Olympic Bulletin - Day One (2008) - British Gymnastics

Olympic Bulletin - Day One (2008)

dan_keatings_08_002.jpg Louis and Dan both make finals! 

With the Men’s qualifications completed Great Britain has demonstrated a brilliant result. Louis Smith has qualified for the top 8 Pommel final in 5th position with 15.325. Daniel Keatings has qualified for the top 24 all around Final but lost out on the Pommels final being 8th man equal and dropping to reserve on countback.




The Olympic Games Beijing

The First Day Of Competition

fireworks_lg.jpgThe Opening show is in full swing but the Olympic party must be interrupted for the Olympic Competition.

For the 196 competitors, 98 men and 98 women, Beijing is the Competition of all Competitions. Nothing else comes anywhere close. To carry the title of OLYMPIAN is a mark of universal respect. It is the sporting equivalent of a Knighthood, an honour that separates those who did and those who didn’t.

It has been widely thought that the Chinese Olympics will be a showcase for Chinese sport and in Artistic Gymnastics this is more so. Indeed it may not be a case of “who will win Gold” but “who will win Silver”. The Chinese have shown in every training session a mastery of the sport that is beyond all comprehension, so difficult, so perfect and so certain.

For the Women, the USA may be the only challengers for the team title after China. With 2 World Champions  (all around) in their team, Chellsie Memmel 2005 and Shawn Johnson 2007, they are the reigning World Team Champions just beating China in 2007.

USA’s Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson will be sure to push Jiang Yuyuan of China for the all around title but there are some choice individuals who may also contend for the supreme title.

For the Men there is only a remote chance that anyone will get even close to China for either the Team or Individual titles all around or on any apparatus. Will we see China with every title?

Men's Qualifications

louis_smith_08_000.jpg First Session

The USA appeared in the opening session minus their star turn Paul Hamm the reigning Olympic Champion. They set the pace with 365.2 and 91.65 from Jonathan Horton.

With a 90% full house Daniel Keatings and Louis Smith set about qualifying for the Pommel Horse finals.

Louis Smith
Vault straight Kazamatsu full twist 15.375
Parallel Bars. 13.425
High Bar. Healy to elgrip, straight Markelov, straight Tkachev, giant hop full, double straight full. 14.175 from 5.5 difficulty.
Floor. Double twist, flairs through handstand and 2 1/2 dismount, a little shaky in places, 13.7

POMMEL HORSE. Lost some form through the Wu section but with difficulty 16.5 he scored 15.325.

Rings, 13.325

A sound all around and a fantastic pommels score, 15.325.

louissmith_08_001.jpg“I am really happy with everything” Louis said, “I had a bad moment on pommels, I felt I was a little off balance and so the straddle helped me pick up swing, a deduction but with 15.325 I am well pleased”

Daniel Keatings.
Vault. Kazamutsu full twist 15.625
Parallel Bars. Undersomersault, back giant, undersomersault straddle, Healy, front somersault straddle, double pike, 14.9 diff 5.8
High Bar. Straight Markelov, Healy to elgrip, elgrip Endo, double double dismount. 14.575.
Floor. Full in back out, 1 1/2 straight 1 1/2, flair spindle to HS to flair R3, double twist, 2 1/2 dismount. 14.9 with 5.9 difficulty.

POMMEL HORSE. Shear half, flop, triple Russian between handles, double spindle, Wu to R3, Magyar, Shivado, dismount double across 3 zones. 15.175 from 16.2

Rings, 13.775

 A great all around performance ranking 5th in the first session with 88.95 and a real potential for a pommels final.  

 “The Olympic Games is so special,” said Dan afterwards. “I have given 14 years for this one day. I am happy that I went 6 for 6 and I am very pleased with my competition today. I missed a combination on pommels that lowered my difficulty by 3 tenths to 6.2 but 15.175 is a good score and its all a waiting game now. Lets see what everyone else can do”.

Can Great Britain qualify 2 men for Pommels final?

Coach Paul hall was very pleased and positive about the result and the scores. “The boys have done exceptionally well, so young and able to compete at this level, amazing. Most important they can rise to the occasion even with Olympic nerves. The great fear now is that the scores edge up during the next 2 sessions, its always a worry. I am confident we are on the way to a final”.

Second Session

The presence of Japan, China and Russia brought the stadium up to 100% capacity and 10,000% volume

The question at pommels; could China  put 2 into the pommels final? A stupid question really. The clarity of swing, fine form and immense difficulty were altogether nuclear against bows and arrows. Yang Wei 16.00 from 16.4, where did they find 4 tenths to deduct? The judges must be wearing microscopes. China found 3 scores above the British boys (but can only use 2) and from Croatia, Philipe Ude made 15.475. So Louis and Dan dip to 4th and 5th with one session left. Germany, Korea and a few good horse workers still to go but 4th and 5th are looking good to stay inside the top 8.

China were superb and come out of the second session safe at the top by 5+ points.
Japan were excellent, holding second place.  At High Bar, Uchimura, a new dimension with Kovacs piked, Kovacs tucked with a stunning kick out and then Kovacs full with double double sticking firmly.

The Russian Federation, even though they were looking very heads down a lot of the time finished in third place ahead of the USA.

Third Session

With the Men’s qualifications completed Great Britain has demonstrated a brilliant result. Louis Smith has qualified for the top 8 Pommel final in 5th position with 15.325. Daniel Keatings has qualified for the top 24 all around Final but lost out on the Pommels final being 8th man equal and dropping to reserve on countback.

British Gymnastics congratulates Daniel, Louis and coach Paul Hall on a spectacular result.

The boys now take a days rest then begin their preparations for their next appearances.

The Team Finals will be China, Japan, Russia, Korea, Germany, USA, France, and Romania.

In the last session no one could come anywhere near the Chinese effort.

GERMANY. This is nation who have worked and planned hard for a medal. With biceps armoured at Parallel bars, Hambuechen made 5 double backs, difficulty 6.9 score 15.05.

ROMANIA. Dragalescu, Floor and Vault superb, Roche half and Yurchenko double twist average 16.762. Is there a diamond medal?

KOREA. A team who have brought the appreciative crowd to their feet and their hearts. At times wild but always very exciting to watch.

Sunday will bring the British Women into the arena with every promise of more outstanding results.

Report Trevor Low/Linda Gore

Photos c/o Brett Draper 

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