BEIJING, Aug. 19, 2008 – Shawn Johnson of West Des Moines, Iowa, and Nastia Liukin of Parker, Texas, won the gold and silver medals, respectively, on the balance beam, and Jonathan Horton of Houston claimed the silver medal on horizontal bar during the final day of gymnastics at the National Indoor Stadium at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. The USA finished the Olympic Games with 10 gymnastics medals – two gold, six silver and two bronze – the most in a non-boycotted Olympic Games.
Both Johnson and Liukin matched U.S. Olympic milestones.
- Johnson joins Shannon Miller as the only two U.S. gymnasts who have won Olympic gold medals on balance beam. This is the first time that the USA has won two medals in this event. Johnson earned four medals at the 2008 Olympic Games: gold on the balance beam, and silver in the team competition, all-around and floor exercise.
- With her silver medal, Liukin tied the U.S. gymnastics record of five Olympic medals at one Olympics currently held by Mary Lou Retton, who earned one gold, two silver and two bronze at the 1984 Olympic Games, and Miller, who claimed two silver and three bronze at the 1992 Olympic Games. Liukin’s Olympic medal haul includes one gold, all-around; three silver, team, balance beam and uneven bars; and one bronze, floor exercise. Liukin also surpassed her father, Valeri, who won four medals (two gold and two silver) at the 1988 Olympic Games.
“I am tied with her (Shannon) for world medals too,” said Liukin, who owns nine world medals. “I guess it is meant to be that we are tied. I think I won the most medals of any woman here. That is something neat. I will remember this time for rest of life. I am glad I got to do it with my dad. The Olympics has been harder but better than any Worlds. Nine Olympic medals in our family is not too bad.”
Johnson ended her balance beam routine with a full-in dismount and scored a 16.225. Liukin was second at 16.025. China’s Cheng Fei, the first competitor on balance beam, scored a 15.950, which held up for the bronze medal.
“It’s the Olympics and I just wanted to finish it off the best that I could,” Johnson said. “Beam is my favorite event and I’ve been working so hard on it at home. I just put everything toward the beam. To finally get the gold for my beam coach (Liwen Zhuang) and for me on my very last routine, it meant the world.”
Horton’s high bar silver medal brings his Olympic medal tally to two, including the bronze in the team competition. In the horizontal bar finals, Horton took a chance and performed a new, more difficult routine that he had never completed, even in practice. His routine had a 6.9 start value, up five-tenths of a point from his routine in the team finals. He earned a score of 16.175, just 0.025 points behind the 16.200 of gold-medal-winner Zou Kai of China. Germany’s Fabian Hambuechen, the 2007 horizontal bar world champion, finished third with a score of 15.875.
“That’s the first time I’ve ever done that routine,” said Horton. “I’m not going to sit here and say it’s luck because I’ve done every one of those skills millions of times. But it was maybe a little bit of luck to put it together in the same routine at once and do it as well as I did. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good, right? I hit the floor and looked at Mark (Williams) and said, ‘Can you believe that just happened?’ Instantly, I knew I was going to medal with that routine. I kind of wish I had stuck my landing because I’d be gold right now.”
China’s Li Xiaopeng posted a 16.450 on parallel bars to win the gold medal, followed by South Korea’s Yoo Wonchul in second with a 16.250 and Uzbekistan’s Anton Fokin with a 16.200.
In men’s trampoline, China’s Lu Chunlong won the gold medal with a score of 41.00. Canada’s Jason Burnett earned the silver medal with a 40.70, and China’s Dong Dong claimed the bronze medal with a 40.60.
2008 Olympic Games
National Indoor Stadium
Aug. 19, 2008
Individual event finals, day three of three
1. JOHNSON Shawn, USA, 16.225
2. LIUKIN Nastia, USA, 16.025
3. CHENG Fei , CHN, 15.950
4. PAVLOVA Anna, RUS, 15.900
5. DRAGOI Gabriela, ROU, 15.625
6. LI Shanshan , CHN, 15.300
7. AFANASYEVA Ksenia, RUS, 14.825
8. TSURUMI Koko, JPN, 14.450
1. LI Xiaopeng, CHN, 16.450
2. YOO Wonchul, KOR, 16.250
3. FOKIN Anton, UZB, 16.200
4. HAMBUECHEN Fabian, GER, 15.975
5. PETKOVSEK Mitja, SLO, 15.725
6. HUANG Xu, CHN, 15.700
7. YANG Taeyoung, KOR, 15.650
8. KRYUKOV Nikolay, RUS, 15.150
1. ZOU Kai, CHN, 16.200
2. HORTON Jonathan, USA, 16.175
3. HAMBUECHEN Fabian, GER, 15.875
4. CASSINA Igor, ITA, 15.675
5. NAKASE Takuya, JPN, 15.450
6. TOMITA Hiroyuki, JPN, 15.225
7. ZONDERLAND Epke, NED, 15.000
8. CUCHERAT Yann, FRA, 14.825
1. LU Chunlong, CHN, 41.00
2. BURNETT Jason, CAN, 40.70
3. DONG Dong, CHN, 40.60
4. NIKITIN Yuriy, UKR, 39.80
4. SOTOMURA Tetsuya, JPN, 39.80
6. USHAKOV Dmitry, RUS, 38.80
7. RUSAKOV Alexander, RUS, 38.50
8. KAZAK Mikalai, BLR, 38.10