Category Archive: Gymnastics

Gymnastics News

Aug 15

‘Brutal but effective’: why Team GB is winning so many Olympic medals

Sports that have helped propel Britain up the medal table have been rewarded with extra investment while others have had their funding cut altogether

In the past 24 hours Team GB rewrote their Olympic history, moving ahead of China into second place in the Rio 2016 medals table after winning a record-breaking five gold medals in a single day.

With Olympic champions in tennis, golf, gymnastics and cycling – and another assured in the sailing – the team’s directors hailed national lottery funding and the legacy of London 2012 for the Rio goldrush. So how has funding in British sport changed in the run-up to Super Sunday?

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Aug 15

The hounding of Gabby Douglas: an unworthy end for a great American champion

The gold medal gymnast was said to be ‘heartbroken’ after the attacks against her – and it showed in Douglas’s final performance of this Olympics

Gabby Douglas stood beneath the Rio Olympic Arena, still in her Team USA leotard, trying hard to understand how she had become the most unpatriotic athlete in Rio. Tears welled in her eyes. She tried hard to talk but no words came out. Her pauses were long and uncomfortable.

“I’ve been trying to stay off the internet because there’s so much negativity,” she said.

Related: Ibtihaj Muhammad’s bronze: a vital US medal in this summer of Trump

Related: Gabby Douglas’s lesson from the US national anthem outcry: conform or else | Dave Schilling

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Aug 15

Team GB second in Rio Olympics medal table after ‘sensational’ Sunday

Sir Dave Brailsford says lottery funding is key to team’s success, after golds in tennis, gymnastics, golf and cycling

Britain’s Olympic team has moved into second place in the medal table in Rio, behind the USA and ahead of China, after winning five gold medals on Sunday.

Andy Murray concluded a triumphant weekend for the team by becoming the first male tennis player to win back-to-back singles golds with a gruelling four-set win over Argentina’s Juan Martín del Potro.

Related: Rio 2016 Olympics: Usain Bolt and Andy Murray take golds again – live!

Related: Rio Olympics 2016 – medal table and results in full

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Aug 15

Max Whitlock ends Britain’s gymnastics medal drought with two golds in one day

• Whitlock ends Britain’s 116-year duck with two golds in two hours
• Team GB’s Louis Smith claims silver on pommel horse

Max Whitlock has always been a shy kind of sportsman. It does not matter now. The history books – and an army of fans – will shout loud enough for him, after he ended Britain’s 116-year drought with not one but two gold medals in the Olympic Arena and established himself as -simply the greatest gymnast the country has produced.

On a sunny afternoon when the beaches were full of weekenders in bikinis, the brutally air-conditioned interior of the Olympic Arena was, for once, the hottest place to be as Whitlock became an Olympic champion in his first floor final – having thought he would be lucky to make the podium – then added the pommel horse title half an hour later. At only 23 and with three bronze medals already in his kitbag he now has more Olympic medals than Britain’s gymnasts had earned in total until four years ago.

Related: Rio Olympics 2016: Rose goes for golf gold, Lochte robbed, gymnastics – live!

Related: Louis Smith v Max Whitlock, Rio’s hottest rivalry

Related: Simone Biles wins vault Olympic gold after Hong Un-jong gamble backfires

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Aug 14

Samir Aït-Saïd shows the classy response to sporting adversity at Olympics

Not for him a Mauricio Pochettino-style raging tantrum – the French gymnast who shattered his tibia and fibula in Rio merely says ‘that’s the way it is’

Now 26, Samir Aït-Saïd has been one of the best gymnasts in France for nearly a decade. But you won’t remember him from London 2012 because three months before the last Olympics, during the European championships in Montpellier, he landed badly after attempting a Dragulescu on the vault and sustained what medics called a “significant trauma to his tibial plateau”, ruling him out not just of competition but of walking for four months.

Aït-Saïd was broken but he wasn’t beaten: at the European championships in Moscow the following year he won gold in the rings. Last year he went back to Montpellier, to the same hall where, in his words, “I kissed goodbye to my Olympic dream”, and won European silver, again in the rings. A few months later, at the world championships in Glasgow, he came fourth to complete a miserable run of non-podium placings in that competition – he had previously finished 5th, 6th and 7th – and was considered very much a medal contender for Rio, with the rings his best chance. “I want to take revenge,” he said in the build-up to these Games. “I still haven’t come to terms with what happened to me four years ago. I want to come back from Brazil with two medals.”

