Golden girls no more, China wins | SummitDaily.com
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Golden girls no more, China wins

BEIJING ” The Chinese crashed what was supposed to be a U.S. Olympic party.

The Americans? Well, they just flopped.

With the two best gymnasts in the world and the Olympic gold medal within their grasp, the Americans bumbled and fumbled it away Wednesday at the Beijing Games. A fall off the beam here, a splat on floor there and two steps out of bounds was more than enough to cost a team a victory, no matter how many world titles it had.

The Chinese flew as high as acrobats and lit up the arena with smiles as bright as their new medals. China’s score of 188.9 points was more than two points ahead of the Americans, a blowout in a competition that was supposed to be decided by the slimmest of margins.

It was the first Olympic gold for the Chinese, who beat the Americans for their first world title in 2006. And it was another silver for the Americans, who went to Athens as overwhelming favorites only to falter and lose to the Romanians.

This year, Romania finished third.

The Americans performed ahead of the Chinese in the final rotation, the floor exercise. After team captain Alicia Sacramone landed her second pass flat on her back, the gold medal was gone. Sacramone knew it, crouching on the steps by the floor, her head buried in her hands, disbelief etched across her face.

Hers wasn’t the only mistake. Shawn Johnson ” the reigning all-around and floor world champion ” stepped out of bounds on floor. So did Nastia Liukin.

That meant China’s final three routines were mere victory dances, and Deng Linlin, Jiang Yuyuan and Cheng Fei played the part to perfection. With the crowd roaring and shouting “Jia You! Jia You!” they flitted and fluttered with wide smiles. Even their small errors hardly mattered, swept up in the roar of the crowd.


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