U.S. Men’s Gymnastics Team Finishes Shocking Fifth Place, China Takes Gold

The U.S. men’s gymnastics team finished fifth as China took gold in a disappointing ending to the finals at the London Olympics today.

The Detroit Free Press reports that after finishing first in qualifying on Saturday, the U.S. men’s gymnastics team headed into the finals on Monday with supreme confidence that they would be walking away with that much coveted gold medal. The captain of the American team, Jonathon Horton, stated after qualifying on Saturday:

“I think we made a very big statement. I think we showed people that we’re not all talk. We have made a lot of big statements and we put a lot pressure and expectations on ourselves and I think we showed the world that we are capable of reaching this goal. All five of us have one thing in mind, this team gold medal.”

Unfortunately, nerves and error filled performances during the first half of the six rotations had the U.S. men’s gymnastics team trailing in last place, according to Mercury News. The American team fell to fifth in the first rotation after Sam Mikulak put his hand on the floor during floor exercises giving him a score of 14.6 points.

While their three teammates did well, Danell Leyva and John Orozco did not. In a competition that provided no room for error, Leyva and Orozco both performed horribly on the pommel horse, arguably the toughest part of the competition for the team. Juliet Macur, who is reporting live for the New York Times via Twitter, wrote:

Along with Orozco, Leyva also broke his usual pommel routine, falling off, before gathering himself up to finish. Halfway through the meet, the American gymnasts trailed Japan, the argued favorite, by 6.799 points. The U.S. men’s gymnastics team finished a disappointing fifth place, while the home team of Great Britain won a surprising third place.

U.S. Men's Gymnastics Final

Japan won second, after appealing their original third place, because they believed team member Kohei Uchimura’s pommel horse performance was scored too low. Judges ultimately agreed, and moved Japan into second and Great Britain to third, while the crowd booed. Chinese men’s gymnastics won the gold.

Are you disappointed that the U.S. men’s gymnastics team placed fifth, after looking so strong during Saturday’s qualifications?