BEIJING, Aug. 13, 2008 – The U.S. Olympic Team for women’s gymnastics claimed the team silver medal at the 2008 Olympic Games at the National Indoor Stadium in Beijing, China. The U.S. women finished with 186.525 points to earn their second consecutive Olympic team silver medal. China won the gold medal with 188.900 points, and Romania earned the bronze medal with 181.525 points. Jonathan Horton of Houston and Alexander Artemev of Highlands Ranch, Colo., will compete in the men’s all-around finals tomorrow at 11 a.m. local Beijing time.
“The fight was extremely close,” said Martha Karolyi, women’s national team coordinator. “We fought equal to equal. We were two very strong teams, and unfortunately we had this break.”
The members of the U.S. Olympic Team for women’s gymnastics are: Shawn Johnson of West Des Moines, Iowa/Chow’s Gymnastics; Nastia Liukin of Parker, Texas/WOGA; Chellsie Memmel of West Allis, Wis./M&M Gymnastics; Samantha Peszek of Indianapolis, Ind./DeVeau’s; Alicia Sacramone of Winchester, Mass./Brestyan’s; and Bridget Sloan of Pittsboro, Ind./Sharp’s. The three replacement athletes are: Jana Bieger of Coconut Creek, Fla./Bieger International Gymnastics; Ivana Hong of Blue Springs, Mo./GAGE; and Corrie Lothrop of Gaithersburg, Md./Hill’s.
“I feel proud of the USA and our team,” Johnson said. “We are proud of each other no matter what. I think that we represented USA very well.”
“My goal was to come out and know that at the end of the competition, I’d have no regrets,” Liukin said. “I definitely have no regrets. I’m happy with how everything went and to say that you have an Olympic medal is just amazing.”
The USA was paired with China in the same rotation and opened the team finals on vault. Johnson earned a 16.000 for her Yurchenko 2.5 vault, and Sacramone scored a 15.675 for her Rudi vault. Sloan performed a Yurchenko double and posted a 15.200.
Russia, who began the competition on uneven bars, led the competition after one rotation with 46.950 points, followed closely by the USA in second with 46.875 points. China was third at 46.350.
Memmel, who only competed on one event in the team finals, was the first U.S. woman up on uneven bars and scored a 15.725 for her routine that included a jam to invert to a double front dismount. Johnson kept the momentum going with a 15.350. Liukin’s beautiful pirouette work in her difficult routine with a 7.7 start value earned a 16.900, the highest score of the day on any event. The USA’s aggregate bars score 47.975.
China moved into the lead after posting a 49.625 on the uneven bars for a two-rotation score of 95.975. The USA was second at 94.850 and Russia dropped to third with a 91.850.
The USA posted a score of 47.250 on balance beam and was led by Johnson’s 16.175 for her routine that included a full-in dismount. Liukin earned a 15.975 and Sacramone scored a 15.100.
Heading into the final rotation, China led the USA, 143.100 to 142.100. Romania was third with 136.250 points.
Liukin led the USA on floor exercise with a 15.200, with Johnson scoring a 15.100 and Sacramone earning a 14.125 for a total of 44.425. China sealed its victory with a 45.800 on floor exercise to win its first-ever women’s Olympic team gold medal.
“I’m definitely happy with silver,” said Memmel, who injured her ankle during training before the qualification round. “It’s the Olympic Games and we have a silver medal. The Chinese were the better team today. We had a few mistakes. The only disappointment for me was that I couldn’t contribute more to the team.”
“Leaving Beijing with a silver medal is such an honor,” Peszek said. “To have a medal hanging around my neck from the Olympics is remarkable. We’re all so proud of everyone.”
“You have good days and bad days, and I just wish that today was a good day for me,” Sacramone said. “My teammates were amazing today, but I just wish that my performance was a little better.”
“It’s amazing and having any medal is remarkable,” Sloan said. “We gave it our hearts, but China was just having a really good day today.”
Johnson and Liukin will compete in the individual event finals, as well as the balance beam and floor exercise finals. Sacramone is in the vault final, and Liukin will compete on the uneven bars. The women’s all-around finals on Aug. 15 (11:15 a.m.) and the individual event finals are Aug. 17-19 (6 p.m.). Artemev will compete in the pommel horse finals on Aug. 17 and Horton is in the horizontal bar finals on Aug. 19.
2008 Olympic Games
National Indoor Stadium
Aug. 13, 2008
Women’s team final results
1. China, 188.900
2. USA, 186.525
3. Romania, 181.525
4. Russia, 180.625
5. Japan, 176.700
6. Australia, 176.525
7. France, 175.275
8. Brazil, 174.875
Bridget Sloan – 15.200
Shawn Johnson – 16.000
Alicia Sacramone – 15.675
TOTAL – 46.875
Alicia Sacramone – 15.100
Nastia Liukin – 15.975
Shawn Johnson – 16.175
TOTAL – 47.250