While Great British fans cheered with delight as their men’s gymnastics team claimed a medal, there was confusion befalling all others at the North Greenwich Arena, where all of the 2012 London Olympics’ gymnastics are staged.
China shot to gold and were assured of their place at the top, but, following a staggered dismount by world champion Kohei Uchimura at the pommel horse, the places stood with Great Britain in the silver position and Ukraine overtaking the likes of the USA, Germany and the bewildered Japanese.
Justifiably, the Ukrainians jumped with delight, but just as the Eastern Europeans finished hugging and the British fans stopped hollering, it was shown on the overhead displays that Japan had appealed the decision.
Uchimura put in a solid display, scissoring and spinning with steady precision, but was heftily penalized for landing with little balance and finishing in a manner more ungainly than would be expected of a champion.
Shown video replays, the judges quickly backtracked and reinstated Japan to the silver medal position, bumping Britain down to fourth and rewarding the Ukrainians with nothing.
In the end the fairest decision was made, but the Ukrainians will be hurting after their charges were handed Olympic glory, only to have it wrested from them again.
For Team GB, this represents an historic advancement, with their men enjoying a medal for the first time in 100 years and for the first time since gymnastics took on its modern, more explosive form.
Buoyed by this display, perhaps some of Team GB’s individuals can challenge for honors in the individual events. Much attention will certainly fall on Louis Smith during the pommel horse final, on the 5th of August.