Continuing the series of flashbacks to the 2016 Olympic Games by IG correspondent John Crumlish, who was a gymnastics sports writer for the Olympic News Service in Rio.
Jake Dalton (United States) on rings in Rio
Jake Dalton of the U.S. was hopeful for a medal in Rio, but his experience as a member of the fifth-place U.S. team at the London Games four years ago tempered his aspirations with a useful reality check.
"I've learned not to expect coming away a medalist," said Dalton, who also placed fifth on floor exercise in London. "I went into London expecting to come away with a medal because I knew how good we were. This time I think we're an even better team, but I'm not expecting a medal. I'm just expecting us to go and do our job."
Dalton said the parity among the top teams made for a level playing field in Rio.
"Everybody else who comes here is prepared and ready to go, as well," he said. "So you have to go out and do your job, and do the gymnastics you've been training to do, and the outcome is going to be the outcome."
In the end, Dalton and his teammates performed with results that were nearly identical to those they attained in 2012. The U.S. placed fifth in the team final, where they were 2.562 points shy of the bronze medal-winning Chinese team. Dalton went on to place sixth in the floor exercise final, where he was 0.300 points behind bronze medalist Arthur Mariano of Brazil.
Dalton's pre-competition perspective, however, was an admirable combination of enthusiasm, wisdom and practicality.
"We've done everything we can to be as prepared as possible," he said. "We've been here before. We have a lot more experience (than in London). We 'get' each other. That's a big factor that allows us to take a breath a little bit. But we want to be on the podium, and we want to do well. We're here to our job and we're ready to go."
The September 2016 issue of International Gymnast magazine is a special issue devoted to reports, photos, quotes and results of the Rio Olympic Games. The October 2016 issue features continued coverage of the Games, including many more behind-the-scenes quotes, notes and anecdotes. To subscribe to the print and/or digital edition, or order back issues, click here.