Japan wins men's team gold

Kohei Uchimura and his Japanese teammates ended China's eight-year reign as Olympic men's gymnastics champions at the Rio Games as they won the gold medal with a total of 274.094 points on Monday.

Japan's gymnastics team celebrates after clinching the gold medal.   -  Reuters

There was no stopping Kohei Uchimura and his band of Japanese team-mates from flashing the V-signs on Monday as even a fall from the pommel horse could not stop them running off with the men's gymnastics team title at the Rio Olympics.

Four years after Uchimura's botched dismount from the same block of wood almost denied Japan a team medal at the London Games, it seemed as if their pommel horse curse had struck again when Koi Yamamuro lost his grip and rolled off the apparatus.

But, unlike four years ago when they ended up with silver behind China, Yamamuro's score of 13.900 was their only blip as they put in a commanding performance on the remaining five pieces of apparatus to run away with the gold with a total of 274.094.

In a sport where fractions decide titles, Japan's total was 2.641 points more than surprise silver medallist Russia, while China's failure to stick their landings meant their eight-year Olympic reign was over long before the final rotation started.

China, top in qualifying, were in danger of missing out on the medals completely when stumbles and falls on the vault, rings and floor exercise left them trailing in fifth place with two rotations to go. But they surged back with a strong showing in the parallel bars to claim bronze with a total of 271.122.

For all Uchimura's success, the men's Olympic team gold was the one major medal from missing from his vast collection, which includes the 2012 all around title, a record six successive world all around golds and the 2015 world team crown.

On Monday, as he stood side-by-side with teary-eyed 2012 London Games survivors Yamamuro, Ryohei Kato, Yusuke Tanaka and new kid on the block Kenzo Shirai, there was no mistaking where they stood on the Olympic totem-pole as they held aloft their index fingers to confirm their standing in men's gymnastics.

Britain, the United States, Brazil, Germany and Ukraine completed the standings in the final.