10 Greatest Men's Olympic Floor Routines
(4 votes, average 4.00 out of 5)



As we near the beginning of competition at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, IG takes a look back at some of the all-time great routines in Olympic history. Despite the long list of incredible performances, we've managed to narrow it down to our top 10 favorites. We start with men's floor exercise, where both athletic tumbling and artistic style are needed for greatness, along with the all-important stick.

1964: Franco Menichelli (Italy)

The bronze medalist at the 1960 Olympics in Rome, Italy's Franco Menichelli faced an uphill battle to defeat the Japanese in Tokyo. Menichelli was tied for second with the great Yukio Endo going into the floor final. His stunning routine, which featured nonstop movement and ushered in a new era for men's floor, impressed the judges enough to award him a 9.800 and the gold medal.

1976: Nikolai Andrianov (USSR)

The late Nikolai Andrianov was one of gymnastics' great innovators, and nowhere was this more evident than on floor exercise, where he was the first to compete a double pike as well as a double layout. In 1972, he had barely edged Japanese Akinori Nakayama to take the floor title in Munich. In 1976, Andrianov's 9.850 on floor during team optionals was one of the highest scores of the men's competition on any event. After winning the all-around title, Andrianov tumbled to 9.800 in the floor final and another gold.

1984: Li Ning (China)

Favored to dominate the competition in Los Angeles, Chinese superstar Li Ning instead faced frustration as his team fell to second behind the U.S. and he managed only a bronze in the all-around. He finally struck gold in the event finals with this spectactular floor routine that featured a flawless double-twisting double back somersault and earned a perfect 10.

1988: Sergei Kharkov (USSR)

In 1988, Sergei Kharkov anchored the Soviet team in what was arguably the greatest floor lineup on the greatest team in Olympic history. Two of his teammates tumbled triple backs, but Kharkov blew away the competition with this original gem that would go on to take individual gold in the finals.

1992: Li Xiaoshuang (China)

Barcelona was the Vitaly Scherbo Show, but China's Li Xiaoshuang proved unbeatable after landing this spectacular triple back, the only Olympic floor exercise champion to date to have done so.

1996: Ioannis Melissanidis (Greece)

1996 was the centennial of the modern Olympic Games, which began in Athens in 1896. Fittingly, Greek gymnast Ioannis Melissanidis won the gold medal for this celebrated routine. Artistic, dramatic and with ankles seemingly made of springs, Melissanidis won gold with style.

2000: Igors Vihrovs (Latvia)

All-around champion Alexei Nemov (Russia) thought he had another gold in the bag on floor exercise in Sydney, until Latvian Igors Vihrovs pulled this thrilling routine out.

2004: Ri Jong Song (North Korea)

The only routine in our list that didn't make a final, Ri Jong Song's floor routine was nevertheless among the most celebrated in Athens in 2004. The North Korean debuted the world's first triple-twisting double back and dismounted with an unheard of layout double-double, and showed plenty of style in between. The judges were not impressed, however, scoring him just 9.675 and leaving him out of the finals.

2004: Kyle Shewfelt (Canada)

Canada's Kyle Shewfelt had everything it takes to make a great floor routine: difficulty, artistry and innovation. In 2004, he chose the right place at the right time to deliver the routine of his life and win the gold medal, to date Canada's only Olympic gold in artistic gymnastics.

2008: Gervasio Deferr (Spain)

Spain's Gervasio Deferr won back-to-back vault titles in 2000 and 2004, and was still going strong at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. The judges saw fit to only reward this beautiful routine with a 9.275 in Execution, leaving him in second behind China's Zou Kai, who was not nearly as clean.

Honorable Mention: 2000: Alexei Nemov (Russia)

Spectacular – what else can you say?

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