Gymnastics: Petrounias flexes his muscles to win rings gold

Mon Aug 15, 2016 6:44pm EDT
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By Pritha Sarkar

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Greek muscle man Eleftherios Petrounias showed off his superior power in the strongman's event as he edged out local favorite and 2012 champion Arthur Zanetti to win the rings gold medal at the Olympics on Monday.

Petrounias added the Rio Games title to the world and European crowns he holds with a score of 16.000.

Zanetti lost out on the top prize by 0.234 of a point while Russia's Denis Abliazin had to settle for bronze.

Petrounias, showing off his bulging biceps and the Olympic rings tattooed on his upper back, delivered a routine that combined moments of perfect stillness with a rapid series of somersaults, his body unfurling like a ribbon.

There was not a wobble in sight as he held on to the Maltese cross - where a gymnast holds the rings with his body lined up horizontally - for what seemed an eternity before flowing into a number of handstands.

His face quivered with the effort, and every vein and sinew stood out in his arms as he held himself in the cross position.

Uncoiling for the final time, he launched himself into his dismount and on nailing it he saluted the crowd with a raised fist, confident he would become the first Greek since Dimosthenis Tampakos in 2004 to win the rings.

It was Greece's second gold in Rio.   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Artistic Gymnastics - Final - Men's Rings Final - Rio Olympic Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 15/08/2016. Eleftherios Petrounias (GRE) of Greece competes.  REUTERS/Mike Blake