Tag Archives: gymnasts

London 2012 Olympics: Kohei Uchimura wins individual all-round gold as Kristian Tomas finished sixth

British boys fail to add to gymnastic bronze as Japan's Uchimura makes no mistake this time

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UPDATED:

18:57 GMT, 1 August 2012

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Japan's Kohei Uchimura won individual all-round gold at the North Greenwich arena as British duo Kristian Thomas and Daniel Purvis secured Britain's best ever result in the Olympic competition.

Uchimura, who won silver in the all-around four years ago in Beijing, was not at his scintillating best but scored 92.690 to see off the challenge of German Marcel Nguyen in silver medal position with American Danell Leyva in bronze, just under two points off the lead.

Britain's Thomas finished seventh and Purvis 13th, bettering the 20th-place finish earned by both Neil Thomas at the 1992 Barcelona Games and Daniel Keatings four years ago in Beijing.

Great Britain's gymnast Kristian Thomas

Best finish: Kristian Thomas

Great Britain's gymnast Daniel Purvis

Boost: Daniel Purvis

China's defending Olympic all-around champion Yang Wei retired after winning gold at his home Games, but with no Chinese gymnasts making the final, the title was destined for a different country.

American Leyva topped qualification ahead of Russian David Belyavskiy and Germany's Fabian Hambuchen with Uchimura down in ninth place.

However, Leyva and Hambuchen both faltered on the pommel horse, with the German having an inquiry into his score rejected, leaving the door wide open for their Japanese opponents, Uchimura and Kazuhito Tanaka, as Belyavskiy also looked slightly below par.

Japan's Kohei Uchimura

Golden boy: Japan's Kohei Uchimura

Japan's Kohei Uchimura

Parallel bars world champion Leyva
battled back from his shaky start and put himself in medal contention
with a strong set on the rings, an efficient vault and excellent bars
routine.

As the American hit back, Nguyen, the
reigning European parallel bars champion, scored 15.833 on his
specialist piece of apparatus before a strong high bar routine lifted
him into the medal positions with one rotation to go.

Japan's Tanaka then saw his medal
hopes crumble thanks to a costly fall on his final piece of apparatus,
the pommel horse, to drop him into sixth place after he had spent the
majority of the competition in second.

Great Britain's gymnast Kristian Thomas

Silver medal: Germany's Marcel Nguyen

Silver medal: Germany's Marcel Nguyen

As Uchimura, who had almost cost Japan a team medal when he badly miscued his dismount from the pommel in the
final rotation before a successful appeal secured silver, played it safe on high
bar then finished off on floor, smiling to the crowd safe in the
knowledge he had secured his first Olympic gold medal, Leyva moved up
into silver medal position after nailing his high bar routine.

But Nguyen – the last gymnast to
finish – was not done, scoring 15.300 on his final piece of apparatus,
the floor, to snatch silver from the American in a dramatic finale.

London 2012 Olympics: GB women finish sixth in team gymnastics as United States claim gold

GB women miss out on medal as United States pip Russia to gymnastics team gold

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UPDATED:

18:14 GMT, 31 July 2012

Great Britain's women achieved their
best Olympic gymnastics team result in the post-war era after they
finished sixth in the team final at the North Greenwich Arena on
Tuesday.

The United States, silver medalists four years ago, won gold ahead of Russia with Romania claiming the bronze medal.

Britain's gymnast Jennifer Pinches performs on the beam

Impressive: Britain's Jennifer Pinches on the beam

Defending champions China were left distraught as they finished fourth by some margin.

Britain's women were unable to match the achievements of their male counterparts who won Olympic team bronze yesterday, but that was never expected against gymnastics powerhouses China, Russia, United States and Romania.

Beth Tweddle, Hannah Whelan, Imogen Cairns, Rebecca Tunney and Jennifer Pinches scored 170.495 to mark their best ever result in post-war Olympic competition, surpassing the seventh place in the Los Angeles Games in 1984.

Jennifer Pinches of Great Britain competes on the balance beam

Britain's only Olympic team medal was won at the 1928 Games with a squad of 12 gymnasts.

