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Gymnast Johnson settles for silver

Gymnast Johnson settles for silver

Posted: Monday, August 18, 2008 8:46 pm
By: By JAIME ARON, AP Sports Writer

BEIJING (AP) — Shawn Johnson keeps making memories in Beijing. Bad ones, even if she doesn’t act like it.
Two days after Johnson lost the all-around to teammate Nastia Liukin, Romania’s Sandra Izbasa — the very last competitor — grabbed the floor exercise gold that was almost in the American’s hands. Liukin got bronze in the event. Johnson barely flinched when Izbasa’s mark came up, and the 16-year-old American also had a hug for the winner.
“I just stayed calm and had a great time out there,” Johnson said. “I love to perform.”
China’s Cheng Fei lost for the first time in three years in women’s vault. North Korea’s Hong Un Jong won it. American Alicia Sacramone was fourth.
China dominated the men’s event finals, with Zou Kai winning the floor exercise and Ziao Qin taking pommel horse. Counting team and all-around, the hosts are 4-for-4 in men’s events.
The U.S. women won their 20th straight Olympic game with as little drama as they usually provide. Monica Abbott pitched five perfect innings and Crystl Bustos, Jessica Mendoza and Tairia Flowers homered in an 8-0 victory over the Netherlands.
The Americans have outscored opponents 44-1, posted five shutouts and hit 12 homers. The latter stat breaking one of the few Olympic records they didn’t set in Greece.
Next up: China, which lost 2-1 to Taiwan to get eliminated from the medal round.
Track and field
Wow, those Jamaicans are fast.
Shelly-Ann Fraser broke away from the pack early and cruised to victory in the women’s 100 meters, a day after Usain Bolt set a world-record in the men’s race.
About the biggest difference was that Fraser waited until crossing the finish line — well, almost — before celebrating. Two other Jamaicans, Sherone Simpson and Kerron Stewart, tied for second, denying the American trio of Lauryn Williams, Torri Edwards and Muna Lee.
The scoreboard flashed “Photo-Finish” for a couple of minutes before finally showing that Simpson and Stewart were both timed in 10.98 — and were both credited with finishing second.
Williams was fourth, Lee fifth.
In the women’s 400, three-time U.S. national champion Sanya Richards won her semifinal in 49.90 seconds to move into Tuesday’s finals where she’ll go for an individual gold to go with the relay gold she won at the Athens Olympics. Americans Mary Wineberg and Dee Dee Trotter each failed to advance.
After blowing gold by shooting at the wrong target four years ago, American Matt Emmons was back in the lead on the last shot of the same event. He was determined not to make the same mistake again. He didn’t — he made a different one.
Emmons’ gun fired before he was ready. Instead of the measly 6.7 he needed, he got an atrocious 4.4, dropping him to the cruelest spot of all, fourth. At least last time he got silver.
“I didn’t feel my trigger shaking, but I guess it was,” Emmons said. “It just hit the trigger, the gun went off and I was like, ’Uh, that’s not going to be good.”’
Emmons is going home with three medals anyway: A silver from another event, plus a gold and a silver won by his wife, Katerina Emmons of the Czech Republic. They hooked up after she consoled him following the flub in Athens.
Rafael Nadal becomes No. 1 in the world on Monday. He’ll also wake up an Olympic champion.
Nadal overcame two set points in the second set and held every service game to beat Chile’s Fernando Gonzalez 6-3, 7-6 (2), 6-3.
The Williams sisters won the women’s doubles title by romping past a Spain’s Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual 6-2, 6-0. They also won in Sydney.
“I’m so excited, I can’t even speak,” said Venus, who has already won seven doubles Grand Slams and a gold medal in Sydney alongside her sister. But, winning as a family never grows old. “To share this kind of moment with your sister,” she said, gives her “chill bumps.”
In women’s singles, Russia became the first nation to sweep a tennis event since Great Britain in 1908 women’s singles. (Note that tennis was not a medal sport between 1924 and 1988.)
Elena Dementieva won over Dinara Safina 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, and Vera Zvonareva beat Li Na of China 6-0, 7-5 for the bronze.
After missing out on a medal four years ago because of consecutive 45-44 losses, Keeth Smart and the U.S. men’s saber team got to the gold-medal bout with a pair of 45-44 victories. But they couldn’t get past the French in the finals.
Smart, Tim Morehouse and James Williams celebrated the silver — especially Smart, who endured the death of both parents and a rare blood disorder since 2004.
“It’s been four long years of heartache that we’ve had to relive over and over,” said Smart, who is leaving fencing to go to business school. “For us to go home with a silver medal is truly an honor.”
Women’s basketball
Tina Thompson scored 10 points during a 21-0 run, sending the U.S. women past New Zealand 96-60. The Americans went 5-0 in pool play, winning by an average of 43 points.
