Day of glory for Petrounias, Ri and Wevers

Rio de Janiero, Aug 15, 2016: Dutch delight After two World titles and the top qualification score, Simone Biles was expected to win her fourth Olympic gold on Balance Beam Monday. But an uncharacteristic slip left the door open for someone else, and Sanne Wevers spun her way to the title. The 2015 World silver medallist brought the Netherlands its second Olympic medal in Women’s Gymnastics, 88 years after the Dutch team’s victory in 1928.

Sanne Wevers

Unlike her rivals, Wevers relied on complicated turns rather than flips to compile the highest difficulty score of any routine in the final and her touch of elegance helped withstand the challenge from Lauren Hernandez, the other American contender. The 16-year-old earned silver, her second medal after gold with the U.S. team last week.

After a dozen flawless routines and three gold medals, Biles finally made a mistake, grabbing the beam to stay on after an underrotated front somersault.

Her bronze medal performance ended Biles’s quest to become the first female gymnast to win five gold medals at a single Games, but the All-around, Vault and Team champion can make it four in Tuesday’s Floor final.

The new Lord of the Rings is Greek
The rings crown concludes an Olympic odyssey for Greece’s Eleftherios Petrounias, who in April was the first to carry the Olympic torch as it made its way from Olympia to Rio.

Clean execution was the key for reigning World Still Rings champion as he trumped 2012 Olympic champion Arthur Zanetti to deprive Brazil’s “Lord of the Rings” of a second consecutive gold after London. Petrounias, Zanetti and bronze medallist Denis Abliazin of Russia performed equally difficult routines, but Petrounias ended his flawless exercise with a stuck dismount.

Three years at the top for Ri
After gold on Vault at the 2014 and 2015 World Championships, Ri Se Gwang of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea made it three in a row. At his first Olympics after a decade on the international scene, Ri demonstrated his mastery of the vault that bears his name, landing both of his jumps with little trouble.

Barely had he come down from the podium than Abliazin was back on it for his second medal ceremony of the day. The Russian captured silver, just as he did four years ago in London, to bring his tally to five Olympic medals.

Bronze medallist Kenzo Shirai may not have won, but the Japanese gymnast nicknamed “Mr. Twist” still managed to leave a unique mark on the final. The 20-year-old successfully performed a vault never before seen in competition, which will bear his name from now on.

Disappointment for Romanian stars
After the traditionally strong Romanian programme failed to qualify a men’s or women’ s team to the Rio Olympic Games, Marian Dragulescu and Catalina Ponor attempted to recreate the medal-winning performances that made both of them stars at past Games. Dragulescu, who owns three medals from the 2004 Olympics, finished with the chocolate medal on Vault. The pioneer of the eponymous Dragulescu vault jumped to the same overall score as Shirai, but lost a tiebreaker that favors the gymnast with the highest score on either of their two vaults.

Twelve years after winning three golds in Athens, Ponor managed to qualify for the Beam final. But a wobbly routine left her seventh and well out of medal contention. —- FIG

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