French gymnast Benoit Caranobe on Thursday was surprised to learn that he has become the first French man winning an gymnastic all-around medal in the Olympics in 88 years.
"I am truly pleased to learn the news. I had no idea at all, so that it was impossible for me to take it as a goal before the competition. It is a good surprise," said Caranobe at the press conference after the final.
Few people regarded Caranobe as the hopeful in the close competition as he took the 17th place in all-around of the Athens Olympics and was the tenth gymnast qualified for the all-around final in Beijing. His ranking of the ninth in vault four years ago raised the hope of French people for a medal in the event
With more stable performance, Caranobe capture the bronze by defeating favorites such as German leading gymnast Fabian Hambuechen and Hiroyuki Tomita from Japan. Many people, even an AFP journalist from France, considered it as jaw-dropping. His score was 91.925 points.
It is the first men's all-around medal won by French gymnasts since the 1920 Olympic Games.
The gold went to China's Yang Wei who accumulated 94.575 points. Kohei Uchimura surpassed his teammate Tomita and took the silver by scoring 91.975.
Caranobe will take part in the vault final of the Beijing Olympics next Monday to fight for a medal. As for his prospect in the tournament, the 28-year-old veteran told reporters that he have yet thought about it.
(Xinhua News Agency August 14, 2008)