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Yang Wei claims men's all-around gymnastics title

updated: 2008-08-14

China's all-conquering gymnast Yang Wei won the men's all-around title with a convincing 94.575 points Thursday at the Beijing Olympics.

Yang, a three-time Olympian with two world championships all-around gold under his belt, stormed to his first Olympic all-around victory by beating runner-up Kohei Uchimura by 2.60 points. Caranobe Benoit of France settled for bronze.

It's also China's second gymnastics men's all-around title after Li Xiaoshuang's at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.

With a comparatively plain start on floor exercise, Yang, well-known for his awesome preciseness of movements, surged to first place after four rotations.

Stepping outside the marked area after a tumbling combination, Yang listed 10th after the first rotation. Then he pushed two blocks up to the 8th after his pommel horse.

On rings, the 28-year-old lauched a strong surge, amid deafening cheers and applause from home fans for his unbelievable straigthness. He raised one fist.

The score of 16.625 on rings took him up to second place only after Yang Taeyoung of South Korea. Vault sent Yang further to top when he scored 16.550. And he kept his lead throughout the remaining two rotations.

Yang's teammate Cheng Yibing, a rings specialist, tried hard to pull back from a crushing start on pommel horse, which placed him 23th. But his fatal failure on his last apparatus of horizontal bar cost him any chance for a medal.

Hohei Uchimura also nearly ruined his chance after disastrous performance on pommel horse. He dropped twice and scored as low as 13.275 points. But his stable performance throughout the rest of the competition was paid off with a silver medal.