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US men falter, place fifth in team gymnastics final
by Tribune Staff
Jul 30, 2012 | 1503 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
After the United States men’s gymnastics team was named following the U.S. Olympic trials, many said that the squad could be the first to come away from the Games with gold medals hanging around their necks in the men’s team competition since the 1984 Summer Olympics. Those hopes were given life on Saturday as the Americans finished first in team qualifying. Unfortunately for Team USA and its supporters, all that was left after Monday’s final were questions of what could have been and what went wrong.

As the results were revealed, Danelle Leyva sat down and draped a towel over his head to hide his tears from the throng of cameras surrounding him at North Greenwich Arena in London. The rest of his teammates stared on in dejection as Spanish Springs High graduate Jake Dalton and Team USA placed 5th with 269.952 points in the men’s gymnastics team final. China (275.997) took the gold medal, while Japan (271.952) and Great Britain (271.711) reached the podium for silver and bronze, respectively.

The day started off a little shaky for the Red, White and Blue in its first event with the floor routine. Dalton scored a 15.466, the highest of the three American participants, but a few small miscues and hops left the U.S. in fifth place after one event.

Things slowly progressed worse from there.

A fall from Leyva on the pommel horse, followed by John Orozco taking a seat on the same apparatus put the United States into 7th out of eight nations. After performing on the rings, which Dalton tallied a 15.033 on, the U.S. was left staring up from last place and an eight-point deficit at first-place China.

The nightmare for Team USA only got more dreadful on its next apparatus. On the vault, Orozco (14.6) took a seat on his landing with his attempt before Sam Mikulak (15.956) took a big step to the side and Dalton (16.066) stepped over the line with their respective attempts. Through four events, the U.S. was in 6th place, four points off the podium.

America tried to crawl its way back into the medals, but the margin proved too daunting as it finished fifth overall following strong performances on the parallel bars and high bar. Although they were unable to grab a medal in the team competition, Team USA members may still bring home some hardware in individual competitions, including Dalton, who will compete in the individual floor exercise which is set for Sunday.

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