U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team Wins Silver Medal: WE WERE ROBBED & CHEATED!

On an afternoon when it could afford no mistakes, the USA Gymnastics women’s team absorbed two uncharacteristic failures by veteran Alicia Sacramone and several smaller slips to finish second Wednesday (Tuesday night CDT) to China in the team final.

China totaled 188.9 points to 186.525 for the United States. Romania won the bronze medal.

With China holding the lead after three blockbuster routines on uneven bars, Sacarmone’s missteps occurred within minutes of each other on balance beam and floor exercise.

Sacramone mounts the beam with a running start into a front flip, a quick beginning that matches her brisk personality. But in this case, her routine went awry before it started. She landed with her right foot half on and half off the beam, teetered on one leg and then fell off.

After beam, the U.S. went to its final event, floor exercise, trailing China by a point with its gold medal hopes reduced to a mere glimmer. Even that vanished when, on her second tumbling pass, Sacramone came out of an Arabian double front and fell backward.

It was not the only error the U.S. had on floor – both Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson each were deducted a tenth of a point for stepping out of bounds – but, in combination with Sacramone’s error and China’s closing series of three clean performances on floor, it slammed the door on the a gold medal chance for Team USA.

It was a disappointing finish for the U.S. women that came on the heels of injury problems that have dogged both the men’s and women’s squads in recent weeks.

The slippage began when former world all-around champion Chellsie Memmel suffered an ankle injury during workouts shortly after the team arrived in Beijing. It continued when Samantha Peszek hurt her ankle minutes before the team took the floor for prelims.

And the result, for the second night in a row, was a celebration for the Chinese fans packed into the National Indoor Arena.

China also had a fall on beam by team captain Cheng Fei but righted the ship afterward. But it essentially took control of the competition on uneven bars.

The star of that show was He Kexin, the 16-year-old whose age eligibility was called into question before the Olympics.

He started out with back to back flips on either side of the bar, maneuvers called a Jaeger, and zipped through the rest of the exercise, scoring 16.85.

Her teammates were solid, too, Yang Yilin, who also started with a 7.7 execution score, scord 16.8, and Jiang Yuyuan scored 15.975.

After a fall by Chellsie Memmel and a blown dismount by Nastia Liukin during prelims, the U.S. women rallied on uneven bars, including a 16.9 score by Nastia Liukin, the highest for any gymnastics competitor thus far, but could not keep pace overall with the Chinese.

Liukin received an execution score of 9.2 for her routine, which has a start value of 7.7. She made it through the transition to low bar, which was a problem one night at Olympic trials, and landed the dismount on which she fell during prelims.

Chellsie Memmel, who fell during prelims when she was unable to catch the bar on a release move called a Tkachev, caught the bar this time and had a small hop on her dismount, scoring 15.725.

Shawn Johnson was slightly short on one handstand and dipped her right foot back on the dismount but scored 15.35 with an execution score of 8.95.

Both teams made it through vault in good order, with the U.S. taking the early lead, 46.875 to 46.35.

China was solid but unspectacular on the event, dropping from 46.625 in prelims for its prelims. Cheng Fei was the top scorer at 16.0 on her Yurchenko 2 ½ vault.

For the United States, Sacramone had a tiny hop forward on her handspring laid-out rudi (15.675), Shawn Johnson crossed over with her left leg upon landing her Yurchenko 2 ½ at 16.0 and Bridget Sloan scored 15.2 in the leadoff position on her only event of the afternoon.



~ by Digory Kirke on August 13, 2008.

3 Responses to “U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team Wins Silver Medal: WE WERE ROBBED & CHEATED!”

  1. Regarding the large red flag waved when she went out of bounds, did that distract Alicia? I don’t remember ever having seen them before. Also, per Today show, she was announced but her name was not listed and she was not allowed to perform. Since Chinese are meticulous, I assume they meant to rattle the team leader and and shake up the rest, esp. since the C gymnast had just messed up on the beam.

  2. […] bookmarks tagged gymnastics US Women’s Gymnastics Team Wins Silver Medal: WE… saved by 2 others     Rashisha bookmarked on 08/13/08 | […]

  3. There’s no shortage of stupid chicanery among the world’s…ahem…uh…’leaders’. It’s politics that’s strangling the world.

    We should organize our own medal awards ceremony with the correct reflective hues and appropriate inscriptions!


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