The result comes after GB narrowly missed out on a place in the final four years ago in Beijing where they finished ninth.

With three gymnasts competing on each piece of apparatus and all of the scores counting towards the overall total, there was no margin for error.

Great Britain's Beth Tweddle

High point: Great Britain's Beth Tweddle

Britain started on beam, just like in
qualification, with Cairns stepping up first and steadying nerves with a
clean and confident 13.500 routine.

Pinches then tumbled off the
apparatus to score 11.833, before European bronze beam medallist Whelan
put on an assured display to score 13.866.

The United States began on vault,
with world champion McKayla Maroney the pick of the bunch after she hit a
stunning stuck Amanar vault to score 16.233, as the 2008 silver
medallists rocketed into a huge early lead.

Focused: Imogen Cairns on the balance beam

Focused: Imogen Cairns on the balance beam

Britain then moved to the floor in
last place after their shaky start, Pinches putting her woes on the beam
behind her with a clean routine of 14.366.

Whelan's solid routine and Tweddle's
slightly shaky 14.166 interpretation of James Bond theme 'Live and Let
Die' moved them up a place into seventh.

Cairns then opened for Britain on
vault with a clean one-and-a-half twisting leap before Pinches scored
14.833 ahead of Tunney's first appearance in the team final on the
apparatus, scoring 14.866.

Sparkling: Jordyn Wieber on the vault

Sparkling: Jordyn Wieber on the vault

Tweddle's specialist piece of apparatus, the uneven bars, was left until last, just like in qualification.
The 27-year-old competed last as the strongest worker on the apparatus
for Britain, after fellow City of Liverpool gymnasts Whelan and Tunney.

Whelan looked confident with a slight
step on landing to score 14.00 before 15-year-old Tunney hit her
routine to earn 14.766 for her team.

Golden girls: The USA celebrate their gold medal in the women's artistic gymnastics

Golden girls: The USA celebrate their gold medal in the women's artistic gymnastics

Fall out: Russia's Kseniia Afanaseva after falling during her floor exercise

Fall out: Russia's Kseniia Afanaseva after falling during her floor exercise

Three-time world champion Tweddle
then stepped up to the apparatus and nailed her routine with a twisting
double-double finish to save the best until last with a score of 15.833 –
and move Britain up into sixth place ahead of Italy and Japan.

The United States, meanwhile, were
doing battle with Russia for gold, with Aly Raisman's world class floor
routine enough to seal the victory for the 2008 Olympic silver
medallists.

The golden girls: U.S. gymnasts, left to right, Jordyn Wieber, Gabrielle Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Alexandra Raisman, Kyla Ross raise their hands on the podium during the medal ceremony

The golden girls: (left to right) Jordyn Wieber, Gabrielle Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Alexandra Raisman, Kyla Ross

Salute: US coach John Geddert leads the celebrations

Salute: US coach John Geddert leads the celebrations

London 2012 Olympics: Men"s artistic team win first gymnastic medal since 1912

Fantastic gymnastic! Men's artistic team win first medal since 1912

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UPDATED:

22:11 GMT, 30 July 2012

Olympics 2012

Great Britain had a silver medal snatched away from them by Japan in the men’s gymnastics team event last night, but celebrated the ‘miracle’ of their first team bronze for 100 years.

Louis Smith, Max Whitlock, Daniel Purvis, Sam Oldham and Kristian Thomas were in second place after the final round but saw Japan win an appeal which pushed the home team into bronze position.

Jumping for joy: GBs gymnastics team (from left) Kristian Thomas, Sam Oldham, Daniel Purvis, Louis Smith and Max Whitlock celebrate

Jumping for joy: GBs gymnastics team (from left) Kristian Thomas, Sam Oldham, Daniel Purvis, Louis Smith and Max Whitlock celebrate

But Smith, who won individual bronze on the pommel horse in Beijing four years ago, said: ‘For us, this is a dream come true. To get a bronze medal is a miracle. Silver, bronze, it doesn’t matter. We have the bronze medal on our necks, who cares about silver

‘We set out to come top six or top five; to enjoy ourselves. To get a medal was unbelievable.

