Chinese men take gold at world team finals

It was a masterful performance, a clinic in how gymnastics should be performed.

And for the Chinese men’s team, who dominated the world team finals, winning over Japan by more than four points, it was only the dress rehersal.

The stage has been set for Beijing; there, the greatest teams in the world will be trying to catch what is far and away the greatest team in the world, which will be competing on its own turf.

Not an easy predicament by any means.

 Yang Wei and the rest of the Chinese men's team has set the standard for gymnastics in Beijing.

There isn’t too much too much to say about the Chinese men that hasn’t already been said. Every team member except one scored above a 16 on something during the team final, the high coming appropriately from Yang Wei’s 16.525 vault. 

Closer to the Games, people may begin to have greater doubts about whether the Chinese won’t succumb to the pressure of Olympic competition, as they have at times in the past. But for the moment, all should enjoy the beauty of their accomplishment, and relish the praise that comes with it.

The Japanese men turned in a highly respectable performance for second place. Hisashi Mizutori put in almost a full day of work, competing on all events but parallel bars. The German team, boosted by a home crowd that sings and claps, took the bronze medal, and the U.S. sustained falls on high bar from Sasha Artemev and newly anointed national champion and team leader David Durante to finish fourth.

Japan's Hisashi Mizutori

Romania, despite finishing in eighth place, displayed three of the best vaults in the competition and scored a whopping team total of 48.850 (Daniel Popescu tied Wei’s 16.525) on that event. If there was a world team championship just for vaulting, Romania would have it locked up.

With this result, the U.S. can carry on as though Aarhus never happened, although no one is ever going to let them forget that 13th place finish in 2006. The team seems to be back where it was before 2006 — among the best in the world, but never the best. Always the bridesmaids, right guys?

Their highlight was Sean Golden, who posted the team’s highest score by registering a 16.1 on vault. Golden is one of those guys who has hung around on the national team for a few years but has yet to really make a mark, but he may have signalled here that his time begins now. With a team berth to Beijing in its pocket and a Hamm brothers return on the horizon, there’s no telling what this team could be capable of next year.

Complete results of the men’s competition can be found here.

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