RIO DE JANEIRO – Alex Naddour put the U.S. men’s gymnastics team back in the medal column.
Naddour won the bronze medal in pommel horse Sunday at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. He scored 15.700 points to finish behind Max Whitlock of Great Britain (15.966), who also won men’s floor exercise, and Louis Smith of Great Britain (15.833).
Team USA had, until now, been shut out of the medals in Rio.
After Team USA finished a disappointing fifth in the team event in Rio, and Chris Brooks and Sam Mikulak were unable to medal in the all-around, and Jake Dalton was sixth and Sam Mikulak eighth in floor exercise earlier Sunday, it came down to Naddour.
And he came through in a big way.
In the qualification, Naddour qualified seventh, so he was a surprise medalist. However, he is a four-time national champion in the event and was seventh at the 2015 world championships and sixth in 2014.
Naddour’s medal was the first for a U.S. male gymnast in an event final since Jonathan Horton won the silver medal on the horizontal bar at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Danell Leyva earned bronze in the all-around in London. Naddour scored the first pommel horse medal for Team USA since Peter Vidmar and Tim Daggett, now the NBC commentator, won gold and bronze at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games.
Mikulak will compete Tuesday on horizontal bar while Leyva will compete on horizontal bar and parallel bars.