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Gold finally comes for Johnson in the Beam

Updated: 2008-08-19 20:22:35
Gold finally comes for Johnson in the Beam
Shawn Johnson on the beam. (Photo credit: Xinhua)

(BEIJING, August 19) -- If she did not win gold in the Beam tonight, Shawn Johnson of the United States would have taken four silver medals back to her home state of Iowa. However, Johnson, the sprightly 16-year-old gymnast did not miss her last chance of Olympic gold. She scored 16.225 after a flawless routine, two-tenths of a point more than the silver medalist, Johnson's compatriot Nastia Liukin.

Johnson was outscored by Liukin in the Women's Individual All-Around on August 15 and was forced to settle for her second silver medal. Her first was the United States' second place in the Women's Team event, which was won by China. Johnson went within a hair's breadth of winning gold in the Women's Floor Exercise on August 17 – she was 0.150 of a point behind the gold medalist Sandra Izbasa of Romania. 

Gold finally comes for Johnson in the Beam
Shawn Johnson (C), Nastia Liukin (L), and Cheng Fei (Photo credit: Xinhua)

However, tonight was a different story for Johnson. Li Shanshan of China, a heavy gold medal favorite and top-ranked qualifier, fell down from the beam and her medal chances nosedived sharply. Another Chinese gymnast Cheng Fei, who competed first and scored 15.950, had no chance of winning gold because of instability during her routine. Even Liukin, who has been so perfect during the Games, walked a small step forward when dismounting, which was a tiny mistake that probably cost her gold.

Anna Pavlova of Russia finished fourth with 15.900, followed by Gabriela Dragoi of Romania with 15.625. Li came sixth with 15.300.

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