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Aug 12

The 20 best Olympic moments in Rio – so far

Poolgate, Michael Phelps’ purple circles, Simon Biles defying gravity – some of the best moments from week one

Related: Simone Biles reaches new heights with all-around Olympic gold medal

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Aug 09

Women’s Olympic gymnastics: USA go for gold in team final – live!

9.07pm BST

Up next: Brazil on the vault, Japan on the bars, USA on the beam, Russia on the floor. Russia struggled on the floor in qualifying. Japan were pretty good on the bars.

9.06pm BST

USA 93.365
CHN 89.339
RUS 88.923
JPN 87.306
GBR 86.831
GER 84.774
NED 84.699
BRA 83.731
And now the Americans head into their two strongest events. Unfair.

9.03pm BST

Brazil’s Andrade wound up with a pretty low 12.966 on the floor. Meanwhile, Kocian scores 15.933 on the bars. Unreal. Checking in on Russia – Melnikova, who fell, only gets 13.033 on the beam. Mustafina posts a 14.958, and Tutkhalian goes 14.766. China has passed them for second.

9.00pm BST

USA’a Gabby Douglas just posted a 15.766. We’ll see her again in the apparatus finals on these bars. Her team-mate Madison Kocian up next on bars, and … she might threaten Douglas’ score. How these women stop their rotation in no time flat is beyond me. What a landing.

8.58pm BST

And we have a music error! Brazil’s Rebeca Andrade stands like a statue to start of her floor exercise as the wrong music starts. We see the DJ booth as they sort it out.

8.56pm BST

Simone drills bars as Melnikova comes off beam. So whatever mojo Russians had coming off bars is kaput

I’ll take Will’s word for it for now. One feed has disappeared, and Biles was not shown on the other. But we’re back to see Gabby Douglas zip through a jaw-dropping routine. We’re reaching “just hand them the gold” territory.

8.54pm BST

It’s not just me noticing China’s coach encroachment:

Tan almost kicked her coach which, had it happened, would have served him right

8.53pm BST

Sub-scores for the second rotation: China (bars) 45.007, Netherlands (vault) 43.033, Britain (beam) 41.965, Germany (floor) 41.674 At long last, the Americans are back in action on the uneven bars. This will be an unusual event for them, with our first and last looks at Madison Kocian and Gabby Douglas.

8.50pm BST

Meanwhile, a lot of consultation between the British gymnasts, a coach and a laminated paper of some kind, like an NFL coach looking for a play to call. 14.166 for Downie. Sub-42 for the beam as a whole, but they also didn’t do that well on the beam in qualifying.

8.48pm BST

Tan Jiaxin is on bars for China, whose coach stands nearly close enough to take a knee to the head. Maybe a slight moment going wrong as she switches hands, but the landing is picture-perfect.

8.47pm BST

Now Becky Downie, who mounts the bar with a split and sticks a couple of flips with no trouble. Britain could use a momentum-changer here, and Downie seems to be delivering, though the landing could be cleaner. Tune in tomorrow for the score …

8.41pm BST

Britain’s Ellie Downie is burying her head in a towel. It’s sad stuff to see. Her score is 13.666 – the execution score was under 8. Her team-mate Claudia Fragapane is up next. Fragapane has a couple of wobbles but stays up and has a strong dismount. We’ll get that score after we see China’s Fan Yilin on bars. Fan splits her feet on landing after an otherwise dazzling routine. Scores are being held up a while here – finally a 14.433 for Fragapane.

8.38pm BST

Ellie Downie up now on beam for Britain. And … she’s off. Wobbled after a flip and couldn’t stay on. She hops back on to finish the routine and looks a little out of control on a spin. Unfortunate after her brave qualifying effort.

And #CHN Shang Chunsong misses catch on UB

I’m gonna go on my always precarious limb and say these USA gymnasts are the best athletes at #RioOlympics2016

8.37pm BST

Second rotation underway, and Russia Aliya Mustafina comes up big again. 15.933. Russia making a serious push here.

8.34pm BST

Now we’re getting a peek at Britain’s Becky Downie on uneven bars. She springs from bar to bar with confidence, and she lands with no hop whatsoever. Long wait for the score, and it’s … 15.400. That’ll put Britain in a tentative medal spot after one rotation, with 44.866 points.

