One of the distinguished hopes for an Olympics on Japanese soil was to allow the greatest male gymnast of all time, Kohei Uchimura, to receive a victorious farewell at night on home soil. That dream died cruelly at its speed. Falling into his solitary routine in the qualifying round. But during the former three days of competition, a unused young hope talent emerged to take his place on the spot.
In his stead, Daiki Hashimoto rose to become the men’s Olympic all-around champion at just 19 years old and following a tight final in which he topped the top three by 0.4 points.
The teenager scored 88,465 goals to outlast Chinese gymnast Xiao Ruoteng and the man he had just topped in the team final, Nikita Nagorny of the Russian Olympic Committee, to take his place at the heart of the sport.
With Hashimoto’s boom, Great Britain enjoyed a mixed day. James Hall put in six solid actions, the consistency he witnessed during the qualifying rounds and the six events he also contributed to during the team final proved to be his eighth, his highest combined position in a major competition globally.
In the process, he felt that he had proven the suspicions mistaken. “Maybe these were just the voices in my head,” he said, “but today I was competent to prove to myself and the people back home that I belong here.” “I’m happy with my performance and that’s the main thing.”
While Joe Fraser finished in a solid 9th, he fought through the parts prior finally redeeming himself. “I’m going to preserve this forever now,” Hall said. “He has done amazingly, he has made two mistakes but he is the coming of British gymnastics. He is incredible. He doesn’t have a weak piece, all he needs is consistency. He is 22, he has time and I am excited to see what he brings.”
There is no doubt that Fraser has the potential to become the best gymnast in all respects. He has already demonstrated his potential in two days of stratospheric competitions in Tokyo. He competent fifth behind gymnasts from the sport’s three superpowers – Japan, the Republic of China and China – allowing him to experience rotating throughout the final with the best. Then, in the team’s final, he cemented Great Britain to fourth place.
This time, Fraser’s top five hopes on only the second machine faded as he lost momentum on the pommel horse and fell, scoring 13,300. Then he fought on his grave, took several big steps forward and was punished with 13,100. But perhaps his spirit was further reflected in how he finished, as he put together a solid routine on his favorite parallel bars prior breaking out with a stunning horizontal bar routine.
“I’ve made some mistakes along the way, this is gymnastics, mistakes happen and I take it on my chin and try to improve on moving to the next machine,” Fraser said. “I tried to put on a show at a lofty level, so getting through this routine was distinguished, it’s my first time doing this routine in competition. So to do it on the biggest stage in the world, I’m very happy about it.”
There is still a chance of a powerful finish. Fraser competent for the parallelbar final, the machine in which he became world champion in 2019. “I am excited about the parallelbar final, I have six days to rest, recover and prepare for the final. All the world’s top bars are fighting over the parallelbar so I can’t wait.”
In the United States and many other Western countries, gymnasts usually arrest more of the public imagination than men. But in Japan, men’s gymnastics is much healthier.
Their belief was rewarded by Hashimoto’s overall gold medal meaning Japan now has an unbroken streak of three Olympic overall titles following Uchimura’s double in 2012 and 2016. When inevitably asked about the old legend, which Hashimoto naturally cites as his idol, he said He coldly credited the former while looking to the coming: “Although I want to succeed what Oshimura has built in the final decades in gymnastics, I want to be a next-generation gymnast in Japan.”