Watch as a defending Olympic champion painfully face-plants after falling off the high bar

epke zonderland gymnastics rio olympics

Getty Images/Dean Mouhtaropoulos

Epke Zonderland was the defending Olympic champion on high bars.

Dutch gymnast Epke Zonderland was heavily favored to win gold in the men's high bar final in Rio on Tuesday. In fact, he's so famous for his gravity-defying routines that he's earned the nickname "The Flying Dutchman" in the gymnastics world. 

But his dreams of repeat Olympic gold were dashed when his hands slipped from the bar during a difficult release move. Zonderland fell hard, landing face down on the mat. And when he didn't immediately rebound, the crowd grew so quiet that the only sound in the stadium was the rattling of the bar itself. 

Thankfully, after a few seconds, Zonderland was back on his feet and appeared unharmed - though he was sporting a red mark right where his forehead slapped the mat. He bravely finished the routine without any further errors, but ended up finishing seventh out of eight competitors

Here's the full video of the fall:

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