Shawn Johnson Gold Olympics Balance Beam… Finally! Retires From Women’s Gymnastics? Nastia Liukin Silver.

Cheng Fei, one of the few legal contestants from the Chinese team, went first.  She stumbled on the beam and nearly fell, but managed to maintain her balance.  Her dismount had a step, but overall, her performance was strong and had a high difficulty at 6.800.  Her total score after the beam was 15.950.

Li Shanshan of China, another of the coincidental 16 year olds on the Chinese team, is considered one of the best in the world.  But on a back-flip, she completely missed the beam and tumbled off looking anything but graceful, barely catching the beam with her hands.  She recovered like a champion, but she was not going to be in the medals in this competition, but her consolation is she can come back when she is actually of age.  Her score was an absurd 15.3.  Her fall should have placed her below 15, but it would not matter.

Shawn Johnson came up and was perfection.  There is no way to describe it in words.  A slight step back on the dismount was her only flaw.  Every move was perfect.  Her smile was glowing after the performance.  Nastia was next, but Shawn was obviously anxious after other poor judging in these Olympics prior to her performance.  Then, the smile.  The relief.  The score. 16.225.  No one was beating Shawn this time, except maybe Nastia?  That was the highest score on beam in China.

Nastia was similar in perfection.  Smoother, but a slight stumble cost her the Gold.  There was a hop on the dismount for another deduction, but this performance is similar in greatness.  This time, no one would take the Americans’ thunder.  This was 1-2 all the way!!  Shawn and Nastia embraced and awaited the score.  Both smiling, but both nervous.  Nastia…16.025.  No one would come close to either girl’s score.  It was over.

Shawn Johnson GOLD!!!  Nastia Liukin SILVER!!!  US 1-2 and Legitimate Too!!

Liang Chow, the US Coach was gleaming.  Shawn trained under coach Liang Chow for ten years for this moment.

Watching Shawn take the top of the podium for Gold was a tearful event for us.  But Shawn was all smiles.  During the National Anthem, Shawn was dead serious, and you could see a twitch in her face; the shock of it all was coming home.    And just as you thought she would shed a tear, she turned forward and smiled.  No tears are inside this girl.

After the event, Shawn said, possibly revealing her desire to quit at the top, “To finally get the gold on my final routine in my Olympic career…, uh, experience, it’s the perfect ending. It means more to me than any medal ever could.”

Indeed, Shawn had a fairy tale ending that brings tears to our eyes. And it was all that much sweeter with Nastia taking Silver at her side.

Please check our other Olympic stories on Shawn and Nastia by clicking here.

THE WINNING FORM!

The Awarding Ceremony



Alicia Sacramone Deprived Of Medal As China Falls Down in Olympic Women’s Gymnastics Vault

To start, in the draw, Alicia had drawn the short straw and had to go first.  We are not sure how the drawing is done, but it did seem awfully coincidental that Shawn Johnson also drew the short straw in her event.  Going first is always a disadvantage, and both Americans drew the short straw out of the entire field?

Alicia had two vaults in the competition to redeem herself, but on each she bounced slightly on the landing.  Both vaults had been executed perfectly, but those little hops cost her points as she netted a 15.75 and a 15.325 for an average score of 15.537.

Next up was Cheng Fei from China, the only girl on the Chinese team that actually looks above the age of 16.  She did a higher difficulty vault, but also hopped slightly on the landing.  The vault itself was strong and the judges apparently decided the small hop was not worth a deduction and awarded her a 16.075.  She failed horribly on her next vault.  She hit the vault sideways; that was one penalty. Then she could not get enough height, and ended up landing on her knees; another major penalty.

The score she received was not believable.  Her second vault was awarded an overly generous 15.05 and that placed her average score just a hair above Alicia’s at 15.562, about 2/100 of a point ahead of Alicia.  Bear in mind that she got a 15.05 for falling, but Alicia had been awarded a 15.325 on her vault, which was perfect except for a small hop at the end.  Had Cheng Fei even been awarded a 15.00, Alicia would have bronzed.  The judges had given Cheng Fei just enough to ensure Alicia would not medal, but later vaults similar to Cheng’s were awarded 14s.

This atrocious judging pushed Alicia out to fourth.  Korea gets the Gold, Germany the Silver, and China the Bronze.  Alicia missed the medal by 2/100 of a point and, despite having executed excellent vaults and having landed on her feet both times, still ended up behind the Chinese Bronze Medalist who executed a horrible second vault, landing on her knees.

This was an enormous judging error that cheated Alicia out of her chance to redeem herself and out of a Medal she deserved.

This will be an Olympics that Alicia will want to forget.  At age 20, it quite likely will be her last.

Watch Alicia Sacramone and Cheng Fei’s actual perfomances and judge for yourself… Cheng Fei falls on her knees, and she gets a Bronze medal. Sacramone misses the Bronze by 2/100 of a point…

Please take time now to watch the commentary of Bela Karolyi, the legendary US gymnastics coach. His view on the vault final as a “total rip-off…”

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