Nikita Nagornyy, who was huddled together with the rest Russian men’s gymnastics teams, looked at the scoreboard and waited.

We waited.

We waited.

The group representing the Russian Olympic Committee thought it was a matter of time, even though it was just a few seconds.

It was.

The Russians have been retaking the Olympic medal stand for the past quarter century. Japan. China. The United States.

You can do it all.

The score for Nagornyy’s floor routine flashed at 14.600. This was enough to pass Japan and get into first place. The reigning world champion burst into tears, joy, and joyful shouts in praise of his country.

Nagornyy stated, “Everyone here should get this medal.” “I knew we would win from the beginning and now we have confirmed it.”

It’s not enough.

Russia’s total team of 262.500 was less than Japan’s 262.397 or China’s 261.8934. After the third rotation, the Russians led the way. However, their grip on gold seemed fragile when Abliazin broke the floor exercise bounds. Three months after surgery, Dalaloyan competed on a left Achilles tendon that was heavily taped.

Rising Japanese star Daiki hashimoto hit a 15.1 on the high bar to pass China and slip into first. Russia’s hopes for gold were crushed by Nagornyy who was born five months prior to the 1996 Olympic team’s triumph in Atlanta. He had to abandon his first routine after an early wobble. He was able to improvise brilliantly and venge a five-year-old loss to Japan in Brazil.

Abliazin was a member of the 2016 Olympic team along with Nagornyy, Belyavskiy. “Now, we are already stronger. It was proven again at the 2019 world championships.

It didn’t matter that the Russian flag or the national anthem were not part of this ceremony, as part of the International Olympic Committee’s penalty for doping in the country. The fact that the gold was not part of the ceremony didn’t affect the feeling they had with the medals around their necks. Or the validation that the performance brought to a team that is now one of the best in the world.

Abliazin stated, “To beat Japan at home is a great achievement.” “I believe we can do more.”

If they are healthy, they might just be able to do it. Dalaloyan was better two days after he cried at the end qualifying. He dismounted on his vault, with his feet seemingly suctioned to the mat.

He was able to recover from his floor routine’s momentum and get onto the blue-carpet.

Dalaloyan stated that the emotions covered all my pain. “So, I feel amazing. The feelings of victory and receiving the medal are incredible. Although we started calmly, there was tension at the end. It turned into a passionate affair.”

After the 19-year old Hashimoto, Japan’s heir apparent and two-time Olympic champion Kohei Uchimura, set a high bar for the Japanese, the Japanese could feel their passion. The Ariake Gymnastics Centre was mostly empty as their cheers could be heard. For a few moments, it seemed that it might be enough for both the Chinese or the Russians to win.

Hashimoto did not go that far.

He said, “I knew that I wasn’t performing alone.” “I wanted it to be done for everybody else. It’s exhilarating. When I was done, I felt very content. I didn’t even think about the color of my medal. “I knew that I had delivered.”

Silver, but not quite gold. Although Hashimoto admitted to feeling disappointed by the outcome, he quickly pointed out that the Russians won and the Japanese did not lose. However, there are likely to be other opportunities for teams whose members all have 25-year-olds or younger.

Tanigawa stated, “Come Paris. We are determined to go for gold.”

It is expected to remain tight throughout. Japan captured gold in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. In 2018, Russia was beaten by China, and the positions were flipped a year later. These margins have been razor-thin all along. This is unlikely to change.

Great Britain was fourth. The U.S. seemed poised to finish fourth, but a messy floor exercise during the final rotation was the only problem in an otherwise strong meet for the Americans. This was Sam Mikulak’s last meet before retirement.

Mikulak spoke highly of his teammates Yul Moldauer, Shane Wiskus and Brody Malone. It was amazing to see these first-timers shine like that. Team USA has a bright future.