Three amazing moments in Olympic Rings history

Three amazing moments in Olympic Rings history

Part of the overall gymnastics program in the Olympic Games since 1896, the Olympic Rings event has captured some amazing moments that will live on in Olympic folk-lore. Here are three of the most unmissable moments.

1. The ‘perfect’ routine & comeback

In 1996 at the Atlanta Olympics, Italian Jury Chechi is awarded a score of 9.887 as he completes his crowning career achievement and one of the greatest individual routines in Olympic history to give Italy a gold medal.

Chechi, along with everyone watching the routine, had no doubt that it would be the gold-medal winning performance, with one commentator stating immediately following it, “There can be no surprises, this is a golden routine!”

But it was not always smooth sailing for Chechi, as four years earlier in lead-up to the 1992 Barcelona Games he suffered a torn Achilles' tendon during a routine dismount. It was the pain in not being able to compete in 1992 that drove Chechi to the amazing heights that were witnessed in 1996.

Following his amazing Atlanta performance, at only 26, Chechi then announced his retirement, but it would be short-lived as his focus shifted to the 2000 Sydney Games. However bad luck would again intervene only two months before the Games as Chechi tore his bicep tendon, one of the most severe injuries a gymnast can suffer, leaving no hope of continuing competitive gymnastics. Chechi had no choice but to retire for the second time.

However, the lure of Olympic glory was too strong to keep Chechi away from the sport with the 2004 Athens Games fast approaching. Showcasing amazing resilience and dedication, Chechi not only makes it back on to the rings, but is also the Olympic Flag Bearer for the Italian Olympic Team during the Opening Ceremony.

And in true champion spirit, Chechi (unexpectedly) defies his critics to win the Bronze medal at the age of 34.

2. 'King of Rings' controversy

In 2012, China's Chen Yibing, who was known across the sport as the "King of Rings", just failed to become one of only three other athletes to win two Olympic gold medals in the Olympic Rings event. And it was a disputed scoring outcome that has made this moment one of the most discussed Olympic Rings results ever.

Following a typically precise and comprehensive executed routine and stable landing, Chen scored 15.800 points to put him in the lead. However it was Brazilian Arthur Zanetti (attempting the same routine difficulty) who followed Chen’s performance with a score of 15.900. The ground-breaking gold medal for Zanetti was the first medal for a Brazilian gymnast, and also the first for any Latin American gymnast.

But, following the result, several Chinese state-run media outlets alleged that a conspiracy was afoot as Zanetti performed a stumbled landing upon his dismount. It was also reported that other athletes, coaches and commentators at the event disagreed with the scoring.

Nonetheless, Zanetti kept the Gold and went on to win Silver in Rio in 2016, and then finished 8th in Tokyo in 2021.

 Embed from Getty Images

3. Home-town Hero wins Gold

In 2004, Greece's Dimosthenis Tampakos rode a groundswell of national support to win the men's Olympics rings gold in his home country. The muscular The Greek, who won the Silver medal in Sydney four years earlier, was able to handle the immense pressure from his local supporters to execute an inspiring showing of both stamina and strength.

Despite being the first competitor to perform in the final, Tampakos outlasted each and every one of his other opponents (including Yuri Chechi) from start to finish with a winning score of 9.862. Tampakos's win on the Olympic Rings was the first gold medal and crowning of an Olympic champion for Greece for the first time since the 1896 Games.

See related: 

Are Crossfit Rings The Missing Piece In Your Daily Workout?
Three Celebrities You Didn't Know Use Gym Rings.
7 Reasons To Start Working Out With Gymnastic Rings
6 Reasons Wooden Gymnastic Rings Are Superior To Plastic