By Steve Keating TOKYO (Reuters) -Favourite Max Whitlock retained his pommel horse title for Britain on Sunday to secure his sixth Olympic medal, as Artem Dolgopyat won the men’s floor exercise to give Israel only its second ever Olympic gold and first in gymnastics. In a day of surprises at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre, Rebeca […]
Olympics-Gymnastics-Floor gold for Dolgopyat as Israel breaks duck
By Steve Keating
TOKYO (Reuters) -Favourite Max Whitlock retained his pommel horse title for Britain on Sunday to secure his sixth Olympic medal, as Artem Dolgopyat won the men’s floor exercise to give Israel only its second ever Olympic gold and first in gymnastics.
In a day of surprises at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre, Rebeca Andrade took advantage of American Simone Biles’s absence to win the vault, becoming the first female Brazilian gymnast to take gold.
Belgian Nina Derwael also scored a first, winning the uneven bars to become the first women from her country to win Olympic gymnastic gold.
Dolgopyat, twice a world silver medallist on the floor, was congratulated by his Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, after upgrading to gold by a whisker.
He posted a score of 14.933, the same as Spain’s Rayderley Zapata. But the Israeli took top spot on the podium because his routine had a higher degree of difficulty.
“How we waited to see the Israeli flag raised,” tweeted Bennett, who later called the 24-year-old in the mixed zone.
“It means a lot to me. I’ve been dreaming about it since I was six years old. I’m really happy that I was able to do it and give my country the best gift,” said Dolgopyat after taking his country’s first Olympic title since 2024, when they won a sailing gold.
It was business as usual on the pommel horse, however, where Whitlock retained his 2016 Rio title ahead of Lee Chih Kai of Taiwan.
The first man onto the apparatus, Whitlock threw down the gauntlet posting a score of 15.583 that no one would beat Lee taking the silver and Japan’s Kazuma Kaya the bronze.
It was the third gold and sixth Olympic medal for the 28-year-old Britain.
Brazil’s Andrade, a surprise silver medallist in the all-around competition, pulled off another shock in the women’s vault.
She posted a winning total of 15.083 while American Mykayla Skinner – stepping in for reigning Olympic and world champion team mate Biles. who dropped out over mental health issues – grabbed silver.
The competition was once again missing its star attraction as American Biles scratched from both the uneven bars and vault finals.
Biles, 24, has not been seen in competition since dropping out of the team event on Tuesday after just one vault saying later that she was wrestling with mental health issues and a crisis of confidence.
But she was in the Ariake arena on Sunday cheering on Skinner, who grabbed an unlikely medal in what is likely her final ever Olympic competition.
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Tokyo; editing by John Stonestreet)