posted on Aug, 17 2004 @ 12:29 PM
ATHENS, Aug 16 (Reuters) - Japan revived memories of their glorious gymnastics past when they upstaged favourites China and the United States to
snatch the Olympic men's team gold for the first time in 28 years on Monday.
A consistent performance on all six apparatus helped Japan to sneak ahead of early trailblazers the U.S. and take the title with a total of 173.821,
just 0.888 of a point ahead of the second placed Americans.
Romania, who had led going into the final round, had to settle for bronze after their title bid came crashing down on the horizontal bar.
Defending champions China paid the price for a stumbling start on the floor exercise and trailed in fifth place.
Japan won the last of their five successive men's team golds in 1976 when the great Mitsuo Tsukahara was among their ranks.
On Monday, it was his son Naoya who proudly showed off his team gold at the Olympic Indoor Hall after the Japanese class of 2004 finally ended years
of frustration to claim the ultimate prize in men's gymnastics.
Man of the moment Hiroyuki Tomita, who grabbed the gold with the final routine of the day, said: "This was our first gold in many years but we didn't
think about that, we focused on opening a new page for a new Japan."
Having set the standard for the finals by qualifying ahead of favourites China and the United States, Japan's title hopes had initially appeared to be