Reigning WNBA MVP Lauren Jackson scored 16 points, helping Australia rally past Russia 75-55 to clinch the top seed in its pool and avoid playing the U.S. until the championship game.
Becky Hammon, an American turned naturalized Russian, led her team with 20 points. Russia dropped to 4-1.
In other games Sunday, South Korea beat Latvia 72-68, Spain routed winless Mali 79-47, Brazil got its first win 68-53 over Belarus.
The Americans won’t be going home empty-handed, thanks to heavyweight Deontay Wilder getting to the semifinals, assuring him of at least bronze.
“I don’t want the world to remember Team USA as being failures,” Wilder said.
The only other U.S. boxer left, Demetrius Andrade, was ousted by South Korea’s Kim Jung-joo, a bronze medalist in Athens.
Beach volleyball
There won’t be an all-American women’s finals.
Elaine Youngs and Nicole Branagh were ousted with a loss to a Chinese team. Earlier Sunday, Americans Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor advanced to the final four with a straight-sets victory over Brazilians Ana Paula and Larissa.
Make it 5-for-5 for the Chinese divers.
Guo Jingjing defended her 3-meter springboard diving title and became the most decorated female diver with her sixth career medal. It’s also her second of these games, having teamed with Wu Minxia to win the women’s 3-meter synchronized title last weekend. Wu got the bronze in this event.
The U.S. women’s eight took gold and the U.S. men’s eight took bronze. Canada won the men’s eight, becoming the first world champion crew to follow up with Olympic gold in 35 years.
China won its first-ever rowing medal in women’s quadruple sculls, prompting wild celebration at the venue in Beixiaoying Town.
Other winners: Poland (men’s quadruple sculls), Denmark (lightweight men’s four), Kirsten van der Kolk and Marit van Eupen of the Netherlands (lightweight women’s double sculls) and Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter of Britain (lightweight men’s double sculls).
The British are rolling through this tournament. Rebecca Romero — a silver-winning rower in Athens — gave Britain its fourth gold in five events, taking the women’s individual pursuit. Also, their men’s and women’s pursuit team broke the world record on their way to the final.
American Jennie Reed advanced to a sprint quarterfinal, continuing her bid for the first medal by a U.S. woman in 20 years. Michael Blatchford didn’t make the quarterfinal.
A Dutch rider crashed while riding from the athletes’ village to the velodrome and broke his arm.
Japan’s Kaori Icho repeated as champion of the women’s 63-kilogram division. She has won every world wrestling title in her weight class since 2002. American Randi Miller, wrestling in her first world-level senior international tournament, took bronze; it was the only medal for America in the four women’s weight classes.
China’s Wang Jiao won the women’s 72-kilogram gold medal, beating the Bulgarian who’d won the last two world championships. The 20-year-old Wang was last year’s world junior champion and only was chosen to wrestle after Athens gold medalist Wang Xu was hurt in training. American Ali Bernard lost a bronze-medal match.
Also, American Mike Zadick — a world runner-up two years ago — was a late addition to the 60-klilogram freestyle field, replacing an injured Bulgarian. He will wrestle Tuesday.
Women’s volleyball
The U.S. closed preliminary play by beating Poland in five sets. The Americans already secured a spot in the quarterfinals.
Cuban and Brazil finished prelims undefeated.
Poland, Venezuela, Kazakhstan and Algeria were eliminated.
The winds were up in Qingdao. Were they ever.
In strong winds, heavy waves and rain, Britain’s Finn sailor Ben Ainslie won his third Olympic gold medal and American Zach Railey got silver, shortly after a trio of British women took the Yngling sailing gold.
Ilya Ilin of Kazaksthan won the men’s 94-kilogram title.
Ilin finished with a total of 406 kg (895.1 pounds) Sunday, sealing the win with the last of his six lifts.
European champion Szymon Kolecki of Poland took second place and Russia’s Khadzhimurat Akkaev won the bronze.
Women’s water polo
There’s going to be a new champion. The reigning winners from Italy were knocked off by the Netherlands, sending the Dutch into the semifinals against Hungary. Australia and the United States, the top two teams in the world rankings, will meet in the other semifinal.
It was a bad day to be an Indonesian mixed-doubles badminton player.
A South Korean team beat one pair of Indonesians in the gold-medal match, and a Chinese duo knocked out another Indonesian tandem for bronze.
In men’s singles, China’s Lin Dan won gold, beating Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei, making up for his first-round flop in Athens. He didn’t lose a single game in five matches.
Table tennis
China won the women’s team competition, beating a Singapore team featuring three former Chinese athletes who went overseas in search of better playing opportunities. South Korea beat Japan for third place. South Korea’s men’s team advanced to the bronze match, where it, too, will face Japan.
U.S. and Swiss riders took the early lead in team show jumping.


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