ATHENS – Japanese gymnast Hiroyuki Tomita pulled off a nearly flawless routine on the parallel bars to win the silver medal and compatriot Isao Yoneda took bronze with a clean performance spoiled only by a small dismount error on the horizontal bar at the Athens Olympics on Monday night.
his way to earning a silver medal.
Tomita, who helped the men’s team win its first gymnastics Olympic gold medal in 28 years a week ago with clutch performances, was the first up among eight parallel bars finalists and neatly did his releases and turns and nailed his dismount to earn 9.775 points at Olympic Indoor Hall.
“I wanted to go one higher, but I was able to win a medal so I think it was a good way to wrap up my Olympics,” said Tomita, who ended in fourth and eighth places on the rings and pommel horse on Sunday after settling for sixth in the individual all-around final Wednesday.
“I knew the competition would come down to good landings, and I’m glad I was able to nail mine,” the world all-around bronze medalist said. “I had a really enjoyable competition here and produced some good results too, so this is going to be a memory that will last a lifetime.”
The mood was contrasting for countryman Daisuke Nakano, who finished fifth with 9.762 after a daring program featuring a “Tsukahara” dismount — a double back-flip with a full twist that is often used on the horizontal bar and vault in varying forms but rarely seen on parallel bars.
“I think my performance was the best one today. I’m satisfied with it,” said Nakano, apparently upset with the low scoring despite his challenging routine. “Now, I really don’t know what I have to do to win.”
Ukraine’s Valeri Goncharov was the only gymnast able to surpass Tomita with a dynamic presentation that scored 9.787. Li Xiaopeng, the 2000 Sydney Olympic champion and two-time defending world titlist, was one of four gymnasts who received 9.762 and won the bronze on the tiebreaker rule.
In the last event of the gymnastics competition in Athens, Yoneda, also the first to perform, had a well-balanced routine on the horizontal bar with clean release tricks and turns, but took a step back to keep standing on his dismount to receive 9.787.
“I was really frustrated with my performance in the all-around,” said Yoneda, who fell while performing on the horizontal bar in Wednesday’s all-around final and ended in 11th place. “I moved a little on the landing, but everything else was perfect.”
Nakano, likely unable to get over his disappointment on the parallel bars, had an aggressive but sloppy routine and fell on his dismount landing to finish ninth with 8.750 in an expanded field of 10 men as the tiebreaker rule could not decide the eighth qualifier.
Italy’s Igor Cassina won the gold and American Paul Hamm the silver after both scored 9.812.