- 2016 Rio Summer Olympics games: Hambuechen ends quest for horizontal bar gold
Hambuechen ends quest for horizontal bar gold
Germany's Fabian Hambuechen soared past his rivals with a heart-stopping routine to win gold on the men’s horizontal bar.
The 28-year-old, who was appearing at his fourth Olympic Games, and who won bronze in 2008 and silver in 2012, finally ended his long wait for the top prize with a score of 15.766. The USA’s Danell Leyva picked up his second silver of the day following his second place finish on the parallel bars, while Nile Wilson took the bronze – a first ever medal for a British gymnast on the apparatus.
The German was the first of the eight finalists to mount the bar and he showed no fear as he pulled off four high-flying release-and-catch moves. Two full twisting somersaults over the bar - a Cassina followed by a Kolman - were the highlights of a routine that ended with the German winding his arms backwards to steady his feet on dismount.
He then faced a nervous wait to see if any of the other seven finalists could surpass his score. Nobody could. “It’s a great story, but should be the other way around, starting with gold, then silver, then bronze. That is something I could imagine,” mused Hambuechen. “I need some time to realise what happened today.
“Before the Games I said this was going to be my last competition. I’m now going to retire, and to finish like that is a dream come true, it was the only medal that wasn't mine, until now. I came to Rio to enjoy my fourth Olympic Games, to have a great finish of my career, and then I made it to the high bar final, which was already a great achievement."
Defending champion Epke Zonderland of the Netherlands saw his hopes of back-to-back golds ended when he came off the apparatus midway through his routine, and he finished seventh out of eight finalists.