NEW YORK – Storming back from fifth place after last night’s competition, the Chinese duo of Ling Jie and Huang Xu took the gold medal in mixed pairs as gymnastics competition at the 1998 Goodwill Games came to a close in Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum Sunday afternoon.

Scoring a 39.000, the duo overcame a challenge from current world champions Svetlana Khorkina and Aleksei Nemov of Russia, who took the silver medal with a 38.725. The bronze was earned by the Russian tandem of Anna Kovalyova and Aleksei Bondarenko with a 38.700.
“We felt confident going into the second round, because we feel we are a very strong team,” said Huang. “The other athletes are very strong, too, but we had enough confidence in ourselves. We felt that if we came through with our best performances, we would win the gold medal.”
“Yesterday, I fell on the uneven bars, so we didn’t score very high,” said Ling. “I just had to forget about yesterday and think only about today’s competition. I knew if we gave our normal performance, we would have a good chance at a medal.”
“I am very happy to finish in second place, but I know we could have done better,” said Nemov. “If I had not faltered on the floor exercise in my first rotation, we would have won the gold.” Nemov went out of bounds twice during his floor routine, costing the Russian pair valuable points.
The Ukrainian pair of Olga Teslenko and Roman Zozulya slipped from first after Saturday’s prelims to end up fourth with a 38.400.

Mixed Pairs Competition

1, China 1 (Ling Jie and Huang Xu), 39.000. 2, Russia 1 (Svetlana Khorkina and .Aleksei Nemov), 38.725. 3, Russia 2 (Anna Kovalyova and Aleksei Bondarenko), 38.700. 4, Ukraine (Olga Teslenko and Roman Zozulya), 38.400. 5, Australia/Cuba (Zeena McLaughlin and Eric Lopez Rios), 38.350. 6, Belarus (Alena Polozkova and Aleksandr Shostak), 38.025. 7, Russia 3 (Yevgeniya Kuznetsova and Nikolai Kryukov), 37.925. 8, China 2 (Meng Fei and Lu Yufu), 36.875.