The scores after one of four full rotations:

8.29pm BST

Boos as the 16 year old Brazilian Flavia Saraiva, whose complex beam performance wowed in qualifying, receives only 14.833 here in the team final. It’s a routine that requires not one, not two but three consecutive blind leaps and a small wobble on the last may have resulted in a deduction, but to receive so much lower than her 15.133 qualifying score has not gone down well with the home crowd.

8.27pm BST

For Britain, who started on bars as China started on vault, Ruby Harrold gets things started with a 14.833, a hair better than her qualifying score. The vault goes quickly, and China are already done with 44.332. They’ll have work to do.

8.24pm BST

When you see the long delays while teams set up to start, you understand why ad breaks are so long. China finally gets going with a 14.833. Not a great start. Tan Jiaxin does a solid vault with a little hop backwards, then quickly walks away. They’re not selling it here. 14.766

8.21pm BST

Mustafina put up a big number: 15.933. That gives Russia 46.166 total, 0.7 behind the USA’s 46.866 but staking an early claim for silver. China are up next on the vault, though.

To paint the picture here: We have eight teams and four disciplines. Four teams go at a time. So China has not yet started on vault, while the U.S. gymnasts are sitting around rather bored.

8.19pm BST

Japan have 28.566 through two gymnasts, and Sae Miyakawa is already in a spot of bother with a step over the line on the floor. She also stumbles on her last acrobatic run.
Meanwhile, the vault feed has given us about five minutes of Simone Biles sitting. And now yawning. Alert Twitter.

8.16pm BST

Two scores up for Russia now, and they have 30.233. They’ve averaging more than 15 points. And yet they’d need 16.633 points from Mustafina to tie the USA early on.

8.13pm BST

Then it’s Simone Biles, the star of the show, who arcs through the air with Jordan-esque hang time. Lands with a little hop forward but clearly under control. Should be another big score … and it’s 15.933, surprisingly less than she saw in qualifying. She looks confused. Here’s how Simone did in qualifying:

Related: Simone Biles shows her class to stay on course for fistful of Olympic medals

8.11pm BST

Hernandez gets a 15.1, not far off her qualifying score. Up next, her US team-mate Aly Raisman with an “Amanar,” in which the gymnast lands facing forward. And … she nailed that. 15.833.

8.08pm BST

Laurie Hernandez, the youngster, up first for the USA on vault. She lands a little off center, with a slight hop. Had a 15.2 in qualifying.

8.07pm BST

Maybe they’re saving up to see Brazil’s Rebeca Andrade, fourth in qualification, compete in the all-around.

This place is about half full. Kind of surprised at that.

8.05pm BST

Other countries showing off their sparkling leotards or snazzy warmups. Germany dressed in something that looks like a knock-off catalog sweatshirt with “GERMANY” splattered across the front.
The US gymnasts are glittering like they’re about to take the stage in Nashville or Branson.

8.04pm BST

Quick reminder: Britain’s Ellie Downie had a nasty fall in qualifying. But she kept going, and she’s scheduled for all four disciplines today.

7.59pm BST

We have the gymnasts strolling out onto the floor. Brazil seems to be moving quickly in anticipation.

7.54pm BST

Ten minutes to go. Quick reminder of what’s at stake:

US women trying to become first team to win back-to-back Olympic golds since Romania did so in 2000, 2004 #Rio2016

7.45pm BST

I’ve seen Dylan and Plant. I don’t think Biles had been born yet. Russia is relying heavily on Angelina Melnikova and Aliya Mustafina. They’re set to go in each discipline.

7.37pm BST

Biles, Dylan and Plant would be a killer triple bill:

Simone BILES (USA) joins venerable list of people to perform here including Bob DYLAN (USA) and Robert PLANT (GBR).

7.35pm BST

Don’t be shocked if Russia leaps out to an early lead. Daria Spiridonova and Aliya Mustafina are the reigning world and Olympic champions, respectively, on uneven bars. (Spiridonova was in a rare four-way tie, along with the USA’s Madison Kocian.) The USA open on vault, where they’re solid but not as spectacular. Unless you’re talking about Simone Biles.

7.29pm BST

It’s fair to say the Aly Raisman’s parents get a little nervous during their daughter’s routines:

7.23pm BST

If you want to see how the USA is likely to win this competition through math alone, check out the calculations on the points US gymnasts are due to earn through their difficulty ratings.

