Trampoline: Laughing Dong bounces to gold

LONDON Fri Aug 3, 2012 1:02pm EDT

1 of 3. Dong Dong of China reacts after competing in the men's gymnastics trampoline final routine in the North Greenwich Arena during the London 2012 Olympic Games August 3, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Blake

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LONDON (Reuters) - China's gold medal-winning trampolinist Dong Dong has a simple two-word entry for the journal he has been keeping of his London Games experiences in the youngest event of the Olympic gymnastics program.

"I thought about that yesterday and I think I will write 'ha ha'," the 23-year-old said on Friday after he scored 62.990 points to clinch gold ahead of Russia's Dmitry Ushakov and his Chinese compatriot Lu Chunlong, the 2008 Beijing champion.

Dong won bronze in Beijing and his exuberant 10-move final routine won over not only the judges but the crowd, who erupted in cheers when he left the trampoline exhausted with his arms around his coach.

Lu said he became a bit emotional during the podium ceremony with the thought that a nagging injury could rule him out of further Olympics.

"I was just getting a little bit emotional because this could be the last Olympics I'm in," he said.

Ushakov soared into the finals after coming second in a high-flying qualifying round just ahead of Lu and behind Dong and believing he could leap past for gold.

But he told reporters that Dong did not show his best moves in the two-phased qualification round, where competitors perform two voluntary routines, each consisting of 10 consecutive skills, with a variety of single, double and triple somersaults with and without twists.

He said Dong's level of difficulty in the final round where each of the eight competitors have one more voluntary routine of 10 different skills, was at a much higher level of difficulty.

"So in the final he was really stronger," Ushakov said.

Nevertheless, the 22-year-old said he was delighted with silver and could not wait to telephone his mother, who was watching at home with his brother and grandmother.

"I will congratulate my mum because it's her medal too and I will say thank you for everything," he told reporters.

(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)