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Brilliant bronze for Smith and Team GB

Great Britain's Louis Smith competes on the pommel horse during the Artistic Gymnastics team final at the North Greenwich Arena, London, on the third day of the London 2012 Olympics.  Anthony Devlin/PA Wire.

Great Britain's Louis Smith competes on the pommel horse during the Artistic Gymnastics team final at the North Greenwich Arena, London, on the third day of the London 2012 Olympics. Anthony Devlin/PA Wire.

 

Louis Smith claimed a sensational bronze medal as Great Britain made gymnastics history on Monday (30 July).

Smith captained the GB men’s team to a fine third-placed finish in the men’s team final amid unforgettable and controversial scenes at the North Greenwich Arena.

Britain went into their final piece of apparatus – the floor – in fourth spot but produced a storming finish to roar into second.

Japan, who had sat second, dropped to fourth after enduring a nightmare on the pommel horse while Ukraine held onto third on the rings.

But Japan quickly slapped in a protest over the marks given to one of their gymnast’s dismounts from the pommel.

The Far East nation’s challenge was successful and their score was boosted enough to send them back above the Brits into second.

Smith had helped give Great Britain a tremendous start by delivering a flawless pommel horse routine to earn a score of 15.966 – his best-ever return in a major international competition.

That was Smith’s only contribution to the cause in an event where three gymnasts are required to compete on all six pieces of apparatus.

Team-mates Kristian Thomas, Daniel Purvis, Max Whitlock and Sam Oldham completed the work on the other five pieces.

Great Britain were in contention for a medal throughout but Sam Oldham’s spill from the high bar looked like it may prove costly.

They went into their final round on the floor 0.248 points behind Ukraine but Whitlock, Purvis and Thomas all excelled as the Brits roared into the medal positions.

They initially thought they had snatched silver until the post-competition shenanigans saw them move back to bronze - Great Britain’s first Olympic men’s gymnastics team medal since 1912.

China roared to glory just 48 hours after being pipped by Great Britain in their qualification sub-division.

It was a second Olympic medal for Smith after his individual pommel bronze in Beijing four years ago.

He now turns his attention to bettering that effort in the pommel final on Sunday (5 August).

The 23 year-old – a bronze medallist in Beijing four years ago - will start as one of the favourites after achieving the highest mark in qualifying.

Watch: Louis Smith’s pommel horse routine - BBC Sport

Scores: Men’s gymnastics team final

1. China 275.997,

2. Japan 271.952,

3. Team GB 271.711,

4. Ukraine 271.526,

5. USA 269.952,

6. Russia 269.603,

7. Germany 268.019,

8. France 265.441.

 

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