AARHUS, Denmark – Alicia Sacramone of Winchester, Mass., and Nastia Liukin of Parker, Texas, won the silver medal for the vault and uneven bars, respectively, at the 2006 World Championships, with Alexander Artemev of Morrison, Colo., claiming the bronze medal in the pommel horse.
On her first vault, a front handspring Rudi, Sacramone exploded off the board and posted a 15.475. Her second vault, a Yurchenko double twist, received a 15.175, giving her a 15.325 average. Going last in the event, China’s Cheng Fei performed a Yurchenko double and a Yurchenko half-on and one-and-a-half-off to score a 15.712 average for the gold medal. Germany’s Oksana Chusovitina was third at 15.100.
I felt it is one of my better vaults, and I am really pleased. Cheng Fei was unreal (on her vaults), really,” said Sacramone, who was a bronze medalist on vault at the 2005 World Championships.
Sacramone became just the second U.S. woman to win a world silver medal in vault. Brandy Johnson finished second at the 1989 World Championships. Sacramone’s bronze in 2005 was the USA’s first vault medal since Johnson.
“That is really cool (about matching Brandy Johnson),” said Sacramone. “I think this shows how our country is improving in vault, and it certainly will not be our last.”
Artemev is the first U.S. gymnast to earn a world pommel horse medal since Kurt Thomas was second at the 1979 World Championships. Artemev executed a nearly flawless routine, complete with impressive flair sequence, and earned at 15.550. China’s Xiao Qin won the gold medal with a 16.025, followed by Australia’s Prashanth Sellathurai at 15.700.
“It feels awesome (to get the USA’s first pommel horse medal in 27 years),” said Artemev. “It felt great and is certainly a big confidence booster. I can always do better, but I didn’t hold back. I gave it everything I had, and I am very happy.”
First to compete in the uneven bars, Jana Bieger of Coconut Creek, Fla., earned a 14.550 for her routine.
Liukin was next, and her routine, which featured her usual clean body lines and immaculate form, received a 16.050.
Beth Tweddle of Great Britain’s routine, which included five release moves, earned a 16.200, which moved her into first. Italy’s Vanessa Ferrari was third, and Bieger placed fifth.
“I feel really good because I did the best performance I could do because I couldn’t do my dismount for two weeks due to my injury,” said Liukin, who was limited to competing in the team competition and uneven bars finals due to an ankle injury prior to arriving in Denmark. “It felt great to go out and compete in finals and help the team win the silver medal. I am happy with my performances. I think all of our girls did a really good job.”
This brings the USA’s total medal count to four silver and one bronze. Bieger and Chellsie Memmel of West Allis, Wis., will be the final U.S. gymnasts competing in the World Championships when they participate in the floor exercise finals on Oct. 21.

2006 World Championships

Individual event finals

Women’s events

1. Cheng Fei, China, 15.712
2. Alicia Sacramone, Winchester, Mass., 15.
3. Oksana Chusovitina, Germany, 15.100
    (Alicia’s two vaults: 15.475, 15.175 for 15.325 average)

Uneven bars

1. Elizabeth Tweddle, Great Britain, 16.200
2. Nastia Liukin, Parker, Texas, 16.050
3. Vanessa Ferrari, Italy, 15.775
U.S. finish
5. Jana Bieger, Coconut Creek, Fla., 14.550

Men’s events

Floor exercise

1. Marian Dragulescu, Romania, 16.250
2. Diego Hypolito, Brazil, 16.150
3. Kyle Shewfelt, Canada, 15.700

Pommel horse

1. Xiao Qin, China, 16.025
2. Prashanth Sellathurai, Australia, 15.750
3. Alexander Artemev, Morrison, Colo., 15.550

Still rings

1. Chen Yibing, China, 16.525
2. Jordan Jovtchev, Bulgaria, 16.325
3. Yuri Van Gelder, Netherlands, 16.300