The team finals for men’s gymnastics at the 2012 Summer Olympics were filled with drama after a nail-biter of a finish. China dominated the day and earned the gold, much like they did in Beijing in 2008. But it was the battle for second and third that sparked some controversy.
Kohei Uchimura on the pommel horse receiving a score in the 13s, it looked as though Japan had knocked themselves out of medal contention, giving Great Britain the silver in its first men’s gymnastics medal in one hundred years. Ukraine was in third place, with Japan in fourth and the U.S. in fifth.
But Japan appealed Uchimura’s score on the pommel, claiming the judges had erroneously valued his dismount. When the judges reviewed their information and the tape, they increased Uchimura’s score by 0.7 points, which propelled Japan into second place, knocking Great Britain to bronze and Ukraine off the podium.
The U.S. looked lethargic from the get-go, so despite a strong showing on their final apparatus, they could never dig themselves out of fifth place. U.S. all-around contender John Orozco had a particularly hard day. His vault and pommel horse scores were each more than a full point lower than they were on qualifying day. Those two points alone are enough to tie the U.S. for silver with Japan.
Not that it all rests on Orozco’s shoulders, but he just didn’t put forth routines that are as spectacular as he can perform. So despite finishing the qualifying day in first place, the U.S. men’s team goes home empty handed.