Epke Zonderland of the Netherlands took gold in the high bar final at the North Greenwich Arena - the first Dutch gymnastics gold for 84 years.
"The most exciting high bar competition I have seen in a long time commentating and coaching. Some people doubted Epke Zonderland but he never lost faith. A brilliant performance from him under pressure. He had to beat his personal best and he did it."
The 26-year-old scored 16.533 to win a high-quality contest on Tuesday.
German Fabian Hambuchen took silver with 16.400, while China's Zou Kai, the 2008 Olympic champion, finished third.
Zonderland pulled off the hardest release combination - a Cassina to Kovacs to Kolman - to become the first male Dutch gymnast to win Olympic gold.
The routine earned him congratulatory embraces from rivals Zou and Hambuchen.
Victory made him the Netherlands' first Olympic gymnastics gold medallist since the Dutch women's team win on home soil in Amsterdam in 1928.