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ATHENS 2004

Patterson Beaming During Silver Effort

August 24, 2004|From Staff and Wire Reports

ATHENS — American all-around champion Carly Patterson put to rest any doubts about whether she was solid on the balance beam, winning a silver medal Monday in the event finals and giving the U.S. women's gymnastics team its sixth medal of the Games.

Only Catalina Ponor of Romania was better on the beam, a 9.787 to Patterson's 9.775. Ponor also won gold Monday in the floor exercise.

Patterson fell from the beam twice during the Olympic trials, alarming some of those who had seen her do the routine without flaw.

But in her last routine of the Olympics, she made her trademark Arabian -- a leaping half twist into a somersault -- look easy. All the rest of her flips and turns were good too, and she was smiling while she was still in the air during her double-handspring, double-somersault dismount.

"I have made my entire beam routine since I've been here," Patterson said. "I'm definitely happy. I couldn't ask for more. Being all-around champion is what I wanted."

Also happy were the Romanian women. In addition to Ponor's two golds, teammates Alexandra Eremia won bronze on beam and Nicoleta Sofronie got silver in floor exercise, and the Romanian women matched the Americans with six medals.

Patricia Moreno of Spain won bronze in the floor exercise.

Mohini Bhardwaj, U.S. team captain and former UCLA star, was sixth on the floor and UCLA junior Kate Richardson, who competes for Canada, was seventh.

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