Great Britain earned an amazing bronze medal in a gripping and tense Men’s Team Final – the first ever for a British team – which will live long in the memory, not least of which because of the controversial conclusion, which saw the Japanese team slip out of the medals, only to be reinstated after appeal to the silver.
With the British team involved in a tussle for bronze with the Ukraine team; a dramatic fall, then a sloppy dismount from the Japanese team in their final two pommel horse displays, led to the British being shown as the silver medallists to a delirious North Greenwich Arena crowd.
Delirium quickly turned to disappointment however, as the arena audience (which included Princes William and Harry) became aware of a successful appeal, and roared their disapproval, as Japan were pushed back into silver after a lengthy delay, with the Brits finishing in bronze.
The team rightly stood proudly on the podium to a huge ovation for what could prove to be one of the stories of the Games for Team GB.
China deservedly took the gold, retaining their Olympic title.
Although the team qualified in third position for the final, few would have thought that the team of Louis Smith, Dan Purvis, Kristian Thomas, Sam Oldham and Max Whitlock could hold some of the powerhouses of international gymnastics at bay, but a wonderfully consistent and composed display ensued.
The medal is GB’s first in the Team event since 1912 and marks the conclusion of a significant journey for the British programme – which only nine years ago saw a men’s team come 23rd in the World Championships; and marks a remarkable turnaround from a disappointing showing in the World Championships in 2011.
UK Sport has invested £10.7 million into Gymnastics during the London cycle. This has benefitted the athletes and support staff, and provided vital services to ensure the whole squad is in peak condition for the 2012 Games. The team has been able to install special technologies to deliver instant feedback in training and their coaches have taken part in programmes to enhance their own skills.
Furthermore, UK Sport’s National Lottery funded Major Events Programme has supported four Gymnastics events in the UK since 2007. These events have helped the athletes to prepare for competition in front of a home crowd and deliver their very best performances under pressure, just as they did this evening.
For further information about UK Sport’s support for Gymnastics, please click here