Nastia Liukin, Alicia Sacramone and Shawn Johnson
© Minkus

STUTTGART, Germany, Sept. 9, 2007 – Nastia Liukin of Parker, Texas, won the world balance beam title, and Shawn Johnson of West Des Moines, Iowa, and Alicia Sacramone of Winchester, Mass., went one-two in the floor exercise in the event finals at the 2007 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Stuttgart, Germany. This brings the U.S. women’s 2007 world medal tally to four gold, two silver and one bronze, the U.S. women’s most successful showing at a team World Championships.


“It was a very successful World Championships,” said Martha Karolyi, the U.S. women’s national team coordinator.  “The younger generation, combined with the maturity of Nastia and Alicia, did the job we expected them to and we look forward to the challenges for the next year.”


Earlier in the week, the U.S. women won the team title for just the second time and the first time at a World Championships held outside the United States. For Liukin, this is her second world beam title and she also won her second uneven bars silver medal.  Johnson won the world all-around and floor exercise titles.  Sacramone earned the floor exercise silver and vault bronze medals.


“It was a great week,” said Sacramone, the team captain for the women.  “We came and did what we set out to do, win the team title.  To win (the team title) at a World Championships outside the USA is really an achievement.  I believe we left a good impression heading into the Olympic year.”


In the balance beam event finals, Liukin was the last gymnast to compete and had to beat a 15.900 earned by both Steliana Nistor of Romania and Li Shanshan of China, who tied for the silver. With only a few wobbles, Liukin worked her way back and forth across the beam during her routine that included her front aerial, back handspring  layout step-out back-pike pass.  With just a step on her two-and-half twisting back dismount, Liukin scored a 16.025 to secure her second world beam title.  Johnson had two mishaps on the beam and finished eighth with a 14.475.


“It is such a thrill to be in the event finals and become a world champion,” said Liukin, who also won the world beam title in 2005.  “I was excited to go last.  I knew I had one of the lowest start values, and I needed to go out and do it big. I was a little nervous because I had a wobble at the beginning, and I knew it might be questionable if I got the gold. I’m just excited to come back and win, and I wanted to prove that the mistakes (earlier in the week) were just flukes.”


Johnson demonstrated her ability to focus and deliver in the floor exercise finals.  Putting the balance beam behind her, she gave a rock-solid performance on floor to score a 15.250.  Competing second in the finals, she had to wait for the final six, which included 2005 world floor champion and teammate Sacramone.  With her usual flash and style, Sacramone was on track when she slipped on the landing of a tumbling pass.  Despite coming back and hitting the rest of her routine, her 15.225 dropped her into second behind Johnson.