- 2016 Rio Summer Olympics games: Gold bars for Verniaiev and Hambuechen in men’s gymnastics
Gold bars for Verniaiev and Hambuechen in men’s gymnastics
At the Rio Olympic Arena on 16 August Ukrainian Oleg Verniaiev made up for narrowly missing out on the men’s all-around title, by clinching gold in the parallel bars, while Germany’s Fabian Hambuechen took gold in the horizontal bars at the fourth time of asking.
Verniaiev, who came agonisingly close to ending the all-around reign of Japan's Kohei Uchimura before missing out on the title by just 0.099 of a point, finally got his hands on a gold as he won the men’s parallel bars competition with a total of 16.041.
He beat the USA’s Danell Leyva by 0.141 of a point, while Russia's David Belyavskiy took the bronze. Travelling end-to-end along the bars, the Ukrainian conjured up an impressive series of handstands. Such was the difficulty packed into his routine that he managed to breach the 16-point barrier, despite his legs wobbling noticeably on one of the handstands.
Once he nailed his dismount, he fell into the arms of his delighted coach, confident he had delivered Ukraine’s first gold of Rio 2016. “I'm extremely happy. I'm delighted,” he purred after the final results were confirmed.
“At long last, I've brought the first gold medal to my country, Ukraine. I thank my team, I thank my fellow athletes who came from the different sports to cheer for me. I still cannot relax. I'm so thrilled.
Leyva, who was a late addition to the US team for Rio 2016 was thrilled with his performance and the result. “Incredible, honestly. A dream come true,” he enthused. “Nobody had the perfect day but I feel like this was as close to perfect as I possibly could have done. I'm incredibly happy. You have to believe within yourself that you can do more than what people expect.”
And he was full of praise for the gold medal winner: “He definitely deserved that medal. He did a phenomenal routine,” said Leyva of his Ukrainian opponent. “He's like my brother, man. We've known each other for a long time. We're super close and it's incredibly humbling to see each other have success like that. I was incredibly happy.”