China won the Olympic men’s team gymnastics gold medal, extending its lead in the medal standings over the U.S. in London.
Japan won a protest to push host Britain into third place.
The Chinese team scored 275.997 points in the six-part final yesterday at North Greenwich Arena. That beat Japan with 271.952 and Britain with 271.711.
“I knew we were going to win it because in qualifications we didn’t do very well,” said China’s Yibing Chen, who won two gold medals in Beijing.
It was the third team gold in the event for China in the past four Olympics and sixth total medal. The team won gold four years ago in Beijing. The Chinese team is composed of Zhe Feng, 24; Chenglong Zhang, 23; Weiyang Guo, 24; Kai Zou, 24; and Chen, 27.
The U.S., which qualified first, finished after Ukraine in fifth at 269.952 and out of the medals in the event for the first time since the 2000 games. Russia was sixth.
“I told the guys after the first day that we need to stay humble,” U.S. team captain Jonathan Horton, 26, told reporters. “We still have a lot of gymnastics to go. It’s a young team and we’re just going to learn from this. We’re going to learn to handle that kind of expectation four years from now.”
China and the U.S. each have 17 medals at the games in London. China has nine golds, while the U.S. has five. It was the second bronze medal for the host nation and their first in the men’s team event since the Stockholm Games in 1912.
Japan had originally placed fourth and was awarded second after a successful inquiry into the country’s performance on the pommel horse in the final round. Koji Uchimura had his score upgraded to 14.166 from 13.466. The superior jury raised his difficulty score after deciding that credit had to be given for his dismount.
“The crowd booed. We said to each other that they shouldn’t boo,” British team captain Louis Smith, 23, said after the medal ceremony. “We’re standing here as the third best team in the world. It’s crazy, can you believe it?”
China’s victory extends the U.S men’s gold medal drought in the event to 28 years, since the Los Angeles Games in 1984.