‘I’m happy for Japanese. They are the pinnacle. All of us want to be as good as them. If the judges got something wrong and they deserve to win a medal then that is good enough for me and all of us.’

In the medals: The team pose for a photo after their award ceremony

In the medals: The team pose for a photo after their award ceremony

Japan’s Kohei Uchimura’s final score was bumped up by 0.7 after officials decided they had misjudged his dismount from the pommel horse.

The appeal saw Japan take silver behind China, with Ukraine left without a medal in fourth.

The last time we won a medal

Britain’s bronze in Stockholm in 1912 (below) was their last medal in team gymnastics at the Olympics. There were no Lycra outfits, but gymnasts wore knickerbockers and stockings. Rope-climbing was a discipline and powerhouses China, Japan and USA were nowhere to be seen.

Sport, 1912 Olympic Games, Stockholm, Sweden, Gymnastics, The Mens Team Combined Exercises, Great Britain, the Bronze medal winners (Photo by Bob Thomas/Popperfoto/Getty Images)

Arsenal tour: Olympics still popular in Beijing four years on

On the road…. with Arsenal: Olympics still the hot topic in Beijing four years on

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UPDATED:

14:47 GMT, 27 July 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Occasionally in this job you feel like you're in the wrong place but rarely has it been quite this bad.

It’s the Olympic Stadium, on the day of the Opening Ceremony, expect Beijing was four years ago.

The Chinese seem amused. The taxi driver seemed utterly baffled that an Englishman might want a ride to the Bird’s Nest on the day the Games begin in London.

City slickers: Yaya Toure helped the champions to a convincing win over Arsenal in Beijing

City slickers: Yaya Toure helped the champions to a convincing win over Arsenal in Beijing

'Where you from'

'England.'

'London'

'Not far away.'

'Olympic Games.'

'Yes, I know.'

Snigger.

He wasn’t the first, either. The Chinese adore the Olympics, the sports pages of the papers are jammed with swimmers and divers and gymnasts, but most of Beijing seem oblivious to a friendly between the teams who finished first and third in last season’s Barclays Premier League.

Hundreds of local Arsenal fans have attended events here in the last 48 hours and perhaps 2,000 watched them train on the eve of the game.

Cheer we go: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain receives a rapturous reception from the fans inside the Bird's Nest

Cheer we go: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain receives a rapturous reception from the fans inside the Bird's Nest

But this is a large city and the Bird’s Nest – still an impressive and iconic sight – is a large arena to fill. It holds 80,000, though the safety regulations set the capacity far lower they were not under any threat.

Supporters were scattered sparsely around the three tiers. Those who do support English football out here love their teams. And they are highly skilled at generating noise.

Arsenal clearly have the edge on Manchester City in that regard – Mike Summerbee was jeered as he paraded the Premier League trophy before the game – but the champions are making some progress.

Outside the stadium, there was reasonable demand for 'Why Always Me' shirts and one fan wearing a City shirt (which sparked extreme whistling from the red-shirted majority) was physically ejected from the stands during an Arsenal training session, to the embarrassment of club officials who did their best to reverse the decision.

All smiles: One lucky supporter holds Oxlade-Chamberlain's boot after the England star threw it into the crowd

All smiles: One lucky supporter holds Oxlade-Chamberlain's boot after the England star threw it into the crowd

Unfortunately, the Chinese security forces are an unforgiving lot. It was like a scene featuring Cato from the old Pink Panther films as Marouane Chamakh (seemingly, the subject of marriage proposals wherever he appears) tried to leave a Fan Party through an underground network of corridors at a city hotel.

From around each blind turn leapt a different fan, thrusting something to be signed in his direction, or trying to grab him around the shoulder for a matey photo.

Chamakh tried his best to oblige without encouraging a stampede but the heavy-handed security forces waded in to knock the supporters aside.