Bah, and so it is. I added 6.3 + 6.3 + 6.8 for VT. Can I blame @nrarmour ???? Nah, that’s on me. Apologies

7.12pm BST

Simone Biles will compete in all four disciplines today. Gabby Douglas, the 2012 all-around champion and third place in qualifying two days ago, will compete in one.

Rachel Axon, one of two known Wilmington Star-News alumni to work at USA Today (the other was your correspondent today), sees Douglas’ demotion as a sign of a “team that is even deeper and more versatile than the Fierce Five.”

Start list for today’s women’s gymnastics team final (3 p.m. ET). #USA will start on vault and end on floor.

4.44pm BST

If you don’t like reading about American athletes’ exploits, you might want to bid farewell to us now. Only two things can happen here – a rout by the heavily favored US gymnasts, or carnage on the apparati.

The USA simply performs difficult routines as easily as many of us walk down the sidewalk. To drop out of the gold-medal slot, they’d have to do far more than a little wobble on the balance beam. They’d have to fall multiple times.

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Aug 09

How to talk about female Olympians without being a regressive creep – a handy guide | Lindy West

Want to avoid gaffes when reporting on female athletes? Do write about the sports they did. Don’t bring their makeup, very small shorts and marital status into it

As ever, this year’s Olympics – an international bacchanal of physical perfection and triumphant will swaddled in human rights abuses and environmental catastrophe – are providing fuel for public delight and scorn in abundance. Making a strong showing in the “scorn” category already is the press, which, less than a week in, has managed to insult, demean and erase female athletes in a cornucopia of bungles.

Related: Commentators take gloss off female Olympians’ efforts and medals

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Aug 09

Louis Smith pommel fall leaves Team GB gymnasts out of medals in all-around

• Smith laments late change to harder pommel routine after Britain finish fourth
• Kohei Uchimura leads Japan to gold, as Russia take silver and China bronze

It was job done for Kohei Uchimura as the all-around genius of gymnastics finally filled in his Olympic gold collection with Japan’s first team gold since 2004. But there was mission failure for Great Britain, who had high expectations after finishing second to Japan in last year’s world championships, and ended up just out of the medals.

Earlier this week Nile Wilson admitted that the British men’s team are “adrenalin junkies” – apparently one of their favourite group activities is to watch horror movies – and this final was full of nerve-shredding moments that might haunt for them some time. While they stayed in contention throughout, mistakes cost them dear, and when Louis Smith fell from the pommel on their final apparatus, their challenge was over.

Related: Tom Daley and Dan Goodfellow seize Rio platform to claim diving bronze

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Aug 08

Kristian Thomas scores on vault but Team GB misses out on medal – video

Team GB’s Kristian Thomas lands a difficult vault in the men’s gymnastic team final but the group are knocked off the podium in the fifth of six rotations. The British team were sitting in third for the first half of the competition but a late rally from China meant that the battle for first, second and third came down to the wire on the last apparatus rotation with less than a point between Russia, China and Japan

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Aug 08

Men’s gymnastics team final: Rio Olympics – live!

10.07pm BST

Japan are chalking up the horizontal bar. But it’s not just chalk, there are no rules that dictate what gymnasts can and can’t use, so teams get creative. Most create a gross concoction of honey, spit and chalk slurry or by mixing honey and chalk with a spritz of saltwater. Former US gymnast Trent Wells used gummy bears and beer has also been used.

Whatever Japan’s Ryohei Kato is using on the horizontal bars, it’s working. 15.066. Japan in second remember.

10.00pm BST

We have our first 16+ score! The parrallel bars are traditionally China’s strongest event, and all three of their gymnasts score at least 15.800, with You Hao clocking a mesmeric 16.166, which included a double backflip between the bars. They were fifth going into this fifth rotation, about 0.7 points behind Great Britain in third. It’s going to be close!

9.56pm BST

Ukraine are down and out at the bottom of the rankings, and only playing for pride, but Oleg Verniaiev doing himself proud on the pommel horse, recording a flawless 15.633, including the wonderfully named move, a Russian Wendy.

9.53pm BST

Japan have begun to close the gap on Russia at the top, but Ivan Stretovich continues to hold his nerve on the horizontal bar. He was just a reserve before the Olympics but is proving to be one of the strongest performers here.

9.50pm BST

The scores after four events. Two to go!

