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Gymnastics at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Games

2016 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games


Host City: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Date Started: August 6, 2016
Date Finished: August 16, 2016
Events: 14

Participants: 196 (98 men and 98 women) from 60 countries
Youngest Participant: BEL Senna Deriks (15 years, 221 days)
Oldest Participant: UZB Oksana Chusovitina (41 years, 50 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): USA Simone Biles (5 medals)
Most Medals (Country): USA United States (12 medals)


China and Russia topped the medal table at London 2012 with 12 medals each, but since then China has remained dominant, whilst Japan re-emerged as a force to be reckoned with in men’s gymnastics. In women’s gymnastics, however, the one nation that stood head and shoulders above the rest was the United States. Amidst their ranks they had [Simone Biles], the brightest star in the sport and, despite Rio being her Olympic début, because she was too young in 2012, she was being hailed as the next “Greatest Gymnast of all time”. She was expected to have a clean sweep of all six gold medals, but a disappointing 14th placing in the uneven bars meant she would contest only three of the four individual pieces of apparatus. Unfortunately, she was not immortalised as the first woman to win five gold medals at one Games because she could only add two individual apparatus golds to the team and individual all-round titles, to give her a record-equalling four gold medals, joining such illustrious company as [Larysa Latynina], [Ágnes Keleti], [Vêra Čáslavská] and [Ecaterina Szabo]. One athlete who got more than he bargained for in Rio was Japanese gymnast [Kohei Uchimura], the 2012 all-round champion, and World Champion in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Hooked on the latest phenomenon Pokemon Go, the Japanese gymnast ran up data roaming charges of over $5,000 whilst in Rio.

[Oksana Chusovitina], at the age of 41, became the oldest female gymnast in Olympic history and in a 25-year-career this was her seventh Olympics, dating back to Barcelona 1992. The mother of a teenage son, she represented Uzbekistan in 2016 but has also represented the Unified Team in 1992, Uzbekistan in 1996, 2000 and 2004 and Germany at the 2008 and 2012 Games, before reverting to her country of birth for the Rio Games.

The artistic gymnastics events took place over nine days at the Rio Olympic Arena, which also staged all rhythmic gymnastics and trampoline competitions. The 12,000-seater capacity arena, updated for the Rio Games, was built for the 2007 Pan American Games. Originally called the Rio Olympic Arena, it was changed to simply the Rio Arena after the Pan-Am Games and following corporate sponsorship in 2008 from HSBC it became known as the HSBC Centre but, because of Olympic rules regarding corporate names on stadiums, it reverted to its original name for the 2016 Olympics. Many big names from the world of music like Queen, Iron Maiden and Miley Cyrus have performed in the Arena, which has also hosted an official NBA game.

The 2016 Games would see the end of the Chinese domination that had placed them on top of the medal table at the last two Olympics, as they finished 13th out of 14 and without a single gold medal in Rio. The United States won the most medals, 12, and the most golds, four, thanks to Biles and her team-mates in the women’s events. Great Britain emerged as a top gymnastics nation after so long in the shadows of the Japanese, Russians, Chinese and Hungarians, and they finished second to the USA in the medal table with two gold, two silver and three bronze for a total of seven medals, which was as many as they had won in total between 1896-2012.