When the Unites States' men's gymnastics team finished first during the qualifying round, there were high hopes the US men could come away with a gold medal. Not only did that not happen, but the United States came away without a medal, finishing a disappointing fifth.
"There's definitely disappointment,'' US captain Jonathan Horton said, according to the Associated Press. "We are one of the best teams in the world.''
The US team got off to a rocky start, finishing seventh on the pommel horse and found themselves in last place at one point during the competition. They moved back into contention on the rings, but any chance for a medal vanished with the vault when John Orozco stumbled on his landing and fell.
Asked what happened, Orozco simply said, "I fell on my butt."
While the United States faltered, the Chinese team thrived, repeating as Olympic champions. Nine of the Chinese team's 18 scores were 15.6 or higher. To put that impressive feat in context, consider that Japan and Great Britain, the teams that finished second and third, combined for nine 15.6 or higher scores.
"Our rivals were not necessarily stronger than in previous years,'' Zhang Chenglong said, "so we kept a cool mind.'
The Great Britain team finished a surprising third, taking home the bronze medal for the host country.
"To win a medal in your home games, I'll take that any day,'' Kristian Thomas said. Louis Smith agreed, saying, "It's a beautiful day for the sport of British gymnastics.''