9.48pm BST

Great Britain have a mixed time on the horizontal bar: Max Whitlock has a rather disappointing 14.500 – remember he fell in qualification – Kristian Thomas clocks a solid 14.833 but Nile Wilson is the pick of the bunch …

WOW! Unbelievable routine for @NileMW on high bar! A huge 15.666 for GB! #Gymnastics #Rio2016

Nile Wilson genuinely had me in tears, that was so beautiful #Rio2016

9.43pm BST

China’s Lin Chaopan tries and triple-twist dismount on the vault, but he under-rotates and stumbles. These are routines that the Chinese were doing in their sleep in qualification but it seems as though the pressure is getting to them.

In contrast, Russia are two points clear at the top of the standings. It’s a crucial lead, not least because in the remaining three events they can afford to bring the difficulty down, and make sure that they nail the execution. Ivan Stretovich, a 19-year-old making his Olympic debut, shows no signs of nerves on the parallel bars: 15.100. Nikolai Kuksenkov follows with a 15.133 and European Games silver medallist David Belyavskiy is the best of the lot with 15.800! 15.800! It’s almost as though they are thriving on the cold reception that the crowd are giving them.

9.33pm BST

Brazil and Great Britain go onto the horizontal bar. Sergio Sasaki, the Brazilian, completes his routine for 14.566, but the home crowd feel hugely aggrieved, and vent their ire at the judges from on high – boos raining down from the stands.

9.30pm BST

USA next up in the vaults, and my word, they are pumped up like Temur Ketsbaia. Jake Dalton and Alexander Naddour are particularly excited: both continuing their clench fists and shouting ‘C’mon’ well past the point than is probably appropriate. But then, this is the culmination of four years hard work and an Olympic final. Scores of 14.833 and 14.966, respectively.

9.23pm BST

Half-way through, and here are the scores!

9.20pm BST

Germany are not going anywhere! They are in second at the moment and have Fabian Hambüchen going in the horizontal bar – he won silver four years ago in London. This is probably the best individual performance we’ve seen all day, and he gets a 15.666. Germany continue to be 2016’s surprise package!

9.15pm BST

But here come Japan in the vault. Uchimura peers down the 25m track, dissecting it with one eye closed as though he’s at an archery range, and sets off at pace, nailing a 15.566 score, pumping the air. But his team-mate Kenzo Shirai goes even better! His triple twist is landed absolutely perfectly, with no step, and a wide smile to match. 15.633!

9.08pm BST

No! Next on the rings for China, You Hao, completely messes up his dismount, taking a full three steps forward and nearly falling flat on his face. He only receives a 14.800 score. It’s not terminal, but China will not shoot up the rankings with that!

Maksym Semiankiv failed to even start his high bar routine, and Ukraine have nobody else to put forward for this event, so they will automatically lose 13-15 points! That’s effectively put them dead last. Maybe there’s been an injury to Semiankiv, but that’s hugely disappointing.

9.03pm BST

But here Liu Yang comes to China’s rescue, absolutely nailing a flawless rings. A quite amazing 15.833 score. Is this the comeback?

8.58pm BST

Scores: China in sixth and USA in seventh. Wow. And just look at Germany in second. They were expected to just make up the numbers.

1 Russian Federation 106.131
2 Germany 89.931
3GreatBritain 89.465
4Brazil 89.364
5 Japan 88.532
6 China 88.057
7 United States 87.456
8 Ukraine 74.381

8.56pm BST

Great Britain’s baby-faced assassin, Brinn Bevan and the team captain, Kristian Thomas go in the vault, both taking on high difficulties and both taking just a single step back. Thomas backflips onto the table, double pike. 9.4 execution and 15.4 score.

8.51pm BST

The Russian Denis Ablyazin, all 5ft2in of him, is in complete control of the rings, sticking a perfect landing, and recording the best score so far: 15.700, better even than Brazil’s Arthur Zanetti, who won gold in London 2012 in this discipline.

8.47pm BST

The pommel horse is China’s weakest event, and so it proves: You Hao is hesitant on one handle and makes a sketchy dismount, not the best from him, 14.400.

Triple twist for Max Whitlock on the vault. He looks as though he doesn’t quite complete his last rotation, and lands outside the line, but because of his difficulty he still brings in 14.966.

8.41pm BST

Germany’s Marcel Nguyen starts chalking up his parallel bars and gets to work. It’s a high difficulty but a couple of missed handstands mean that he clocks in at 15.466, when normally Nguyen would expect to get 15.7ish.

