U.S. swimming sensation Ryan Lochte may have dominated the early headlines, but on Day 3 of the 2012 London Summer Games all eyes were on the O2 Arena and NBC’s prime time coverage of the men’s team gymnastics final, and the prospect of the fierce, fresh-faced American heartthrobs going for the gold.
Alas, the Wheaties box will have to wait. Because the moment of Day 3 didn’t involve American’s Dannel Leyva, John Orozco and company at all – they stumbled badly to finish a distant fifth – but a dramatic, last-gasp appeal from Japan that ultimately snatched the silver away from a stunned British team (and an equally gobsmacked hometown crowd, including Princes William and Harry), who were bumped to the bronze.
Here’s how in went down. After the very last routine of the night — featuring Japanese star Kohei Uchimura’s unusually wobbly dismount on pommel horse — British fans erupted into cheers and celebrations as it appeared their lads had grabbed a historic silver medal. But Japan issued a “formal inquiry” into Uchimura’s score — and bedlam ensued. For what seemed like hours, all eyes were riveted to the giant screen, waiting for the judges to review (and possibly update) their score.
After a 5-minute deliberation, officials increased Uchimura’s score by 0.7, not only dousing Britain’s hopes of a historic silver, but also demoting the Ukraine — who had also already started celebrating the prospect of landing a team medal – off the podium altogether, to fourth place. Amidst all the confusion and heartbreak and tears, I almost forgot that China had already predictably waltzed to the gold medal!
What was your favorite moment of Day Two? Was it French swimmer Yannick Agnel’s second consecutive, ego-crushing defeat of Lochte, this time to win gold in the 200 meter freestyle? Or 17-year-old American Missy Franklin’s first career gold in the 100-meter backstroke? Leave your comments! –Mitch Rustad