RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL, July 16, 2007 – The U.S. women rode the cheering and energy in the Rio Olympic Arena right to the podium, claiming all three of the women’s all-around medals at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro. Shawn Johnson, 15, of West Des Moines, Iowa, picked up her second gold medal for the 2007 Pan Am Games, adding the all-around gold medal to her team gold medal. Rebecca Bross, 14, of Plano, Texas, earned the silver medal, with Ivana Hong, 14, of Blue Springs, Mo., claiming the bronze.
“Our athletes continue to demonstrate great poise in a pressure-filled environment,” said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. “The experience they will take from this competition is invaluable.”
“Finishing 1-2-3 proves the level of preparation of this young and talented group,” said Martha Karolyi, the women’s national team coordinator for USA Gymnastics. “This represents a good test for the upcoming World Championships
“It feels great to win all three,” said Johnson. “We’ve been working so hard as a team and it’s paying off. It shows we’re strong, and we can’t wait to experience our next competition.”
Johnson won the title with a total score of 61.725, followed by Bross’ 61.050. Hong tallied 59.375 for the bronze. Brazil’s Jade Barbosa was fourth at 59.325.
“It’s a phenomenal feeling to go one-two-three,” said Hong, “and I’m happy that it ended up the way it did.”
The last time the USA swept the women’s all-around was in 1995 with Shannon Miller, Amanda Borden and Amy Chow. The USA has done so seven times: 2007, 1995, 1987, 1975, 1971, 1967 and 1963.
“It’s pretty amazing that they did it and now we did it,” said Bross.
The packed auditorium buzzed with cheers, songs and Brazilian chants. Based on the qualification scores for the all-around, Brazil was the only team that could challenge the talented U.S. gymnasts.
“Brazil fans were cheering for their country,” said Johnson, “and over time, I thought we won some supporters. I thought the crowd was great.”
“We used the cheering to our advantage,” said Hong. “In the end they were fine.”
The U.S. got off to a strong start. After the first round of competition, Hong was in the lead with a score of 15.575 for her solid beam routine, while Johnson and Bross tied for second with identical scores of 15.100 on floor exercise.
During the second rotation, Johnson hit a solid double-twisting Yurchenko vault for a 15.175 and the lead with a total score of 30.275. Hong moved to second in the all-around after scoring 14.525 on her floor exercise for a total of 30.100. Bross’ 14.850 for her double-twisting Yurchenko vault put her in third with a total score of 29.950.
Brazil’s Barbosa pulled into the lead after the third rotation. Despite a large step on her landing, Barbosa posted a 15.850 for her Yurchenko two-and-a-half twist vault, which put her in the lead with a three-event total of 45.650 and dropped the Americans to second through fourth. Johnson scored a 15.275 on bars for a three-event total of 45.550. Bross earned a 15.175 on bars for a three-event total of 45.125. Hong’s 14.950 on her Yurchenko one-and-a-half vault gave her a three-event total of 45.050 for fourth.
In the final rotation, Barbosa had a break on bars, her last event, to get a 13.675 and an all-around total of 59.325. Johnson and Bross both hit incredible beam routines, scoring 16.175 and 15.925, respectively, to move into first and second in the all-around with total scores of 61.725 and 61.050, respectively. Hong scored a 14.325 on bars for an all-around total of 59.375 and the bronze medal, dropping Barbosa to fourth.
“I am really excited to win the all-around,” said Johnson. We just worked hard as team and supporting each other. We did our best and came out and performed and it showed.”
Nine Americans advanced to the individual event finals on July 17 at 1:50 p.m. The women who are in event finals are: Johnson, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise; 2005 world bars and balance beam champion Nastia Liukin of Parker, Texas, uneven bars and balance beam; Rebecca Bross of Plano, Texas, floor exercise; and Amber Trani of Richlandtown, Pa., vault. The women who scored in the top eight but were ineligible to advance due to the maximum two-athlete-per-country rule were: Bross, uneven bars and balance beam; Hong, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise; Samantha Peszek of Indianapolis, Ind., balance beam; and Trani, floor exercise.
The men competing in the event finals are: Guillermo Alvarez of Denver, the 2007 Pan Am all-around bronze-medalist, floor exercise and parallel bars; David Durante of Garwood, N.J., and Sean Golden of Camden, N.J., still rings; Justin Spring of Burke, Va., floor exercise, parallel bars and horizontal bar; and Todd Thornton of Houston, horizontal bar. Joey Hagerty of Rio Rancho, N.M., is the first alternate for the pommel horse.
Earlier in the Pan Am Games, the women won the team gold medal and the men the bronze team medal.
2007 Pan American Games
Women’s all-around finals
July 17, 2007
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
1. Shawn Johnson, West Des Moines, Iowa, 61.725
2. Rebecca Bross, Plano, Texas, 61.050
3. Ivana Hong, Blue Springs, Mo., 59.375
4. Jade Barbosa, Brazil, 59.325
5. Daniele Hypolito, Brazil, 57.300
Peng-Peng Lee, Canada, 57.300
7. Bl. Garcia, Mexico, 56.200
8. Madeen Tamayo, Cuba, 55.825