Russian gymnast won gold after blowing out Achilles


Insider 26 July, 2021 - 11:21am 32 views

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The 25-year-old Russian gymnast helped lead the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) to a gold medal in the taut men's team gymnastics final on Monday, and a devastating injury that usually puts athletes out commission for almost a year couldn't stop him. 

Dalaloyan is only three months removed from suffering a torn Achilles' tendon, which required surgery in April. However, he fought his way back from the injury in just three months, unheard of among athletes, to win gold in Tokyo.

"After an injury like this, I appreciate the work I did even more," Dalaloyan said after the event. "Now I know that all that work was not for nothing. This medal is absolutely priceless."

Dalaoyan suffered the injury while training for the European Championships in April and required surgery. The healing can take as little as six to eight weeks, but it needs additional time to allow the muscles to regain their normal strength, according to Surgery only extends that wait time.

It is also common for the muscles to never fully return to pre-injury form. 

In Dalaloyan's case, the injury was so severe that he initially planned not to go to the Tokyo Olympics shortly after his surgery.

"I didn't plan to compete," Dalaloyan said after the first round on Saturday. "Then, I had a meeting with the team and my coach. I felt the strength and power to compete and decided to compete."

Russian gymnastics officials insisted Dalaloyan would join the team in Tokyo back in May. Then in June, he was back on the floor competing at Russian Cup, where he only did four events and couldn't dismount, but it was the first step toward claiming one of the most unexpected gold medals at this year's Olympics. 

Still, Dalaloyan wasn't entirely sure he'd even compete in the week leading up to this event. 

Dalaloyan planned not to do floor or vault, and after podium training Wednesday, he wasn't sure he'd compete at all. 

But he appeared on the floor for the opening round on Saturday and claimed the fourth-best score with an 85.957. After his performance, he was seen sobbing in his hands due to the emotional weight of the comeback. 

"I couldn't control my emotions," he said after the performance on Saturday. "I was kind of proud I could make it, I could come to this point and do all the exercises all the way I really wanted to. The other part of me felt disappointment in a sense because I understand I could not do all the exercises perfectly."

Dalaloyan and his teammates then put together a historic performance on Monday in the final with a total score of 262.500 to edge out China, which scored 261.894 for the gold medal. It is the first gold medal claimed by Russian gymnasts in a men's artistic gymnastics team event since 1996.

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U.S. women's gymnastics looks to capture third consecutive team gold

KSBY San Luis Obispo News 31 December, 1969 - 06:00pm

A clean slate awaits the U.S. women's artistic gymnastics team after an unusually shaky performance in qualifications resulted in the gold medal favorites qualifying in second behind the Russian Olympic Committee.

Led by Simone Biles, the four gymnasts will get a fresh start in the team final, as all of their scores from the first day of competition are erased. Though the team  — which also includes Sunisa Lee, Jordan Chiles and Grace McCallum  — trailed the ROC by over a point after qualifications, the probability of extending the gold medal streak that began at the London Games is high if the gymnasts can shake off the nerves that caused errors on balance beam and overly-bouncy landings on floor exercise. 

Jade Carey and MyKayla Skinner will not participate in the team final due to being classified as individual specialists. Carey, like Biles and Lee, will have a shot at individual medals during event finals that occur after the team competition. 

Team USA will begin the competition on vault, an event that is typically one of its strengths, before rotating with the ROC to uneven bars, beam and floor. 

SEE MORE: Gymnastics 101: Scoring

Russian Angelina Melnikova is one to watch on multiple events, and all four gymnasts representing ROC placed in the top six on the uneven bars in qualifications. The team's difficulty scores on floor are slightly lower than the  Americans', but the Russians proved this isn't necessarily an obstacle on the path to team gold. 

China is favored to win bronze in the team final, and its position on the podium didn't appear to be challenged during qualifications. France currently sits in fourth and trails China by over two points. The team's performance on the balance beam during qualifications was particularly impressive, as Guan Chenchen and Tang Xijing posted scores of 14.933 and 14.333, respectively, to go 1-2 on the event. 

Japan is not considered a medal favorite, but the home team is still worth watching because of veteran Mai Murakami. She won gold on floor at the 2017 World Championships and snuck into that event final by nabbing the eighth-place spot. 

The women's team final will air at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

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Olympics: Japan wins silver in men's team gymnastics - The Mainichi

The Mainichi 26 July, 2021 - 10:10pm

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Defending champion Japan took silver in men's team gymnastics at the Tokyo Olympics on Monday, finishing just 0.103 point behind the Russian Olympic Committee team.

Japan's team of Daiki Hashimoto, Kazuma Kaya, Takeru Kitazono and Wataru Tanigawa earned a six-apparatus total of 262.397 points at Ariake Gymnastics Centre to finish on the podium for the fifth straight Olympics.

Russian gymnasts won the event for the first time in six Olympics, while China scored 261.894 to take the bronze in the eight-team final.

"I feel like I am still in a dream. I am really enjoying it, and I don't want this to end," Kaya said after the victory ceremony. "Of course, there is disappointment, but I think we were able as a team to do as well as we possibly could."

Japan trailed the Russians and the Chinese after the fifth apparatus rotation, but the team of four Olympic debutants moved one spot up the rankings with solid performances in the horizontal bar by Kaya and Kitazono, before Hashimoto nailed a flawless routine.

Hashimoto, the reigning national champion, earned the highest score of all competing gymnasts in the horizontal bar, putting Japan in reach for the gold medal, but Russian Nikita Nagornyy extended the lead with a solid routine on the floor.

"I was the last one performing for Japan, and (my teammates) performed without making mistakes. So I was only thinking about putting out a flawless routine, no matter what color medal we got," the 19-year-old Hashimoto said.

"I think 0.1 point is a big difference," he said, adding that his eyes are already set on 2024 Olympics in Paris.

The Russian gymnasts, competing under a neutral flag, lead throughout the event held without general spectators.

In the parallel bars, Japan's fifth and penultimate apparatus, Kaya, a reserve member at the Rio Games, executed a clean routine, his dynamic performance allowing the host country's team to close on China.

Kitazono, an 18-year-old five-time gold medalist at the 2018 Youth Olympics, also pulled off an error-free routine and pumped his fist following his clean landing.

He sustained an elbow fracture and ligament injury after a fall from the horizontal bar at April's national championships, but qualified for the Olympics last month.

At the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, Kohei Uchimura, a two-time individual all-around gold medalist, led the team to the top of the podium for the first time since the 2004 Games.

Uchimura, 32, qualified for the Tokyo Games as a horizontal bar specialist, but slipped during Saturday's qualification and did not advance to the finals.

Japan's women, led by Mai Murakami, have qualified for Tuesday's eight-team women's final.

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