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British gymnasts take silver and bronze

August 5, 2012 18:04 pm

Gymnast Louis Smith has won silver in the Olympic pommel horse final on a tie-break with gold medallist Krisztian Berki as fellow Briton Max Whitlock claimed bronze.

Smith, the 2008 Olympic bronze medallist, was the last to perform on the apparatus and watched as his arch-rival, Hungary's double world champion Berki, posted a score of 16.066.

Smith stepped up for his routine to thunderous applause from the home crowd and matched Berki's score, but lost out on claiming Britain's first Olympic gymnastics gold medal due to a lower execution score.

Whitlock finished in bronze medal position after scoring 15.600 with his routine.

France's world silver medallist Cyril Tommasone was the first to compete and produced a smooth routine until he stalled on his final skill to score 15.141. Italy's Alberto Busnari produced a flare-filled performance to move into the lead before Hungary's Vid Hidvegi came off the horse, ending his medal hopes.

Britain's Whitlock was up next, tipped as an outside medal hope in the shadow of favourite Smith, and produced an amazing performance which a huge execution score to amass 15.600. It moved the 19-year-old into the lead ahead of the next man up, favourite Berki.

Berki, the reigning world champion and six-time European champion, produced his signature stylish routine to throw down the gauntlet to Smith, scoring a huge 16.066 to power into gold medal position.

Ukraine's Vitalii Nakonechnyi went clean before Russian David Belyavskiy moved into sixth place, assuring Whitlock of a medal. The stage was then set for Smith, who had to decide which of his routines to perform in light of Berki's massive score.

The 23-year-old soaked up the pressure from the crowd as the last man up to nail his routine to rapturous applause. The entire arena waited for Smith's score to flash up on the screen and he was awarded 16.066 - the same score as Berki, but the Briton lost out for gold in an agonising tie-break as Berki's execution score was marginally higher.

Smith had increased his difficulty level by a tenth, but Berki's extra style was enough to edge out his rival and claim his first Olympic title.

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