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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

China Dazzles, Russia Takes 4th

ANAHEIM, California -- China returned to the world stage with a vengeance Tuesday by storming to gold in the men's team event at the gymnastics world championships.

A weakened team had finished fifth at the last championships to feature a team format in 2001, but with Olympic champion Li Xiaopeng leading its bid at the Arrowhead Pond, one of the traditional powerhouses of men's gymnastics reclaimed its pre-eminence.

The United States, backed by a partisan crowd, secured its second successive silver medal in the team format, but its final point total of 171.121 was eclipsed by China's haul of 171.996.

Japan, which did not send a team to the 2001 world championships in Ghent, Belgium, landed a creditable bronze medal with a score of 170.708.

There was a hint of drama when officials docked four tenths of a point off American Morgan Hamm's original vault score of 9.512 because of confusion over the type of sequence performed.

Hamm's attempt -- a Kassamatsu with half twist -- carried a lower difficulty rating than the one he indicated to judges, and the United States accepted the amendment without appeal.

In any case, with China's trio of Li, 18-year-old Teng Haibin and Yang Wei in a dominant mood, it had no bearing on the final outcome.

Brothers Morgan and Paul Hamm gave the United States a strong start on the floor exercise, but Yang's floor routine kept China in the running before Teng's pommel routine helped it seize the initiative on the second rotation.

Blaine Wilson put in an impressive demonstration on the rings for the U.S. team, which brought him a mark of 9.737.

But despite a disappointing return on the rings, China's team went on to top the aggregate scorecards on each of their final three rotations -- vault, parallel bars and horizontal bar.

They were indebted to Li's 9.762 in succession on the vault and parallel bars -- his specialties -- and after Teng had rounded off in style with a 9.725 on the horizontal bar, he was carried triumphantly around the arena by coach Huang.

Wilson delighted home fans with a 9.787 after a breathtaking display on the horizontal bar, but even the crowd was swept away by China's superiority, even booing the judges when Teng was harshly marked down on the parallel bars.

Japan, in contention for bronze alongside Russia for much of the competition, finished strongly, with Naoya Tsukahara's parallel bars routine rewarded with a deserved 9.800 mark.

Russia finished fourth with 168.771 points, with Romania fifth and Korea in sixth place. France finished seventh and Ukraine eighth.

Belarus, world men's team champion in 2001, did not qualify for this year's finals after a disastrous qualifying attempt Sunday.