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HISTORY BOYS.. Gymnastics five end 100 year wait for team medal.

Byline: LAURIE HANNA

FIVE young Brits pommelled highly-fancied USA and Russia... to win our first men's gymnastics team medal for 100 years.

Louis Smith, 23, Dan Purvis, 21, Sam Oldham, 19, Max Whitlock, 19, and Kristian Thomas, 23, put in stunning performances to earn bronze.

They almost got their hands on silver in the artistic gymnastics team category - but Japan snatched second place after a successful appeal.

Proud team captain Louis said: "We'd have been happy with anything, to get a medal is unbelievable."

It was the first GB men's team gymnastics medal since a bronze in Stockholm 1912. Kristian, from Wolverhampton, was the top performer.

He said: "It was just fantastic to do it in front of a home crowd."

The unfancied Brits came within an inch of second at North Greenwich Arena with 271.711 after their skills on the floor, rings, bars, vault and pommel horse. The crowd booed as the judges decided Japan had been marked too low and elevated them.

Ukraine dropped to fourth. Gym powerhouses USA and Russia were fifth and sixth. China took gold.

Louis and the team had been cheered on by Princes William and Harry, who dashed to watch them after supporting cousin Zara Phillips in eventing.

Louis' proud mum Elaine, 47, said: "I can't believe they would be interested in watching. I'm honoured. The team deserve this, they're heroes."

Elaine said there would be no huge celebration for Louis, of Peterborough, Cambs, because he is aiming for gold in the individual pommel horse on Sunday. He won bronze in the same event in Beijing four years ago.

She said: "He'll be with the team and they'll celebrate but it'll be low key."

Elaine, sitting near the Daily Mirror in the arena, said she was praying as her son clocked up the top score of 15.966 points on the pommel horse yesterday. She said: "I always say a little prayer, just asking to give Louis strength to do what he does."

When her boy dismounted, she breathed a sigh of relief and said: "Go Louis! I'm the proudest mum in Britain. I feel so much better now.

"He'll feel much better too, he just looked so confident."

Elaine also wore her son's Team GB scarf, saying she hoped it would bring him and the team good luck.

Thankfully for us all, it worked.

1912 2012skipper

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Brits thrill on pommel horses in Stockholm Louis Smith, centre, and gym heroes
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 31, 2012
Words:410
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