A resounding applause from a chorus of British supporters filled the London Arena yesterday as the hometown heroes from England’s men’s gymnastics team made their way to the medal stand for the first time since 1912.
According to most analysts, this was unexpected. China and the United States were considered to be among the world’s elite, and as expected, Japan made its way into the final three. An upset indeed, but to the citizens of the United Kingdom it was nothing other than a joyous occasion.
When the time came to stand on the podium it didn’t matter that China took gold and it didn’t matter that Japan took silver. By the time the British gymnasts bowed their heads to receive their bronze medals, nothing else mattered.
Not since the reign of King George V has the United Kingdom’s finest stood in the triumvirate of men’s gymnastics. On Monday, their third place finish wiped clean the dregs of a century’s worth of early exits and middle finishes. On their home soil, this team marked its place in history.
Although the finish was lauded as a national feat, it was not without controversy.
They were originally marked as the second place finishers but after an appeal from Japan, after what was eventually reconsidered to be a false ruling on a dismount attempt, they were moved from silver to bronze.
At the time, it was heartbreaking for them. The disappointment showed on their faces and the boos rained down on the officials from the fans in red and blue. Despite the successful appeal, all was not in vain. The drought had ended and the celebration began.
A disappointment, sure, but after representing Great Britain on the medal stand for the first time since the Titanic sank, they were all smiles. Pride had been restored.
It is said that rules are meant to be broken. After Monday’s upset, it would appear that streaks are as well. Let this be a lesson to Cubs fans that hope still exists.
The Good In Sports salutes Great Britain and their men’s gymnastics team on a job well done.