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US gymnasts shine

Johnson wins 2 gold medals

Shawn Johnson runs through her routine in the floor exercise portion of the apparatus finals. The American ran off with gold in the event at Rio de Janeiro. Shawn Johnson runs through her routine in the floor exercise portion of the apparatus finals. The American ran off with gold in the event at Rio de Janeiro. (BRUNO DOMINGOS/REUTERS)

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Shawn Johnson is going home with a handful of Pan American Games medals.

So are her teammates.

Johnson led the US women gymnasts to another big haul yesterday, winning two golds and a silver in the individual apparatus events. She won the all-around title Monday, leading a US sweep, and helped the Americans to the team gold Saturday.

The 15-year-old rising star of American gymnastics took the balance beam and uneven bars gold, beating teammate Nastia Liukin in both. That carries extra significance because Liukin won the 2005 world crown on the beam and bars.

Adding to the US medals collection were Rebecca Bross of Ann Arbor, Mich., with gold in floor exercise, where Johnson, of Des Moines was second; and Amber Trani with silver in the vault. In all, the American women won five of the six golds available in Rio, and 11 medals overall.

With nationals scheduled for next month and the world championships coming up in September in Germany, Johnson and her teammates carry plenty of momentum into those key events on the road to Beijing. Not to mention a load of confidence.

"In Santo Domingo [in 2003], I got the bronze," said Liukin, of Parker, Texas. "This year, I could've gone further, but I just underwent surgery on my right ankle, which jeopardized my performance a little. Considering, I think silver is a good result."

Trani of Richlandtown, Pa., in her first major international, won silver behind Brazil's Jade Barbosa in the vault. The 14-year-old Trani was the only American in the event.

"Since it's my first international competition, I believe the silver medal was a great achievement," she said.

The US men's team got in on the medals as Justin Spring of Burke, Va., won the parallel bars; Guillermo Alvarez of Denver was second to Brazil's Diego Hypolito in floor exercise; and Sean Golden (Camden, N.J.) earned a silver on the rings, trailing Regulo Carmona of Venezuela.

"The technical level of the competition was really good," Golden said. "That's why I'm proud of being among the three best at the Pan Ams."

In other highlights of Day 4, the United States and Brazil got off to quick starts in the pool, each grabbing two gold medals in swimming.

American women were dominant, led by Kathleen Hersey of Atlanta, who won the 400-meter individual medley, and Jessica Rodriguez (Aurora, Colo.), who took the 400 freestyle. Teresa Crippen of Conshohocken, Pa., whose older brother Fran won the open-water event earlier in the games, got silver in the medley. Corinne Showalter (Sarasota, Fla.) was a bronze medalist in the freestyle.

Brazil's men were just as impressive. In the 400 IM, Thiago Pereira, ranked fourth in the world, beat Robert Margalis (Flushing, N.Y.) for the gold. Then Pereira helped Brazil take the 800 relay over the US team.

American shooters Tom Tamas of Pittsview, Ala., and Jason Turner of Rush, N.Y., each took gold. Tamas, 42, beat teammate Michael McPhail of Darlington, Wis., in the 50-meter rifle prone competition. Turner added the 10-meter air pistol title to his 50-meter pistol win. Thomas Rose of Central Point, Ore., took bronze in air pistol.

Canada's Sue Nattrass won the women's trap shooting, with Corey Cogdell of Eagle River, Alaska, grabbing bronze.

Canada's men's rowing pair of Chris Jarvis and Dan Casaca won gold, beating Americans Daniel Beery (Oaktown, Ind.), and Patrick O'Dunne (Nazareth, Pa.). Chile's Soraya Jadue and Maria Jose Orellana won the women's pairs as Ruth Stiver (Madisonville, Texas), and Jennifer Reck (Detroit) earned bronze.

Kelly Doton (Greenfield, Mass.) and Angie Loy (Loysville, Pa.) scored two goals each to lead the women's field hockey team over Cuba, 7-0, earning a spot in the semifinals. The Americans scored twice in the first five minutes on the way to their romp.

All of the baseball games, including Brazil-United States, were postponed because of wet fields after heavy rains Monday.