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A weary Gabrielle Douglas is last in uneven bars

American teen Douglas, who has won all-round and team gold medals, finishes eighth in event final and admits to being tired from excitement. Sam Mikulak of Newport Coast is fifth in men's vault.

August 06, 2012|By Diane Pucin
  • Gabrielle Douglas performs her routine on the uneven bars during the event finals on Monday in London.
Gabrielle Douglas performs her routine on the uneven bars during the event… (Thomas Coex / AFP / Getty…)

LONDON -- It's not often Gabrielle Douglas competes in gymnastics and expects to lose.

But Monday, the 16-year-old Douglas, who has already won the all-around and team gold medals, was a little slow with her swings, a little low with her pirouettes, and she finished eighth among the eight qualifiers in the uneven bars event final.

Sam Mikulak, 19, of Newport Coast, finished fifth in the men's vault. Yang Hak Seon became the first Korean gymnast to win a gold medal when he triumphed in that event.

Brazil'sArthur Zanetti won the gold medal and Chen Yibing of China won the silver on the rings.

Douglas will have another medal chance Tuesday when she finishes off her Olympics on the balance beam.

Her American teammate Alexandra Raisman also will be on the beam and floor exercise; Jordyn Wieber, the defending world all-around champion who failed to make the 24-woman all-around despite finishing fourth in qualifying (only two women per country are allowed to advance), will have an opportunity to win an individual medal on floor exercise; and Olympic all-around bronze medalist Danell Leyva and defending Olympic horizontal bar silver medalist Jonathan Horton will be in that final.

Douglas admitted the excitement of the last week as well as the effort, both physical and mental, she expended in winning the two gold medals, might have affected her Monday.

"You get mentally and physically tired," she said. "You're just drained. I tried to fight through it as much as I could."

Also, she was competing against perhaps the most accomplished field in uneven bars history.

The winner, Aliya Mustafina of Russia, scored 16.133 with a routine that had a difficulty start value of 7.000. The silver medalist was China's He Kexin, who had won gold in Beijing and scored 15.933 Monday. Britain's 27-year-old Beth Tweddle, who had purposely upgraded this routine in the hopes of bettering her fourth-place finish four years ago, earned bronze with a score of 15.915.

Douglas had a start value of only 6.300, the lowest of the finalists, so she would have needed perfect execution to leave with a third gold medal.

"I wasn't doubting myself," Douglas said, "but there was a lot of great talent. They all have higher start values than me. Even if I did well I would have gotten, like, fourth or so."

Mustafina, a 17-year-old who had knee surgery about 14 months ago after tearing her anterior cruciate ligament while vaulting, said that even six months ago she had no hopes of competing in the Olympics. "I did not believe I could do it," Mustafina said. "I was nowhere near the shape I am in now."

Douglas was asked to respond to a TMZ report that her mother, Natalie Hawkins, recently filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Douglas said her mother had and Hawkins also confirmed the story.

"I'm not even embarrassed about it," Hawkins said. "I didn't like to need that option but it helped us save our home," said Hawkins.

diane,pucin@latimes.com

twitter.com/mepucin

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