Can the U.S. Men’s Gymnastic Team find room on the team medals podium, as it did at the latest worlds — and give China and Japan a run for their money?

(Photo courtesy of USA Gymnastics/Copyright John Cheng)

By Mike Tierney, Special to Universal Sports

If every squad’s optimism entering an Olympics ultimately was justified by a two-thumbs-up performance, gold, silver and bronze would be handed out like candy at a day care center. The medals podium would require as many steps as a firefighter’s ladder.

Even by those standards, the U.S. male gymnasts see their immediate future in the team all-around competition as so bright that they ought to wear sunglasses strong enough for staring at the sun. Their confidence is rooted in inarguable depth, plus recent upgraded placements.

The Americans took third at last year’s World Championships and missed out on a medal by that much in 2010. Those came on the heels of an Olympic bronze in 2008 and silver in 2004, the first medals of any hue at the Games since a glorious gold in 1984.

China and Japan loom as favorites, but beating the U.S. is no longer as easy as taking candy from a baby.

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