8.39pm BST

We’re into our second rotation. But it’s still not going to plan for the USA gymnasts. Danell Leyva slips on his dismount from the pommel horse, manages to style it out and land cleanly on his feet, but shuffles off stage a little bit embarrassed, hoping the judges they didn’t notice. They did: 14.333. I think the USA will be staying bottom place for now.

8.33pm BST

@michaelbutler18 Love Louis, hate his mun! Can’t wait to see him & Max burn that pommel horse down.

Remember Louis Smith is only competing on one event, the pommel horse. But that brings an awful lot of pressure for 30 seconds of work.

8.31pm BST

Max Whitlock finishes with a clean double twisting, double back. Nicely done. He’s not the strongest athlete, but is very light and nimble in the air. 14.5 score.

8.29pm BST

Ooooooooooo that’s a couple of big mistakes from Sam Mikulak. He’s widely regarded as the best all-around American, and had the best individual floor score going into this final, but starts his floor routine with two massive mistakes, twice landing outside of the borders. He finished with a nice triple twist, and bounds off towards his team with a smile on his face, but he’ll be devastated with those errors. 14.866 is his score. Could have been a lot worse.

8.24pm BST

Scores on the doors. But remember, some countries have completed more events than others, so don’t get too carried away with these.

1 Russia 45.299
2 Great Britain 44.066
3 Ukraine 44.015
4 China 43.799
5 Germany 29.449
6 Japan 15.100
7 Brazil 14.400
8 United States13.566

8.21pm BST

Uchimura looks pumped and gets a noisy cheer from the crowd as he starts on the pommel horse. It’s quite amazing how stationary his head stays as his legs helicopter around. 6.2 difficulty, 8.9 execution. That’s a score of 15.1 – he would’ve been hoping for more there.

8.19pm BST

Nile Wilson, the 20-year-old from Leeds, takes to the rings, which is traditionally Great Britain’s worst event. But he looks steady and calm and happy enough with his clean dismount. Not the same fist-pump as in qualifying, but that’ll do pig, that’ll do.

8.15pm BST

Liu Yang gets things started for China on the floor, clocking in with a 14.833. That’s a good start, finishing with two somersaults, two twists.

Ukraine’s Ihor Radivilov, absolutely sticks his vault, landing perfectly in the centre, earning a 9.333 out of 10 for execution. That a 15.333 score. Wow. He was bronze medallist in London 2012 in this event, remember.

8.09pm BST

Brazil got a deafening reception. I wonder if Great Britain will benefit from doing their rotation with the hosts. A few smattering of boos for the Russian team. After a quick warm-up, we’re off!

8.08pm BST

The gymnasts are out! USA come out each bearing ice-white smiles. Britain’s team is more a mixed bag. Max Whitlock and Kristian Thomas look down to the ground, a picture of concentration, whilst Louis Smith looks straight down the barrel of the camera and raises his eyebrows. The big flirt.

Thoughts on his top knot? Predictions? Email or tweet me @michaelbutler18.

8.03pm BST

Japan’s Kohei Uchimura has had a mixed Olympics so far. The record six-time world champion unsuspectedly racked up a £3,700 Pokemon Go bill walking around the Olympic park, then slipped on the pommel horse and fell off the horizontal bar in qualifying. He is however, probably the greatest living all-round male gymnast. Very excited to see him, he says he holds this team event as close to his heart as the individual events. Quite right, too.

Related: Japan’s Olympic hope Kohei Uchimura racks up £3,700 Pokemon Go bill

7.53pm BST

Not anything to do with tonight’s goings on, but this is great from last night:

.@Aly_Raisman‘s parents watching her uneven bars routine is my favorite Olympic sport.

Related: Simone Biles shows her class to stay on course for fistful of Olympic medals

7.46pm BST

The teams will be starting in about 15 minutes or so, and will pair up as they rotate around the six disciplines. First up …

Floor: USA and China
Pommel Horse: Russia and Japan
Rings: Great Britain and Brazil
Vault: Ukraine and Germany

7.27pm BST

The chances are, in reading this, you are either a gymnastics nut – the kind of person who can’t walk down the street without balancing expertly on the edge of a kerb before bunnyhopping the nearest bin – or one of a slightly more fair-weather variety, only bothering to poke your nose into all things acrobatic once every four years. The beautiful thing about gymnastics is that it doesn’t matter: marvelling at athletes simply overcoming the dangers of flipping and twisting several metres off the ground, pushing the limit of human strength, balance, flexibility and grace is more enough.

