MELBOURNE, Australia – The United States again went one-two at the 2005 World Gymnastics Championships, this time with Nastia Liukin of Plano, Texas, edging out teammate Chellsie Memmel of West Allis, Wis., for the uneven bars world title. Alicia Sacramone of Winchester, Mass., claimed the vault bronze medal to bring the USA’s total for the World Championships to five. All three of the women plus Jason Gatson of Mesa, Ariz., compete on the final day of individual event finals on Sunday.

Liukin, who finished behind Memmel in the all-around, tallied a 9.662 to clinch the uneven bars title. Memmel also had an impressive routine but a small step on her inward double-tuck dismount resulted in a 9.587 and the silver medal. Great Britain’s Beth Tweddle won her second consecutive world uneven bars bronze medal with her 9.575.
"I knew I’d hit my routine and I knew I had a good chance of getting a medal," said Liukin, who is coached by her father Valery, a two-time Olympic champion. "When I landed, I was just so excited."
"I have been working so hard all this year. To win this is awesome. I’ve been working towards this for a long time."
Memmel, who was the defending world bars champion, said, "I was really pleased with my performance. Nastia did a great routine; she was very impressive. I am not worried that I didn’t defend the world title. My main goal was to win the all-around and I achieved that. It’s great to have the silver medal. Once again it’s a one-two USA finish!"
In the vault, Sacramone earned the bronze medal with a 9.412, the average of her two vaults. China’s Cheng Fei won her country’s first-ever women’s world title with an average score of 9.656. Cheng was the only gymnast attempting two 10.0 start value vaults in the final, earning a 9.725 and 9.587. In her eighth world vault final, Uzbekistan’s Oxana Chusovitina claimed the silver medal with her 9.418 average. This was the 30-year-old’s seventh world medal, breaking the record she shared with Russia’s Svetlana Khorkina for the most medals won by a woman in one event and tying the men’s record for the most medals in one event held by Italy’s Yuri Chechi (rings).
"I landed my vaults well, but I could have stuck them," said Sacramone, who now has her first World Championships medal. "I had a little more pressure on myself to do well (because of her success in the World Cup Finals), but I am very happy with my performance. This is my first World Championship and it’s really exciting to place in my first time here."
"It was a really good experience and I’ve got to go home and keep training. It’s been a great experience to compete with so many talented gymnasts and to place third is amazing."
Sacramone’s medal is the USA’s second world vault medal; Brandy Johnson was the silver medalist in 1989.
The remaining world champions crowned in individual events were: China’s Xiao Qin, pommel horse; Netherlands’ Yuri Van Gelder, still rings; and Brazil’s Diego Hypolito, floor exercise.
Liukin, Memmel, Sacramone and Gatson are competing in three of the five individual event finals: Liukin on the balance beam and floor exercise; Memmel on the balance beam; Gatson on the parallel bars; and Sacramone on the floor exercise. There is also competition in the men’s vault and high bar.
"I’ve got both my beam and floor routines left tomorrow so I can’t relax," said Liukin, after her gold medal performance. "My goal is to do my routines like I have been doing them in practice. I don’t want to set my goals too high for those. Gold will be nice but just to get a place will be an achievement."


World Championships Sports Network (WCSN) is carrying live, final-round coverage from Melbourne on the Internet, with coverage of the event also available on-demand. The Webcast is available for just $9.95. Bart Conner, Nadia Comaneci, Blaine Wilson and Tasha Schwikert are providing the expert commentary for the Web cast… |MORE INFO |

2005 FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships
Individual event finals
Nov. 26, 2005

Uneven bars

1. Anastasia Liukin (USA) 9.662, 2. Chellsie Memmel (USA) 9.587, 3. Elizabeth Tweddle (GBR) 9.575, 4. Mayu Kuroda (JPN) 9.525, 5. Fan Ye (CHN) 9.475, 6. Polina Miller (RUS) 9.462, 7. Monette Russo (AUS) 9.412, 8. Isabelle Severino (FRA) 6.787.

Vault (women)

1. Cheng Fei (CHN) 9.656, 2. Oxana Chusovitina (UZB) 9.418, 3. Alicia Sacramone (USA) 9.412, 4. Elena Zamolodchikova (RUS) 9.318, 5. Anna Pavlova (RUS) 9.237, 6. Olga Sherbatykh (UKR) 9.212, 7. Joanna Skowronska (POL) 9.162, 8. Imogen Cairns (GBR) 8.956.