Rio 2016: Men's Gymnastics team finals preview

After what was a surprising qualification spot from the United States in Men's Gymnastics on Saturday afternoon, the U.S. team will be competing for a medal against several other top teams including China, Japan, Russia, Great Britain and Brazil.

If Saturday results repeat, U.S. would earn Silver

Outside of a rough night on Pommel Horse, the team's worst event on Saturday, the United States finished second overall behind China. Japan, lead by Kohei Uchimura would finish in fourth overall, and Russia would take the bronze after finishing in third.

The bad news for the United States however, is that the scores are reset, and Kohei Uchimura's fall on high bar will not matter come the team finals later today. Also bad news for the United States is that the margin between first and sixth was less than 2.5 points. The United States only all-around specialist is Sam Mikulak, which will certainly add an interesting dynamic this afternoon, and will certainly add to the pressure each gymnast on the team faces.

No medal is guaranteed

All three medals are up for grabs going into the team finals. While it is likely that China, Japan, Russia and the United States are the four countries that compete for the three medals after the four highest scores in the qualifying, each team will have to earn a medal today. The Japanese are going in as favorites to earn one of the three assuming Uchimura doesn't have another fall, while the Chinese are also looking likely for a medal of some kind after a strong first place qualifying round Saturday. The biggest question is which country will win which color medal, and which of the top four will be left out?

United States Men's Gymnastics team celebrating their selection to the national team. Photo Credit: Dilip Vishwanat of Getty Images
United States Men's Gymnastics team celebrating their selection to the national team. Photo Credit: Dilip Vishwanat of Getty Images

Teams can pull off surprise upsets also

Outside of the top four, there are also a couple of other teams who will be fun to watch also. Great Britain has been an emerging force in the gymnastics world on both sides, qualifying for the men's with the fifth best score. Home team Brazil will also garner some attention with large support from the home crowd. The Brazilians finished sixth in qualifying. Finishing in seventh and eighth to round out the competing teams were Ukraine and Germany, both of whom are likely to be non-threats for medals. Seven of the eight teams had a top eight qualifier in the individual all-around, the lone exception being Germany while Japan had two (Uchimura and Ryohei Kato). With a big night from their team's biggest name, any team outside of Germany have a fighting chance at a good medal spot.

Key names to watch

There are several names on the men's side who will be key for their team's hopes in the team final. Uchimura will be a big part of Japan's podium placement or lack of it in the team finals. Big names for the United States include Mikulak and Chris Brooks, who are leading the team in multiple events and also competing in the all-around finals. Diego Hypolito and Sergei Sasaki Junior will play a big role in whether the Brazilians can medal, while Nile Wilson will play the same role for Britain.

The Russian team will be lead by David Belyavskiy, and the Chinese top performer to keep an eye on will be Deng Shudi. Belyavskiy, Shudi, Wilson and Mikulak all finished within .75 points of each other, earning the third, fourth, fifth and seventh best all-around scores. Japanese tandem of Uchimura and Ryohei Kato finished second and sixth respectfully, while the Ukrainian Oleg Verniaiev took first by a significant margin.

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