Gymnastics: Tears and cheers as Zanetti and Hypolito shine

Sat Aug 6, 2016 8:39pm EDT
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By Pritha Sarkar

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - There was plenty of chest thumping and free flowing tears on Saturday as Olympic champion Arthur Zanetti and his band of Brazilian brothers produced the performance of their lives to reach the men's team gymnastics final on their Games debut.

A nation that had never fielded a full team at the Olympics before Saturday showed what the fans had been missing as they fueled a carnival atmosphere in the arena with their pumped up celebrations each time they nailed a routine.

As Brazil's first and only Olympic gymnastics champion, rings specialist Zanetti spent the last four years being a poster boy for the Rio Games and he was the man everyone wanted to see on Saturday.

In his only performance of the day, he maintained straight bodylines as he lifted himself into a succession of strength moves -- such as the inverted cross, the Maltese maneuver and the handstand -- in a routine packed with high difficulty.

It was just a shame that his performance was in front of rows and rows of empty red seats as barely three thousand fans had been able to gain entry into the 13,200-capacity arena by the time he mounted the rings with the chants of "Zanettti, Zanetti, Zanetti" ringing in his ears.

Many fans were left fuming because by the time they had been allowed in, Zanetti was done for the day.

"I don’t believe it. It's absurd, ridiculous. What I most wanted to see was Zanetti on the rings," Natalia Carvalho told Reuters after discovering she was too late to see him despite sprinting into the venue once she had cleared security.

"It’s a lack of respect for the fans who bought tickets. It’s a shame.”   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Artistic Gymnastics - Preliminary - Men's Qualification - Subdivisions - Rio Olympic Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 06/08/2016Diego Hypolito (BRA) of Brazil cries during the men's qualifications.  REUTERS/Dylan Martinez