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Hot favourites China wowed spectators with their display
China delivered a stunning performance in front of a packed crowd to claim the men's team gymnastics gold in Beijing.
In a display described as "perfect" by Chinese coach Huang Yubin, the hosts scored 286.125 points to regain the Olympic crown they won in 2000.
Defending champions Japan were pushed into second while the US, who were also in contention for silver until the last two events, claimed the bronze medal.
China's male gymnasts have now won seven of the last eight world titles.
"We performed perfect today, everybody was excellent," Chinese coach Huang said.
Huang joked his hair had gone white under the strain of preparing the squad to win gold at the Beijing Games.
"This is a big competition and it's being held in China, so there was a lot of pressure to perform at our best," he said.
The host nation's team had started slowly on the floor, one of their weaker events, though debutant Zou Kai delivered a clean and precise routine.
The competition hotted up when the next rotation took them to the pommel horse where double world champion Qin Xiao had the crowd in the palm of his hand as his delivered a smooth, controlled performance.
Chen Yibing, two-time world champion on the rings, followed that up with an excellent performance, scoring 16.575.
We will learn from the Chinese and we will be up for the next challenge
Japanese coach Koji Gushiken
Yang Wei followed suit in another demanding test of brute strength on rings while Li Xiaopeng's super vault and high bar, and Huang Xu's contribution on the parallel bars ensured China sealed the gold.
Japan's team of Takehiro Kashima, Takuya Nakase, Makoto Okiguchi, Koki Sakamoto, Hiroyuki Tomita and Kohei Uchimura notched up 278.875 points.
Their failure to retain their Olympic title prompted Japanese coach Koji Gushiken to reflect on the need to close the gap with China.
"We will learn from the Chinese and we will be up for the next challenge," he said.
The American squad, who had been hit by the withdrawal of the twins Paul and Morgan Hamm, finished on 275.850 points thanks to Alexander Artemev, Raj Bhavsar, Joseph Hagerty, Jonathan Horton, Justin Spring and Kai Wen Tan.
The depleted US side were unlikely leaders at the halfway mark heading China by 0.825 points.
Proudly wearing his bronze medal, Horton admitted his team had had a point to prove after their injury set backs.
"I wish more people believed in us," he said. "It felt like the only people that believed in us was us."