Max Whitlock won Great Britain’s first individual men’s all-around gymnastics medal since 1908, producing a stunning series of performances to take bronze.
The 23-year-old, who won bronze in both the team event and pommel horse at London 2012, put in top-five performances on four of the six rotations, including laying down the best pommel run of the competition.
Six-time world champion Kohei Uchimura (Japan) produced by far the highest score on the high bar, his final apparatus, with his 15.800 enough to push long-time leader Oleg Verniaiev (Ukraine) into the silver medal place.
Walter Tysal was the last British man to medal in the event 108 years ago in London, winning silver, but Whitlock produced a great floor routine to clinch the 2016 bronze.
“Getting all six pieces right is very hard and there was a lot of pressure coming into today but I had to take it step by step. Before every piece I thought I had to go for it and that’s what I did,” Whitlock said after picking up his medal.
“Out in the arena I don’t look at anything, so I don’t know how anyone else is doing. That’s why it was such an anxious wait at the end. I was first up on floor, which meant I had to wait a whole rotation and see big scores come through.”
Team GB teammate Nile Wilson also shone in the final, finishing eighth overall, with outstanding performances on the rings (14.993) and parallel bars (15.700) propelling him up the leaderboard throughout the final.
“This is the pinnacle of gymnastics. For someone to have the highest score on every piece of apparatus – there’s nothing that beats that,” Wilson said. “Obviously you get specialists on individual apparatus but all-around is the one I’ve focussed on since I was a boy. It’s the medal I want to win.”
Whitlock’s bronze was Team GB’s sixth medal of a remarkable Wednesday at Rio 2016 and the gymnast from Hertfordshire predicted a great atmosphere in the athletes’ village.
“That Team GB have won more medals today makes it even better. We are very strong, we’re such a big team, and hopefully we can go back to the village and everyone be proud of our achievements today,” he said.