High-flying Zonderland soars to high bar gold

  • Netherlands' Epke Zonderland competes in the men's gymnastics horizontal bar final in the North Greenwich Arena during the London 2012 Olympic Games August 7, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Blake

  • Netherlands' Epke Zonderland celebrates winning a gold medal in the men's gymnastics horizontal bar victory ceremony during the London 2012 Olympic Games August 7, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Blake

LONDON: Epke Zonderland of the Netherlands produced a spectacular horizontal high bar routine to claim Olympic gold in the men's final and earn a standing ovation at the North Greenwich Arena on Tuesday.

Zonderland's display gave him a huge score of 16.533, to leave Germany's Fabian Hambuchen with the silver medal and defending champion Zou Kai of China with bronze.

The Dutchman's routine contained a sequence of three consecutive releases -- a Cassina, a Kovacs and a Kolman -- that brought the crowd to their feet and earned him congratulatory embraces from both Zou and Hambuchen.

It made him the Netherlands' first Olympic gymnastics gold medalist since the Dutch women's team prevailed in the team event on home soil in 1928.

A high-quality final saw China's Zhang Chenglong set the early pace with a score of 16.266, less than two hours after he came off the apparatus in the parallel bars final.

Zou was bidding to retain his title from Beijing four years ago and claim his sixth Olympic gold medal, and he replaced Zhang at the top of the scoreboard with a routine that gave him a mark of 16.366.

Hambuchen, who took bronze in Beijing, went even better, delighting the arena with a high-octane routine and punching the air with his fist after a perfect dismount.

The German's score of 16.400 looked good enough for gold, but 26-year-old Zonderland outstripped all of his rivals with a gravity-defying display of agility that ended his country's 84-year wait for Olympic gymnastics gold.





Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus



Interested in knowing more about this story?

Click here