrong with the Chinese star's performance and the judges' scores certainly reflected that.
Zhe was the third man up, so he had to wait a while to find out if his score would hold up, but no other gymnast provided any sort of threat. All of Zhe's releases were done with fantastic grace and precision, and his double back flip finish capped off the routine beautifully.
Although this particular event was supposed to be hotly contested, Zhe's win was one of the easiest to call in men's gymnastics thus far. Nguyen looked very good and continued his fine Olympic Games, but Zhe was in a class of his own on Tuesday.
Yusuke and Kazuhito Tanaka qualified with the top two scores on the parallel bars, but both faltered in the finals, and neither could nab Japan a medal. Yusuke's routine was especially poor, as he finished second to last after fighting a handstand on the bars and taking a huge step on the dismount.
Kazuhito's performance wasn't terrible as he finished in fourth, but it was nowhere close to what he produced during qualifying. The Tanakas' showing was a microcosm of what Japan has done in men's gymnastics thus far. Although Kohei Uchimura captured the all-around gold, the team needed an appeal to take silver in the team competition or else it would have finished without a medal.
Japan was expected to dominate men's gymnastics in London, but that simply hasn't happened. There were high hopes for the Tanakas on the parallel bars, but they faltered on the big stage.
Men's High Bar
The men's high bar qualification round wasn't anything to write home about, but I suppose that is why it's called qualification. There wasn't a single competitor to break 16.000 points in the preliminary round, but four gymnasts managed to do exactly that in Tuesday's final as the high-flying athletes put on a show.
In the end, it was Epke Zonderland of the Netherlands who claimed the gold medal as he put up an astounding score of 16.533. The score was certainly well deserved as his death-defying acrobatics wowed the London crowd and left the other competitors in the dust. Germany's Fabian Hambuchen turned in an excellent 16.400 to take silver, while China's Zou Kai won the bronze medal with a score of 16.366.
Here is the full listing of results, as well as some in-depth analysis on the most important participants from Tuesday's high bar final.
|8||Jihoon Kim||South Korea||15.133|
Winner: Epke Zonderland (Netherlands)
Zonderland was the best on the horizontal bar in qualifying and he maintained that standing in the finals as he turned in perhaps the best performance of his gymnastics career. The Dutch gymnast didn't incur a single penalty and certainly lived up to his 7.900 difficulty score as he made some insanely tough releases look like child's play.
Zonderland had a lot of pressure on him as Hambuchen, Kai and Zhang Chenglong already had high scores of their own when he took to the bar, but the pressure of the moment certainly didn't get to him as he was a dominant force.
Some guys fold on the big stage, but Zonderland is clearly somebody who flourishes under the spotlight. Many believed that he was the best on the high bar apparatus entering the London Games, and all he did was prove that on Day 11.
Despite high expectations and hopes for at least one American medal, neither Danell Leyva nor Jonathan Horton reached the podium. Horton was viewed as somewhat of a long shot, but Leyva supposedly stood a good chance of winning a medal. His score of 15.833 may have been good enough on some days, but the elite-level competitors were simply too good on Tuesday, resulting in a fifth-place finish.
Horton came in sixth, but he was nearly a full point short of the bronze medal, so he wasn't really in the conversation. Leyva was astounding on the high bar during the all-around competition as he had one of the best performances of his career and ended up winning a bronze medal because of it.
With the men's gymnastics competition now at an end, it's fair to say that London has been a disappointment. The Americans will come away with just one medal in the form of Leyva' s all-around bronze, while failing to podium in the team competition or any of the individual events.
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