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Horton gets silver

Posted by Greg Lee, Globe Staff August 19, 2008 08:12 AM

Jonathan Horton (Houston, Texas) won the silver medal in the men's high bar in the gymnastics individual event finals held Tuesday evening at the National Indoor Stadium.

Horton scored a 16.175, only 0.025 behind the 16.200 scored by Zou Kai of China to take the gold. The bronze medal was won by Fabian Hambuechen of Germany with a 15.875.

The U.S. gymnastics team closes out the 2008 Olympic Games with a total of 10 medals won (two gold, six silver, 2 bronze), the four best medal haul at a single Olympic Games and the top total at an Olympic Games outside the United States. The most was 20 at the 1904 St. Louis Olympic Games, followed by the 16 each won at the 1932 and 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games.

U.S. finish 1-2

Posted by Greg Lee, Globe Staff August 19, 2008 07:27 AM

Shawn Johnson (West Des Moines, Iowa) and Nastia Liukin (Parker, Texas) won gold and silver, respectively, on the balance beam in individual event finals at the National Indoor Stadium today.

Johnson posted a score of 16.225 to take the gold, while Liukin claimed silver with a 16.025. The bronze medal was won by Cheng Fei of China with a 15.950.

Johnson's gold is the second in the event by an American, following Shannon Miller's at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. It marks the first time the U.S. has won two medals in the event.

Golden effort, silver medal for Liukin

Posted by John Powers, Globe Staff August 18, 2008 10:16 AM

BEIJING -- What was most troubling, Nastia Liukin said, was that she didn't lose -- and yet she still lost. "I'm a little disappointed, knowing that I tied," the US gymnast said Monday, after China's He Kexin won the Olympic gold medal on uneven bars on the second tiebreaker after they'd tied to the thousandth -- 16.725. "I had the same exact score. That's what made it a little harder to take."

Liukin said that she had no problem with the scoring system, which was revised two years ago after the Athens controversy surrounding her countryman Paul Hamm's victory in the men's all-around. "Scoring is scoring, and that's our sport," said the 18-year-old Liukin, after she'd
been given the silver medal in her best event based on her having a higher average deduction (.966 to .933) from the middle three judges. "That's what we've been going through our whole lives and we just have to accept that."

Nor did Liukin have a quibble with Australian judge Helen Colagiuri, who marked Liukin three-tenths of a point lower than He for a routine with the same start value (7.7) and similar execution. "One judge liked her better than me," Liukin shrugged.

Nor did it bother her that she lost to a tiny rival whom several Chinese sources have indicated is only 14, two years younger than the minimum age for Olympic competition. "It's been going around for so many days, weeks and months now," Liukin said. "She's an excellent athlete, no matter how old she is. She's done her hard work and preparation and she deserved the gold medal."


Liukin gets silver

Posted by Greg Lee, Globe Staff August 18, 2008 09:01 AM

Nastia Liukin (Parker, Texas) won the silver medal in the uneven bars during the individual event finals Monday evening at the National Indoor Stadium.

The gold medal went to He Kexin of China, who was first in the rotation and posted a score of 16.725. Liukin followed and her score was also 16.725, but tiebreaking procedures placed her second. Yang Yilin of China won the bronze with a score of 16.650

USA 1-2

Posted by Greg Lee, Globe Staff August 15, 2008 01:27 AM

Nastia Liukin (Parker, Texas) and Shawn Johnson (West Des Moines, Iowa) used flawless floor exercise routines to claim gold and silver, respectively, in the women's individual all-around gymnastics competition at the National Indoor Stadium Friday afternoon.

Liukin and Johnson both scored a 15.525 on floor, giving Liukin the gold with a score of 63.325 and Johnson the silver with a 62.725. The bronze medal was won by Yang Yilin of China with a score of 62.650.

In addition to sharing the highest score on floor, the two Americans posted the highest value in two other events. Liukin's 16.125 on the balance beam was tops on that apparatus, while Johnson's 15.875 on vault was the best in that event.

Notes on the gold-silver finish by Nastia Liukin (Parker, Texas) and Shawn Johnson (West Des Moines, Iowa) in the women's gymnastics individual all-around competition:

Only the third time a nation has had a 1-2 finish in the event. Others were in 1960 (Larissa Latynina gold, Sofia Muratova silver for the Soviet Union) and 2000 (Simona Amanar gold, Maria Olaru silver for Romania).

First time the United States has had two women's gymnasts on the individual all-around medal podium.

First time the United States has won consecutive gold medals in the event (Liukin, 2008; Carly Patterson, 2004).

Third individual all-round gold medal won by the United States (Liukin, Patterson and Mary Lou Retton, 1984).

Second time the United States has won a silver in the event (Shannon Miller, 1992).

