A huge surprise and disappointment for the US women’s gymnastics team, Samantha Peszek from McCordsville, Indiana had to sit out the qualification round of the floor exercise due to an ankle injury. This placed the US team at a huge disadvantage. Only four would be able to perform, meaning every performance would count. Normally, they would be able to exclude the low score.
Bridget Sloan started the floor exercise. Bridget had to be the hero here, and the pressure was clearly on. She was spectacular, nailing landing after landing. Bridget had to go first and made it all look easy, but slipped at the end and slid out of bounds. Sigh, she had done so well up to the finish!!
Next up was Alicia Sacramone from Winchester, Massachusetts. Alicia is 20 years old and is the captain of this team. She too went well out of bounds, costing her ½ point. She nailed her final move, but the former world champion could not take the pressure and it means she will not advance to the individual event finals on the floor as a result of that slip.
Could any more befall the American squad? Nastia Liukin, 18, from Parker, Texas stepped up next, with a huge amount of pressure on her. Liukin was the first of the American team to perform on par with the Chinese, scoring 15.350.
Shawn Johnson, 16, from West Des Moines, Iowa had the world on her shoulders. Shawn is the current world champion in floor. She made a slight error, but nailed the rest of the routine. Shawn was superb, scoring a total 15.425, bringing the US within shooting range of the Chinese. China averaged 15.187. Despite the hurdles they had to overcome, the US averaged 15.012.
They Survive, Stumble Into Second Place In Qualification Round
The US team was in the qualification round without Samantha Peszek due to an ankle injury. Now, they had to face the vault. China averaged 15.456 in this event. That is phenomenal.
Liukin started and nailed her vault and scored 15.100.
Bridget Sloan executed a beautiful vault next and scored 15.275.
Shawn Johnson followed and executed a very difficult vault. She had a slight slip at the end, but scored 16.000 due to her superb execution.
Alicia Sacramone was last and had to do two vaults. She nailed the first one 15.850. On the second she made a slight step to the side. Her score, 15.625. The US beat China in the qualification, scoring an average 15.556 to China’s 15.456.
Awesome Ladies, Awesome.
Samantha returned for the uneven parallel bars. Her ankle was wrapped, but only the dismount could hurt the ankle. She nailed the dismount, showing her ankle was OK for this competition. She had a great routine and scored 14.800.
Bridget Sloan was selected for the team as a result of her performance on the Parallel Bars, but unfortunately she nearly missed the bar and had to settle for a score of 14.800.
Shawn Johnson had a killer session landing an incredibly difficult dismount perfectly scoring 15.325.
Chelsie Memmel totally fell off the bar. The mistake was extremely rare and at a time the US was clearly depending on her score. She has an ankle injury that only allows her to perform this event. And now, due to her slip, she will not advance to the individual event finals. Score 15.050.
Nastia Liukin has a chance at the Gold in this event, but this was not her day. The performance was great up until the end, and she blew the dismount, falling backwards onto the mat. Score 15.950. Even with the fall, she is so good, that she will still qualify for the individual event finals.
The team did not have a good session here, and China scored much higher on average, 15.662 to 15.281.
In the final event, the balance beam, Alicia Sacramone was wonderful in her exercise, and started the Americans with a score of 15.950.
Nastia Liukin next. Phenomenal peformance for a score of 15.975. We had hoped for better, but this was still awesome.
Shawn Johnson was next and had a routine that shined. Her smile as she nailed the dismount said it all, it was ear to ear. Her score? 15.975!
The US out averaged the Chinese in this event 15.850 to 15.762. They will need to be better to win the Gold.
The Chinese qualified first and the US Second. This will allow the Chinese to go last in the finals, which is a significant advantage. These ladies have a major challenge ahead.