The U.S. men's gymnastics team is the leader after two subdivisions at the 2012 Olympics, besting traditional powerhouse nations China and Japan, who both struggled on the first day of competition.
The American men totaled 275.342, nearly three points ahead of second-place Great Britain (272.420), who achieved an exciting upset over China earlier in the day. Japan (270.503) and China (269.985) performed with less energy and more errors than the top two, looking unusually off in their gymnastics.
France (265.759), Italy (262.085) and South Korea (255.327) round out the seven teams which have competed so far. The top eight teams will advance to the team final on Monday, with Spain, Ukraine, Romania, Germany and Russia still ahead in the final subdivision.
Danell Levya of the U.S. leads the all around (91.265), just ahead of teammate John Orozco (90.597). Three-time defending World All Around Champion Kohei Uchimura of Japan struggled, falling from high bar in the first rotation and then falling apart on pommel horse later on (12.466). Despite his errors, Uchimura still managed a fourth-place all around standing, a testament to his high D-scores and execution across the board.
Leyva and Orozco helped the U.S. to get off to a solid start on its weakest apparatus, the pommel horse. Leyva scored a high 14.866, which currently sits him in seventh place on the event, and Orozco was not far behind (14.766). While the Americans showed good focus on pommels, Japan saw three gymnasts fall from the high bar in the first rotation.
The Americans led Japan, 43.965-43.766, after the first rotation.
The U.S. moved to rings and continued to perform well, with Jake Dalton leading off with a 15.1. Jonathan Horton topped that mark and currently is ranked sixth on the apparatus with a score of 15.166. Japan gave a nice showing on floor, with Uchimura scoring a huge 15.766 (effortless 3 1/2 twist-punch front 1/2 mount).
But Japan again came unraveled on the pommel horse, while the U.S. hit vault. Sam Mikulak hit two difficult vaults (Kasamatsu double full; handspring double front) to average 16.083, and likely advance to the event final. The Americans took the lead after the third rotation and never looked back.
Parallel bars was not the strong event it usually is for the U.S. and team leader Jonathan Horton toppled off at the start of the rotation (13.133). Orozco also hit some rough spots (14.533) and reigning World Champion Danell Leyva could only muster a 15.333, eliminating his chance to defend his title at the Olympics.
High bar went better for the Americans, capped off by stellar routines from Horton and Leyva. Horton caught his Cassina release (which has given him trouble all week) as well as several other high-flying release moves. His only hiccup came on the dismount, as he lost form at the end of his laid out double-double (15.566). Leyva was even better, scoring 15.866 for third place on the event.
On their final event, the floor exercise, the U.S. men ended in style, putting up four hit routines that scored above the 15.0 mark. Jake Dalton put himself in good position to make the event final with a tidy and dynamic performance that earned a 15.633.
After the weak start, Japan came roaring back on its final events, vault and parallel bars. Brothers Yusuke and Kazuhito Tanaka are currently 1-2 on p-bars, scoring 15.866 and 15.725. And on vault, Uchimura nailed a 2 1/2-twisting Yurchenko to score 16.033.
Several individual athletes gave noteworthy performances, including Chile's Tomas Gonzalez Sepulveda, who wowed the audience on vault and floor exercise with his power and personality. His 15.533 (FX) and 16.149 (VT) put him in good position to advance to event finals.
Israel's Alexander Shatilov is tied with Dalton for third on floor, performing a beautiful routine that opened with a stunning tucked double-double. Shatilov has amazing lightness in his tumbling and is a medal contender in event finals.
World Pommel Horse Champion Krisztian Berki didn't give his best performance, but still managed a 15.033 on the event. He sits in fifth, with a spot in event finals not yet guaranteed.
On rings, Italy's Matteo Morandi (15.766) and Brazil's Arthur Zanetti (15.616) showed incredible control in their strength positions and will surely compete for medals in the finals.
Zanetti's teammate and former World Champion on floor exercise Diego Hypolito was visibly disappointed after falling during his floor routine, eliminating him from the floor exercise picture. Hypolito managed to make the final in 2008, but fell and missed out on a medal.
The third and final men's subdivision gets underway at 3 p.m. ET.
For full results, click HERE.