London. Yang Hak-Seon triumphed in the men’s vault final on Monday to hand South Korea their first ever Olympic gold medal in artistic gymnastics.
Yang, 19, averaged 16.533 points with his two vaults at London’s North Greenwich Arena to leave Russia’s Denis Ablyazin with the silver medal and Igor Radivilov of Ukraine with bronze.
“I can’t actually believe what’s happening to me at the moment,” Yang said.
“We haven’t had a gold medal in Olympic gymnastics before and the training didn’t go very well, so I was nervous. But I’m happy that I got over that and won the gold medal.”
Ablyazin leaves the Olympics with a silver and a bronze, having also finished third in Sunday’s floor final.
Yang, the 2011 world vault champion, was the last man to compete in the final and despite a big step forward when he landed his first vault, the 7.400 difficulty rating was enough to earn him an opening score of 16.466.
His second vault was even better, yielding a score of 16.600 and securing South Korea’s first Olympic medal in the men’s vault competition since Yeo Hong-Chul took silver at the Atlanta Games in 1996.
Chile’s Tomas Gonzalez narrowly missed out on winning his country’s first ever gymnastics medal after finishing fourth, while Sam Mikulak of the United States was fifth.
Great Britain’s Kristian Thomas was unable to add to his bronze medal from the team final as he sat down his landing on his second attempt, which meant that he ended the final in eighth place.