The Arsenal striker winced and quickened his search for the exit. Not unlike Robin van Persie.

London 2012 Olympics: Lord Coe is on the final stages of the race of his life to deliver the Games

It's the race of his life and Coe is on the final bend as Olympics loom

By
Patrick Collins

PUBLISHED:

21:54 GMT, 14 April 2012

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UPDATED:

21:54 GMT, 14 April 2012

A foggy morning in east London and, from the 23rd floor, the Olympic Stadium is no more than a hint on the horizon.

Yet Sebastian Coe sits with his back to the office window, as if even a glimpse into the gloom might emphasise the urgency of his task.

This Wednesday, the Games of the XXX Olympiad will be 100 days away. Reality is nudging his ribs. 'Time's gone so quickly. Flown by,' he says.

'You can sense the excitement by the little things that happen. The other day, in central London, I met a woman who was a volunteer, a bloke who was going to carry the torch and a girl who told me she was dancing in the opening ceremony. All inside 15 minutes on Oxford Street! It's happening out there. And not just at home.

Flying the flag: Lord Coe is relishing delivering the games to London

Flying the flag: Lord Coe is relishing delivering the games to London

'I don't believe I've ever witnessed so much international excitement about an Olympics. You feel it when you walk into the international training centre in Tokyo and you meet their gymnasts or their triathlon team and they just can't stop talking about London.

'They can't wait to get here. And that's typical. Dar-es- Salaam to Marrakesh, from Beijing to Los Angeles, there's people just longing to get to London.

'Everyone's always excited about going to an Olympic Games but there's something different this time, because it's London.'

The unprecedented speed at which tickets were sold effectively settled the debate about the nation's readiness to embrace the Olympics.

As Coe says: 'You don't tell the British people they're going to have a wonderful time, they'll figure it out themselves.

In a previous life: Seb Coe in his days as a top athlete

In a previous life: Seb Coe in his days as a top athlete

'I never thought we'd have a problem selling tickets because I think that sport actually matters to our public.'

There is something of the zealot about Coe as he pursues his theory: 'I've done countless miles, travelling this country. Seeing extraordinary people doing things they didn't know they had it in themselves to do.

'In Truro the other day one of our community leaders, a young girl, said to me, “I was doing nothing three years ago. Now I've got 20 kids in a playground coming to see me three nights a week”.

'It's amazing. We've got millions of kids involved in all sorts of things and 24,000 schools in our Get Set programme.'

His eight years as chairman of the organising committee have not been uniformly smooth, and the disruption of the Boat Race prompted inevitable Olympic speculation.

Coe calls last weekend's protest 'a monstrous piece of self-indulgence.'

Delivered: The Olympic Stadium was opened on time

Delivered: The Olympic Stadium was opened on time

But he pleads for perspective, and delivers a response culled from his previous life as a party politician: 'We have a long history of peaceful demonstrations, as long as they don't put athletes or spectators at risk.'

The success or otherwise of the London Games will be determined by the collective ability of the Organising Committee. Coe is confident in his team.

'They're the reason I don't get sleepless nights,' he says. 'Remarkable people. I was working here at about 10 the other night and a third of the staff were still here.

'The nearest I've seen to that kind of focus was many years ago; that little group who worked with me to get round two or four laps faster than the next guy. It reminds me a lot of those morning sessions I had with my Dad, when we'd be sitting there and saying, “OK let's look at what you did last night, let's modify this or change that”.

'For me, it's very similar. You are thinking minute by minute, the decisions are coming thick and fast.'

Park of dreams: The Olympic Stadium is the centre point of the Olympic Park

Park of dreams: The Olympic Stadium is the centre point of the Olympic Park

The larger questions are still looming; the nature of regeneration, the scope of the sporting legacy, the mark that the festival will leave on the country at large. But the hopes and fears of the nation revolve around the man who delivered the Games. Coe attempts to make light of the burden.

