It was an odd day of gymnastics, as favorites faltered and unknown gymnasts stepped up. Kohei Uchimura, the defending, three-time world champion in the all-around, fell on the high bar and pommel horse. Jonathan Horton, the lone returner from the U.S. bronze-medal-winning team, fell on pommel horse and parallel bars. The prelims allow one dropped score per rotation, but China had to count some of its worst scores on pommel horse because so many gymnasts stumbled.
But the U.S. took the lead with steady performances, even on the events where it had previously struggled. Orozco, Leyva and Sam Mikulak all hit their pommel horse routines. They also brought in big numbers on their best events. The U.S. scored a 48 on vault and a 46.498 on the high bar.
[ Photos: Witness the spectacle of the Opening Ceremony ]
With the home crowd behind them, the British gymnasts earned second place while battling the Chinese in the first subdivision. Louis Smith's 15.8 on pommel horse and three scores over 16 on vault powered the team.
Something to keep in mind is these scores are thrown out after the prelims. The first round is used to qualify teams for the team final, and individuals for the all-around and event finals. China and Japan could rebound and oust the U.S. from the podium. However, their surprisingly bad start didn't help inspire confidence in the gymnasts who seemed invincible.
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- John Orozco
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