Amid announcer claims of bad judgment, the duo of Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson completed the gold/silver finish the two friends dreamed about since they knew they’d be going to Beijing together. It was beautiful mastery of an assortment of flips, twirls, twists and stuck landings that put the teammates on the stand with Liukin taking the gold and Johnson securing the silver.
The bronze was won by China’s Yang Yillin and the three were separated by .675 points as Liukin finished with 63.325 points, Johnson with 62.725 and Yilin with 62.650. Liukin’s gold represents only the third American to win the all-around women’s gymnastics competition, something her father felt she was meant to do, as indicated by his statements after the event was decided:
“It wasn’t easy for Nastia to be second, but I never believed Nastia was No. 2,” Valeri [Liukin] said after the event. “Some judges maybe like Shawn, but Nastia’s level of gymnastics is high. We calculate our course and come to the conclusion she is not second. She just makes mistakes.”
Apparently, Liukin’s father is not too high on his daughter’s competition, including her friend and silver medal winner Johnson. Nevertheless, it was an incredible floor exercise that secured Liukin’s gold. Johnson was the last to perform the floor exercise and she needed a 15.4 and change to pass Yilin and she delivered. Knowing she couldn’t score high enough to pass Liukin took the pressure away from Johnson and she delivered a floor performance worthy of a silver medal.
I’ll close this post with a still of the magnificent Liukin in mid-flip because… well, because it’s more impressive to look than the words used to describe it:
See what I mean?