'I'm doing something I thoroughly enjoy and I instinctively understand,' he says. But when he thinks of the Raffles Convention Centre in Singapore, on the evening of July 6, 2005, when the IOC president opened an envelope to announce the triumphant city, does he never secretly wish that Jacques Rogge had said the word: 'Paris'

Coe is faintly shocked at the notion. 'No, no, no! Never!' he says. 'By the day, by the hour, I'm more convinced that it will be fantastic.

'Anyway, I've always felt that what we've had to deal with, even on the difficult days, has been trivial compared to what this could mean for generations to come.'

Come Wednesday, the days will dwindle to a precious few, and Coe's optimism will be tested as never before.

The Games of London will depend on the talents of the man and his team. We should wish them well.

London 2012 Olympics: Louis Smith injured

Leading gymnast Smith confident he will make Olympics despite finger fracture

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UPDATED:

19:59 GMT, 28 March 2012

Gymnast Louis Smith will be out for up to a month after fracturing his finger.

The pommel horse specialist, who won bronze on the apparatus at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, suffered the injury on Tuesday after he stubbed his finger on the high bar.

Smith, 22, who trains at Huntingdon Gymnastics club, told Sky Sports: 'I will probably be out for about four weeks, with recovery and getting back into it.

Big hope: Louis Smith is one of Britain's top gymnasts

Big hope: Louis Smith is one of Britain's top gymnasts

'I could be annoyed but it won't get me anywhere and that will make things worse. I need to stay positive and I am confident I will be able to get back to where I need to be, it's only a little fracture.'

Smith tweeted a photo of his right arm in a sling today before the picture was then removed.

The injury means the Peterborough-born gymnast looks set to miss out on next month's World Cup competition in China.

Blow: Smith hopes he will be fit in plenty of time for the Olympics

Blow: Smith hopes he will be fit in plenty of time for the Olympics

However, the London 2012 poster boy does not believe the spell on the sidelines will derail his chances of making it to the Games this summer.

'I'm going to have to train a lot harder, a lot more running around to keep fit so that when I get back to doing gymnastics stuff it is not so much of a hill to climb,' Smith said.

London 2012 Olympics: Rhythmic gymnastics group to learn fate

Britain's rhythmic gymnastics squad to learn Olympics fate this month

Great Britain's rhythmic gymnastics group will learn if their appeal over their exclusion from the Olympics has been successful in a hearing at the end of this month.

The group narrowly missed a benchmark qualifying score set by British Gymnastics at the London Prepares test event last month and were then told they had missed out on a place at the Games.

Tears: Great Britain's gymnasts failed to qualify for the London Olympics

Tears: Great Britain's gymnasts failed to qualify for the London Olympics

However, the group exceeded the same target in competition the following day and appealed the decision, with the hearing set to be held on February 29 in London.

The self-funded team of Jade Faulkner, Francesca Fox, Lynne Hutchison, Louisa Pouli, Rachel Smith and Georgina Cassar announced their decision to appeal following the test event, which also served as the final qualifying for London 2012.

Not good enough: The team are awaiting the outcome of their appeal

Not good enough: The team are awaiting the outcome of their appeal

The group needed to score 45.223 over two routines during qualification – 82 per cent of the leading score from last year's World Championships – in order for a nomination to be submitted to the British Olympic Association for a host nation place.

However, they fell agonisingly short, scoring 44.950, with the following day's score of 47.200 not counting towards their target.

Cynthia Valdez: Picture of the week by Andy Hooper

Andy Hooper: My favourite image of the week… Cynthia Valdez

Every
Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Sportsmail's top snappers Andy Hooper,
Graham Chadwick and Kevin Quigley will be showcasing their favourite
image of the week.

Here, Andy chooses this capture of Cynthia Valdez as his standout selection…

This is Mexican gymnast Cynthia Valdez in a classic peak-of-the-action shot during the London Prepares series at the O2 Arena.

To capture Cynthia leaping six foot off the ground I positioned myself at the back of the stands for a clean background and waited for the jump.

With performances lasting under two minutes and the gymnasts only jumping once or twice, you have to be ready.

The timing of this picture is perfect. Cynthia is at the top of her jump, her right leg is perfectly extended and her left leg is up behind her head.