But if you are from one of China, USA, Russia, Japan, Great Britain, Brazil, Ukraine or Germany, you’ve got a little extra to get excited about. From the Ryder Cup in golf to the Davis Cup in tennis, team competitions seem to light a fire in fans like nothing else. Today’s men’s team final is made up of the eight countries, each with five gymnasts in their ranks, who will take it in turns to each perform one of six different disciplines: vault, floor, pommel horse, rings, parallel bars and horizontal bars.

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Aug 07

Ellie Downie gets back off the mat to help GB into all-round final

• 17-year-old crashes during routine tumble but returns with two fine vaults
• Britain seal place in team final but individual performances are mixed

Until the moment arrived, almost every flip and routine finale of the women’s artistic gymnastics qualification programme had been met with blaring horns and applause so deafening it was sometimes impossible to think. Then came the gasp. And the silence. Ellie Downie, Britain’s brilliant young gymnast, had crashed to the mat on a routine tumble. She rose slowly, dizzy and rubbing her neck, and hobbled away to be checked out.

She admitted later she also heard a crack in her neck. Which made what came next rather extraordinary. With Britain’s gymnasts unsure of qualification for Monday’s all-around final, Downie returned for the final apparatus, the vault, and landed both attempts. Now there was no doubt: Britain’s women would be there, competing against the Americans, Russians and the Chinese for a medal.

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Aug 07

Fabian Hambüchen blames gymnastics scoring system for horror injuries

• Frenchman Samir Ait Said breaks leg on vault at Rio Olympics
• Hambüchen’s German team-mate Andreas Toba suffers ruptured ACL

Fabian Hambüchen demanded an overhaul in the gymnastics scoring system after his Germany team-mate Andreas Toba and Frenchman Samir Ait Said provided painful reminders of just how dangerous the sport can be.

Related: Rio Olympics 2016: GB v Australia women’s hockey and more – live!

Related: Bullet, blast and queues cast shadow over first day of Rio Olympics

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Aug 05

Max Whitlock stays calm despite being in the spotlight at Rio 2016

• Team GB’s leading gymnast is big Olympic medal hope
• Men’s team have had to change mindset after recent successes

Four years ago, in the London athletes’ village, things were becoming a bit too hot for Kristian Thomas: Louis Smith had secretly switched the air‑conditioning unit in his room to heating mode as payback for the innumerable pranks that Thomas had pulled on him. It was, at least, good practice for the streets of Rio.

The heat is on for the men’s gymnasts in every sense. In London, when Britain competed in their first team final, they went out with nothing to lose and finished with a surprise bronze. Next week, the expectations on the five-man team will be far higher. “It’s a big, drastic change,” says Thomas, “and the hardest thing for us is changing our mindset. Over the last four years we’ve been in a position where we go to competitions expecting to win a medal and anything less is a disappointment.”

Related: Amy Tinkler shows no nerves as women seek Rio gymnastics medal

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Aug 05

Amy Tinkler shows no nerves as women seek Rio gymnastics medal

Team GB youngest member at the Olympics took up the sport at the age of two and wants to follow the example set by Beth Tweddle

It was not until she had performed her vault at the world championships last year that Amy Tinkler realised she was about to make history. Great Britain’s women’s team had arrived in Glasgow with one aim: to reach the team final, which would secure them qualification for Rio. Now, on their final apparatus, they were in contention for the bronze medal.

Britain’s women had never stood on the podium at a world championships before. “At no point were we expected to get a medal,” says Tinkler, who had followed a strong first vault from her team-mate Claudia Fragapane with her own personal best score. “We were seeing the scores go up on the board, going further and further ahead of Russia and I suddenly thought: oh my gosh, we’re going to get this.”

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Aug 05

A nation united: America’s best team up in Rio to ease the tumult at home

USA are favored to top the medal chart – and for 17 days we will be reminded that what brings us together is stronger than what threatens to pull us apart

Back home a nation is riven. The specter of terrorism, both global and domestic, is the new normal. Elected officials stand by as their constituents are poisoned while police carry out shootings in the street. A bitterly contentious presidential election, one that’s increasingly come to reflect the battleground for America’s soul, careens into the championship rounds. Fear is winning.

Related: Rio 2016: top American Olympic shooter Kim Rhode attacks gun-control laws

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