Men fall short

Posted by Greg Lee, Globe Staff August 14, 2008 02:57 AM

Jonathan Horton (Houston, Texas) and Alexander Artemev (Highlands Ranch, Colo.), finished ninth and 12th, respectively, in the men’s all-around gymnastics finals at the 2008 Olympic Games. China’s Yang Wei won the all-around title with a score of 94.575. Japan’s Kohei Uchimura earned the silver medal with a 91.975 and France’s Benoit Caranobe claimed the bronze medal with a 91.925. Horton earned a 91.575 and Artemev posted a 90.675.

US women get silver

Posted by Greg Lee, Globe Staff August 13, 2008 12:24 AM

The Chinese captured the team title with a dominating performance. They scored 188.900 points. They were first or second in the four categories.

The Americans finished at 186.525, but were done in by poor routines in the floor exercise and the uneven bars.

US women's team lineup

Posted by John Powers, Globe Staff August 12, 2008 11:41 AM

Winchester's Alicia Sacramone, the team captain, will be up on three of the four events when the US women's gymnastics team goes up against China for the gold medal on Wednesday. Sacramone will be up first on floor exercise and balance beam and third on vault. The lineup:

Vault -- Bridget Sloan, Shawn Johnson, Sacramone
Uneven bars -- Chellsie Memmel, Johnson, Nastia Liukin
Beam -- Sacramone, Liukin, Johnson
Floor -- Sacramone, Liukin, Johnson

US men get bronze

Posted by Greg Lee, Globe Staff August 12, 2008 01:35 AM

BEIJING -- The United States men's gymnastics team won the bronze medal in the team final held Tuesday at the National Indoor Stadium. Host China turned in a commanding performance, placing first in five of the six apparatus to score a 286.125, well ahead of Japan, which took the silver with a 278.875. The USA placed third with a 275.850, 1.25 ahead of Germany's 274.600.

The U.S. team is comprised of Alexander Artemev (Denver, Colo.), Raj Bhavsar (Houston, Texas), Joseph Hagerty (Rio Rancho, N.M.), Jonathan Horton (Houston, Texas), Justin Spring (Burke, Va.) and Kevin Tan (Fremont, Calif.).

US shaky in women's gymnastics qualifying

Posted by Shira Springer, Globe Staff August 10, 2008 05:48 AM

BEIJING -- From the moment the US women’s gymnastics team took the floor at the team qualifications today, something was clearly wrong. The normally confident gymnasts looked shaky with Winchester’s Alicia Sacramone and Bridget Sloan tumbling out of bounds. The absence of Samantha Peszek on floor was also an indication of something out of sorts. Peszek sprained her ankle moments before the competition started, rattling her teammates and prompting last-minute changes in the lineup.

“We had a little tension finishing the warmup,” said US national team coordinator Marta Karolyi. “It gave us a tiny bit of disturbance to rearrange the lineup.”

While the women looked solid on vault and Sacramone positioned herself well for the event finals, trouble started again on bars. Even specialist Chellsie Memmel fell off the top bar on a release move, while Nastia Liukin fell backward on her dismount. Again, they were uncharacteristic mistakes for a team expected to vye for gold with the Chinese. Remarkably, the Americans looked strongest on beam, saving their most solid routines for last. Shawn Johnson looked particularly steady and she finished tied with Liukin for the team’s top score on the event with a 15.975.

Overall, the US posted a cumulative score of 246.800, not far behind rival China with 248.275. China was also shaky in its qualifying session. The two countries will battle for top honors this Wednesday. Both teams hope they got past their jitters today. With three gymnasts competing on each event and all three scores counting toward the team total in the finals, neither country can afford major mistakes.

“We want to do our best,” said Karolyi. “If we are disappointed, it is because we made mistakes and not our ranking. If we do our stuff on three up, three count, it will be a different day. We will have a very good fight with the Chinese.”

US men in gymnastics final

Posted by Greg Lee, Globe Staff August 9, 2008 07:10 AM

BEIJING -- Despite the Hamm brothers dropping out of the men's gymnastics Olympic competition within the past two weeks, the United States team qualified for Tuesday's team final.

“To make a major team personnel change, compete in the first subdivision and qualify for the team finals is a huge accomplishment, and we are looking forward to competing on Tuesday,” said Kevin Mazeika, head coach for the U.S. Olympic Team

“We accomplished our first set of goals -- to go out and be consistent, and to qualify for team finals.”

“We will go through our usual process and review our performances in the prelims, and the coaches will meet to determine our line up for the 6-3-3 format in the finals.”

Look for contributions from the following Globe Staffers in Beijing:

  • John Powers
  • Shira Springer
  • Bob Ryan
  • Marc J. Spears
  • Gregory Lee
  • Scott LaPierre
  • Patricia Wen