The hoop she is using is pointing down and helps to show how high she has jumped.

Nikon D3
Lens 400mm
Exposure 1/2000th of a sec at F2.8
ISO 2000

Cynthia Valdez

London Olympics 2012: Louis Smith urges Brits to keep their nerve

Smith urges Brit pack to hold nerve as young gymnasts bid for team place at London 2012

The sign in Louis Smith’s sitting room reads ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’. It is an adage he intends to follow, but one he fears his British gymnastics team-mates may not.

Today is the team’s Olympic D-Day at the O2 Arena in Greenwich. Finish in the top four of the eight competing nations and they will take their place at London 2012. Fail to do so and one individual in one discipline will go it alone.

Qualification should be a formality because the British line-up is the strongest we have had. Three stars — Smith, Daniel Keatings and Daniel Purvis — are augmented by youthful talent.

Power balance: Louis Smith says his team-mates must show mental strength

Power balance: Louis Smith says his team-mates must show mental strength

But Smith, the Olympic bronze medallist on the pommel horse four years ago, has doubts.

‘We are a young nation in the sport and, although we are doing well, nobody knows what it is like to have expectation, which is why we completely blew out at the World Championships,’ he says of four of the team falling during their high-bars routine and missing out on Olympic qualification back in November.

‘Nobody has been in a position where success is expected. When we failed at the World Championships everybody was like, “Oh my God. I can’t believe this has happened”. The guys were like, “I don’t know what happened. I just slipped off”.

Looking forward: Smith is aiming to improve on his bronze medal of four years ago

Looking forward: Smith is aiming to improve on his bronze medal of four years ago

‘But I was thinking that it was such a strong possibility that this could happen. I was trying to say to them that it was nerves. If you’re ready for a competition and you make uncharacteristic mistakes, more than once, it is nerves. I don’t think they will ever agree with me.’

So can they totally reverse their mistaken mindsets today or — if they do join the British women’s team who have already qualified — at the Olympics this summer

‘I don’t know,’ says Smith, a member of Sportsmail’s Magnificent Seven. ‘It took me two or three years to find a knack of dealing with pressure. You would struggle to do it in six months.

‘The most they can do is to be confident. I have told them to treat it like a training session, to be relaxed, have fun. I like to chill out at the competition. I listen to reggae music. Five minutes before I compete I put a T-shirt over my head and get in the zone.

‘I tell myself, “Look, I’ve done this hundreds of times. Just go up and do it. It’s not a stressful competition”. It is, though. I am just tricking myself.

‘When you are down on the floor and about to compete it is 100 per cent psychological.’

Handling the pressure: Smith relaxes in the gym

Handling the pressure: Smith relaxes in the gym

OUR MAGNIFICENT SEVEN

Tom Daley, diver

Gemma Howell, judoka

Louise Watkin, Paralympic swimmer

Emily Pidgeon, athlete

Shanaze Reade, cyclist

Giles Scott, Finn sailor

Louis Smith, gymnast

Nobody can say that Smith does not
know what he is talking about in this sport that operates on the edge of
its nerves every finely-balanced second. His success in Beijing
represented the first individual Olympic medal by a British male gymnast
since 1908.

He has a Commonwealth title and a clutch of European and world medals to his name.

Smith is speaking in his rented flat
in Peterborough, a bolthole situated close enough to the chicken and
rice on offer at his mum’s house. His career to date has allowed him to
buy a plot of land in the nearby village of Helpston for 100,000. He is
developing it into a three-bedroom house.

National Lottery Magnificent 7 logo

Win gold in London and Smith will
retire at 22 to give his occupational injuries a break and to pursue
business interests — perhaps an adult version of Center Parcs, a
shirtless catering service or the media.

First, he must get to the Olympics.
Yes, Smith might be handed the one individual place in any case, but the
surest route presents itself in competition today.

The message to
the team of Keatings, Purvis, Ruslan Panteleymonov, Kristian Thomas and
Max Whitlock is simple: Keep Calm and Carry On.

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