TOKYO — Nikita Nagornyy huddled with the remainder of the Russian men’s gymnastics team, stared astatine the scoreboard and waited.
What successful world was lone a fewer moments seemed similar everlastingly to the radical representing the Russian Olympic Committee.
In a mode it was.
For a quarter-century, the Russians had ceded the apical of the medal basal astatine the Olympics to rivals. Japan. China. The United States.
When the people for Nagornyy’s level regular yet flashed — 14.600, conscionable capable to descent past Japan and into archetypal — the reigning satellite champion erupted successful joy, tears and gleeful shouts of his country’s name.
“Everyone present deserves this medal,” Nagornyy said. “I knew we’d triumph each on and we conscionable confirmed it.”
Russia’s squad full of 262.500 was conscionable up of Japan’s 262.397 and China’s 261.8934. The Russians took the pb aft the 3rd rotation, though their grasp connected golden appeared tenuous erstwhile Abliazin stepped retired of bounds connected level exercise. Dalaloyan, competing connected a heavy taped near Achilles tendon conscionable 3 months removed from surgery, bounded retired of bounds too.
Rising Japanese prima Daiki Hashimoto drilled a 15.1 connected precocious barroom to gaffe by China into first. Russia’s hopes of golden fell to Nagornyy, who was calved conscionable 5 months earlier the 1996 Olympic squad triumphed successful Atlanta. An aboriginal wobble forced him to scrub his archetypal routine. He improvised brilliantly, avenging a nonaccomplishment to Japan successful Brazil 5 years ago.
“At the Olympics successful Rio, we were weaker than the Japanese,” said Abliazin, who was connected the 2016 squad alongside Nagornyy and Belyavskiy. “Now we are already stronger. We proved it astatine the satellite championships (in 2019) and proved it again.”
The information the Russian emblem and the country’s nationalist anthem weren’t portion of the ceremonial — portion of the International Olympic Committee’s punishment for doping problems successful the state — hardly mattered. It didn’t alteration the mode the golden felt hanging astir their necks. Or the validation the show provided for a squad that is present the champion successful the world.
“To bushed Japan astatine their location is simply a large result,” Abliazin said. “I deliberation we tin bash adjacent more.”
They conscionable mightiness if they tin get healthy. Two days aft sobbing astatine the extremity of qualifying, Dalaloyan pushed speech the ache successful his limb and was possibly adjacent better. He stuck the dismount connected his vault, his feet seemingly suction-cupped to the mat.
Even though the momentum from a tumbling walk during his level regular carried him onto the bluish carpet, helium recovered to station a 14.066, captious during a conscionable wherever each hundredth of a constituent counted.
“The emotions covered each the symptom I felt,” Dalaloyan said. “So I consciousness fantastic. The emotions of the triumph and the medal are great. We started calmly, but determination were nerves astatine the end. It became precise passionate.”
The passionateness could beryllium felt successful the roar of the Japanese aft the 19-year-old Hashimoto — Japan’s heir evident to two-time Olympic champion Kohei Uchimura — delivered a nervy precocious barroom set. Their cheers echoed passim the mostly bare Ariake Gymnastics Centre, and for a fewer minutes, it appeared it mightiness beryllium capable to flooded some the Chinese and the Russians.
Hashimoto didn’t fto himself spell rather that far.
“I knew I wasn’t performing by myself,” helium said. “I wanted to bash it for everyone else. I’m exhilarated. I was precise blessed erstwhile I was done. I didn’t adjacent see the colour of the medal. I conscionable knew I had delivered.”
Silver, but not rather gold. While admitting a tinge of disappointment successful the last result, Hashimoto was speedy to constituent retired the Japanese didn’t suffer truthful overmuch arsenic the Russians won. Other opportunities, however, apt await for a squad whose members are each 25 oregon younger.
“Come Paris, we are acceptable connected going for gold,” Tanigawa said.
It figures to beryllium choky each the mode through. Japan captured golden successful Rio de Janeiro successful 2016. The Chinese edged Russia for a satellite rubric successful 2018, past flipped positions a twelvemonth later. The margins person been razor bladed each the way. That’s not apt to change.
Great Britain came successful fourth. The U.S. appeared poised to travel successful 4th earlier a messy level workout successful the last rotation, the lone existent mistake successful an different coagulated conscionable for the Americans successful three-time Olympian Sam Mikulak’s last conscionable earlier retiring.
“Throughout this full acquisition these guys were stone solid,” Mikulak said of teammates Shane Wiskus, Yul Moldauer and Brody Malone. “Just truly chill to spot these first-timers spell retired and radiance similar that. We truly person a beardown aboriginal for Team USA.”