Rio Rundown Day 5: Men's All-Around Final



RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Kohei Uchimura's gold-medal haul keeps growing.

The superstar gymnast from Japan won the men's all-around title on Wednesday night, edging Ukranian Oleg Verniaiev by less than a tenth of the point to capture his second straight Olympic gold. Uchimura trailed heading into the final rotation but put up a dazzling 15.8 on high bar. Verniaiev followed with a less challenging routine and hopped forward on the dismount.

Needing 14.9 to win, Verniaiev instead earned a 14.8. The crowd groaned when the score was revealed, though Verniaiev shrugged his shoulders as if to say "what can you do?"

Uchimura finished with a total of 92.365, just ahead of Verniaiev's 92.266.

Max Whitlock of Great Britain was third, just ahead of Russia's David Belyavskiy. American Sam Mikulak recovered from a fall on vault to rally to seventh. Chris Brooks was 14th.

Uchimura arrived in Rio as the overwhelming favorite to back up the all-around gold he won in London four years ago. Yet the six-time world champion said repeatedly his ultimate goal was a team gold for Japan. He got that triumphant moment on Monday night, when he guided the Japanese to the top of the podium for the first time since 2004 with a nearly flawless finishing kick on floor exercise.

The 27-year-old was visibly gassed when he completed his routine, a victory he said was set in motion when his team won the world title last fall. It offered proof to the judges the Japanese could come through when it mattered.

While Uchimura was exulting in triumph, Verniaiev was basically just warming up. Ukraine qualified for the team final but wasn't able to field a full team when Maksym Semiankiv couldn't participate in the finals due to injury. Read more on that here.

Verniaiev shrugged off the decision, saying it gave him freedom to just go out and have fun. It also allowed him to move his focus toward the all-around.

He looked well prepared, taking the lead through two rotations and answering every time it seemed Uchimura threw down a challenge. When Uchimura drilled a 15.566 on vault — the highest of the night on the event — Verniaiev responded with a 15.500. His superb 16.1 on parallel bars — his legs straight as pencils during his handstands — gave him a commanding lead going into the final event on high bar.

Yet Uchimura, the world champion on high bar, put on a spectacular show. He threw four difficult release moves, his body soaring over the bar before catching it just in time. Verniaiev took a slightly different tact. Knowing what he needed to win Ukraine's first ever all-around Olympic gold in the sport, he put together an easier and less risky routine.

When he landed, he took a hop forward and leaned ever so briefly to the left. He pumped his fist and encouraged the crowd as he exited the podium, then bent over in disappointment afterward.

Mikulak and Brooks, hoping to take some of the sting out of another fifth-place finish in the team event, couldn't match the bronze in the all-around teammate Danell Leyva captured in London. Brooks, the 29-year-old captain, hit all six of his sets without a major mistake to end a remarkable run in which he came from nowhere to make his first Olympic team.

Mikulak, a four-time national champion, was hoping to make an international splash but saw his hopes of reaching the podium end when he shorted his vault landing during his third rotation.

By Will Graves

Photo of the Day

Kohei Uchimura means business.

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Lineups and Predictions

The women's all-around final is tomorrow, August 11, at 3 pm ET. The top 24 finishers from the qualification round have advanced to the final.

Our podium prediction is:
1. Simone Biles
2. Aly Raisman
3. Aliya Mustafina

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