Following the table tennis last week, I went along yesterday to the 02 Arena to watch artistic gymnastics. The session included the final of the men’s rings, womens uneven bars and the men’s vault.
I was so excited, I realised I was beaming from ear to ear as soon as I got out of the station approaching the arena. I have to commend all the volunteers who were all extremely friendly and smiling. And even the police were friendly and more than happy to accommodate requests for photographs.
This was a totally different experience from the table tennis at ExCel last week. I think for a start, it wasn’t just involving China but a wide range of countries including Brazil, Russia, Ukraine, China, South Korea, Great Britain, Spain, Chile, Bulgaria, the United States and more.
The men’s rings final featured the current Olympic champion from China who put in a great performance today but was surprisingly beaten by the Brazilian athlete by just 0.1 of a point. I’m not enough of an expert to know if it was a justified win, but it seems many Chinese are crying foul play with the judging. The Chinese athlete though was gracious in defeat and was still smiling after the medals ceremony. But the best moment of this event was watching Romanian Jordan Jovtchev. He’s 39 years old and this is his sixth Olympics. That’s just crazy and he still made the rings final. Another inspiring Olympic moment.
The women’s uneven bars was next and more so than the rings, I could tell some of these performances were outstanding. China came second again, losing to a Russian, but the surprise was a bronze for Britain’s Beth Tweddle which sent the crowd in to a frenzy and it was great to be there to witness it. There was nothing like that at the table tennis of course, as there was no British representative.
The final event was the men’s vault final. No Chinese here, but there was a British athlete, Kristian Thomas so I knew we could look forward to more crowd delirium. Unfortunately, Kristian’s second vault didn’t end well and he was quickly out of contention but the final athlete from South Korea surprised me by going straight to the top of the scoreboard, overtaking the Russian who was leading.
And that was that. A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon of artistic gymnastics finals, despite not seeing any Chinese or British golds. China are currently top of the table with 31 golds and 64 medals in total compared to USA’s 29 golds and 63 medals. But GB is very secure in 3rd place with 18 golds and 40 medals overall which is incredible. Well done team GB!