Today we were in for a real treat with some true heavyweights appearing in both the rings and vault finals.
RINGS: This is an apparatus that isn’t normally filled with drama or excitement, but it is a pure spectacle of strength and it always leaves the audience in awe of the athletes as they demonstrate unthinkable feats of strength.
1.Today’s final was no different and first up was the reigning Olympic champion Chen Yibing in possibly his last Olympics as he plans to become a children’s TV presenter in China. Chen really is unbelievable on rings and, if you failed to see it, I really do advise you to search his name on YouTube as you will not be disappointed. Today was no different, and Chen executed his routine flawlessly with immense difficulty posting a score of 15.800 setting down a very high marker for everyone else to beat.
2.Second up was Molinari from Argentina with good difficulty, but he suffered from execution so scored 14.733.
3.Third up was Ballandin, the first of two very strong Russians and one I had tipped to medal and boy did he impress! Another flawless routine, posting him a score of 15.666.
4.Fourth up was the 30 year old Italian veteran Morandi, who packed his routine with maximum difficulty scoring a massive 15.733, pushing himself into 2nd on the leader board.
5.Our hats really do need to be taken off for the next gymnast Iordan Iovtchev who, at 39 years old, has qualified for the Rings final in his 6th Olympics. If anyone deserves a medal it’s Jordan, but at 39 it was always going to be challenge to compete against a field where everyone is younger. Lacking a little bit of difficulty, Jordan executed a good routine scoring 15.108.
6.Sixth up was Tommy Ramos from Puerto Rico with maximum difficulty, but he lacked a bit in execution so scored 15.600.
7.Seventh up was the second young Russian, Dennis Ablyazin, who I tipped in my last blog as a future champion. He executed his routine perfectly but always lacked just a little in difficulty, but yet again a truly amazing score for him of 15.633.
8.The last competitor was Arthur Zanetti from Brazil who has also been tipped as a future champion. With a routine packed with maximum difficulty Arthur executed his routine flawlessly and left his coach in tears as the score flashed up 15.900 to claim Brazil’s first ever Olympic gymnastics title, ahead of the games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
VAULT: With British interest from one of the Games’ favourite athletes Kristian Thomas, the Vault final was always going to be a crowd pleaser and boy did we get a final!! So far this has to be my favourite final as it was packed full of difficulty and possibly the highest execution of all the apparatus so far. Anyone watching must have been left gasping; I certainly was!!
1.1st up was Flavius Koczi, a World Silver medallist in 2009 with two Vaults of the highest difficulty but unfortunately on this occasion it lacked just a little in execution.
2.Next up was Kristian and, in a very noisy and packed O2 arena, he performed and executed one of the most difficult vaults in the world at the moment to score a massive 16.366. The crowd was going nuts!! Kris then stepped up for his 2nd vault which lacks a little in difficulty but we all know he can execute it perfectly. Unfortunately on this occasion Kris slightly under-rotated and stumbled back, scoring 14.700 to give an average of 15.533.
3.Third up was Botella with two vaults which lacked a little in difficulty but he executed them effortlessly, scoring an average of 15.866.
4.Next up was one of the favourites Igor Radivilov from Ukraine with two vaults of maximum difficulty and boy did he nail them to score an average of 16.316, pushing him to the top of the leader board.
5.Fifth up was the Russian Dennis Ablyazin – remember him – in his third final already, and only 20 years and two days old. Dennis executed two very difficult vaults, only his second vault was slightly more difficult than the first, scoring him an average of 16.399 which propelled him to the top of the leader board. He is fast becoming a crowd favourite.
6.Sixth up was Sam Mikulak from the USA who lacked a little bit in difficulty in his 2nd vault but his execution was brilliant, scoring an average of 16.050.
7.Seventh up was Enrique Sepulveda, a rising star from Chili – a nation not known for its gymnastics – but now appearing in his 2nd final of these championships. Enrique had possibly the highest execution value of both vaults but always lacks a bit in difficulty in his 2nd vault, to score an average of 16.183, pushing himself into 3rd position.
8.Last up was the young 18 year old from South Korea who, at this moment in time, performs the most difficult vault in the world and quite simply defies gravity – oh and his 2nd vault ain’t too bad either. Well, he executed both vaults almost perfectly, only suffering a large step on his most difficult, but even that failed to affect his final score as he scored an average of 16.533 to claim South Korea’s first ever Gymnastics Olympic Gold.
9.Finally I don’t normally report on the women’s competition in my blogs but on this occasion I really would like to send a massive congratulation to my team mate and close personal friend Beth Tweddle who executed a very difficult Bar routine to claim her first Olympic medal; the one medal that has eluded a very successful career that includes World and European titles.
Bring on the Pbars and Hbar!