Olympic gymnastics: Superstar gymnasts thrill London crowds

We were so enthusiastic about getting to see the gymnastics that we got to the North Greenwich Arena really early and saw the chance to watch the stadium gradually fill up.

As spectators of all nationalities entered, I was surrounded by frantic flag waving, especially when the cameras caught them - and they caught themselves on the camera!

One thing that caught my eye was when the camera zoomed in on one particular couple where one was holding an American flag and the other was trying to push his way in with a smaller union jack!

The inside of the arena was mainly pink, especially around the apparatus and the floor, while the flags of all the Olympic nations were on display. Although all the countries were represented by their flags, among the fans there was a definite preference for the British flag.

A whole row of identically dressed Japanese fans - all wearing red jackets and holding Japanese flags - also stood out among the thousands of supporters, while behind me I could hear a fluent language I couldn't understand.

As we neared the start of the competition, the lights were dimmed which caused a big roar of anticipation from the crowd.

The dappled lighting shone on the floor area as several dancers represented different elements of gymnastics, while camera flashbulbs were going off all around the arena which only added to the sense of excitement - it was like when you see a film star on the red carpet.

The athletes emerged and the beat and the pulse of the music began to build to heighten the atmosphere among the thousands of fans.

The names of the all of the gymnasts were announced and everybody got a very respectable amount of support - but the reaction to the British team was incredible.

The volume of the crowd and the intensity of the applause and cheering was really special and will stay with me for a long time.

Our seats gave us a great overview of everything that was going on. At times, it was difficult to know where to look with several events going on at the same time.

The floor routines tended to grab your attention, partly because of the music - but then a gasp from the audience would drag my attention to some other amazing gymnastic feat.

Out of everything we saw, the performance of British star Beth Tweddle on the uneven bars really stood out, not only because of her brilliant talent but also the amazing reception she received from the crowd.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Team USA's gymnasts were simply unbeatable on the day

Although Britain finished sixth in the final standings to miss out on a medal, the result was still the best by a British women's team at the Olympics since 1928.

In amongst all the excitement and joy for the winners, there was also the flipside of elite sport: defeat and heartbreak.

It was impossible not to feel sympathetic towards the Russian gymnast Kseniia Afanaseva who wasn't quite able to perfectly land her final somersault after a brilliant routine, costing her team the possibility of a gold medal.

Despite the tears among some of the gymnasts, when America won every member of the team was absolutely overjoyed.

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