Whitlock, Biles, Mustafina Headline First Day of Apparatus Finals
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Max Whitlock grabbed two golds, Simone Biles won her first major vault title, and Aliya Mustafina successfully defended her 2012 Olympic crown on the uneven bars. But that's only part of the story, which included plenty of tears, a few upsets and two reasons for the Rio crowd to cheer.

Men's Floor Exercise

Kohei Uchimura competed first and continued his Rio trend of failing to stick his landings on floor, and that's where the deductions add up. He also went out of bounds after his second pass and posted an anemic 15.241.

Brazil's favorite son Diego Hypolito followed with an inspired routine highlighted by an Arabian double front to front-full. His landings were solid, if not stuck, and the scream he emitted after his triple twist dismount was one of pride and relief (15.533). Now he just had to wait for six more competitors to bump him out of first.

Max Whitlock did just that, matching Hypolito's 6.8 D-score with an extra tenth in E-score for a 15.633 (3.5 twist to barani). He failed to stick his landings as well, so the first guy to do so would probably take the lead.

Kristian Thomas hit a strong routine but it had only 6.2 of difficulty (15.058). That's when the unexpected happened.

Brazil's Arthur Mariano hit the routine of his life at just the right moment. It included a clean double full-in pike and a tucked full-in dismount for 15.433/6.7. He sat in second place, 0.10 behind his teammate, knowing that the defending world champion was still to go as well as the top two floor routines from qualifications.

American Jake Dalton, seeded second from qualifications with a 15.600, went next but his first two passes ended with 0.30 hops instead the 0.10 variety. He notched a 15.133.

Surely, Kenzo Shirai, with his 7.6 D-score, would shake up the rankings. Pretty much everyone had conceded the floor title to him anyway. Well, even a two-time world champion can have a bad day. Shirai saved two near falls, scored 7.766 in execution and was humbled by a 15.366.

Top qualifier Sam Mikulak, who posted a 15.800 in prelims, performed last, with the gold medal — or any medal — sitting on a silver platter. Seventy seconds later, he posted a last-place 14.333 that included a low landing on his 2.5 twist to double front, an out-of-bounds penalty on his second pass and various poor landings on his other skills.

Whitlock became the first British gymnast to win a gold medal in gymnastics, and Hypolito and Mariano grabbed silver and bronze, respectively, to claim Brazil's first Olympic gymnastics medals.

Men's Pommel Horse

Cyril Tommasone of France got things going with a clean set with 6.9 of D-score for a 15.600. Russia's David Belyavsky followed with 0.30 less in difficulty and it showed in his score of 15.400.

American Alex Naddour (6.8 D-score) was next and hit his best routine on the event in Rio and was rewarded with a 15.700. Finally, something positive for the U.S. men. Oleg Vernyayev followed and missed a scissor handstand early in his set and jumped off the horse. He also missed his dismount, scoring a 12.400.

Great Britain's Louis Smith followed and did not risk the routine he attempted (and missed) in the team final. He stuck with his 6.9 set and hit it well to take over the top spot with 15.833, pushing Naddour to second.

Harutyun Merdinyan of Armenia, a bronze medalist at the 2015 Worlds, followed with an ambitious routine, only to miss the pirouette in his flair handstand dismount (14.933).

Max Whitlock, who had defeated Louis by 0.10 at the last Worlds, used a 7.2 D-score to edge his teammate with a 15.966. His routine included a mid-routine flair handstand pirouette after which he had a knee bend, but the rest was clean and secure.

Russia's Nikolai Kuksenkov was last up but he fell to the wrong side of the horse on his dismount (15.233).

Whitlock was now the first British gymnast to win two gold medals.

Women's Vault

The order of competitors might have forced the hand of some gymnasts, with Simone Biles last to compete. And with her technical superiority and consistency on both her Amanar and Cheng Fei vaults, a few others took risks.

First-up Hong Un Jong of North Korea was one of them. She opened with a decent Cheng Fei and followed with a triple-twisting Yurchenko, or at least an attempt at it. She landed a quarter turn short and sat down for an average score of 14.900.

Canada's Shallon Olsen followed with an Amanar (stumble forward) and tucked Cheng vault for a 14.816 average.

Uzbekistan's Oksana Chusovitina, 41, gamely attempted a Produnova (handspring-double front), which landed in a deep squat and bounced her into a forward roll. She had no choice in the matter, such was the momentum upon landing (14.933). She followed with a Tsukahara-double twist but stepped out of bounds. Her average was 14.833.

China's Wang Yan vaulted a strong Tsukahara-double twist and a clean handspring-rudi for an average of 14.999, which pushed Hong down to second.

Switzerland's Giulia Steingruber followed and set a new standard for the vault final. She opened with a high handspring-rudi and followed with a clean Yurchenko-double twist to surge into first place (15.216).

Dipa Karmakar, the first Indian women to compete in Olympic gymnastics, and now the first to make an event final, opened with a Tsukhara-double twist and followed with her Produnova. She landed in a deep squat on the latter, but popped right up with only a small hop. Her first vault earned a 14.866, the second a 15.266. Her 15.066 placed her in second with two vaulters remaining: the defending world champion and the best gymnast in the world.

2015 world champ Maria Paseka opened with a Cheng, which she stuck, almost by accident, with her left foot over the line (15.266). Her Amanar landed low and scored 15.241, but she took the lead with 15.253. For about five minutes.

Biles averaged 15.966 for her dynamic Amanar (tiny hop, 15.900) and Cheng (tiny hop, 16.033) to win her third gold of the Games. She is the first American woman to win vault at the Olympics, and Steingruber's is the first Swiss woman to medal at the Olympics.

Women's Uneven Bars

Jessica Lopez, 30, of Venezuela began the bars final with an intricate set with a 6.7 D-score, but form breaks kept her score at a 15.333. She was pleased, nonetheless, and rightly so.

2012 Olympic champion Gabby Douglas followed and missed her first skill, an inside Stalder to full pirouette. She made the first half but had to straddle down to avoid jumping off (15.066). It was the first time she missed bars since the P&G Championships in St. Louis.

Defending Olympic bars champ Aliya Mustafina swung through an efficient set (6.8 D-score; Shaposhnikova, Pak, Maloney-half) and ended with a half-in, full-out (small step) for leading 15.900.

Defending co-world champion Madison Kocian was next and answered with a 6.7 D-score, and even though she stuck her half-in, half-out, she scored 15.833. The disappointment registered in her face.

Sophie Scheder, one of two Germans in the bars final, grabbed the third-place position with a 6.6 D-score (inside Stalder piked Tkatchev) and a 15.566.

China's Shang Chunsong was next and swung a huge free hip to piked Tkatchev and notched only a 15.433 (6.7).

Russia's Daria Spiridonova, one of the four bars champions from 2015, became the only gymnast to fall when she missed her Maloney-half (13.966).

That left only Elisabeth Seitz, Scheder's teammate, to upset the current standings. Her routine included a Ricna and piked Ricna, and a small step on her half-in, half-out for a fourth-place 15.333 (6.6).

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