In the team finals, each country fields three gymnasts, and every score counts. There is no room for error.
Sam Mikulak performed a strong routine until the very end. Performing a triple-twist to finish the routine, it looked as though he was concerned about over-rotating. So he took off at a sharp angle (the smaller the angle when you strike the floor out of your round-off back-handspring — it’s called a blocking vector — the higher you will go and the rotation you will have. He had a sharp blocking vector, opened up early and tried to spot the landing, but over-did it. So he put down his hands. I mentioned a concern earlier with the white floor exercise. That may seem like a minor factor, and perhaps it is. But sometimes these little things can make a big difference.
A 14.60 score. It could have been worse. And with a strong final set, the American men get out of the event without too much pain.
Given how many mistakes we saw from the Chinese and Japanese gymnasts in the qualifying rounds, this doesn’t necessarily mean disaster. But the Americans had three strong performers on this event and it would have been great to come away with three scores in the low-to-mid 15’s.