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London Olympics: Gabrielle Douglas finishes 8th on uneven bars

August 06, 2012|By Diane Pucin
  • Gabrielle Douglas had a tough time on the uneven bars Monday.
Gabrielle Douglas had a tough time on the uneven bars Monday. (Ronald Martinez / Getty…)

LONDON -- Gabrielle Douglas, who already has all-around and team gymnastics gold medals, performed on her first event final Monday, the uneven bars, but the 16-year-old from Virginia Beach, Va., couldn't make magic again. She finished eighth of the eight finalists.

Russia's Aliya Mustafina won the gold medal, China's He Kexin took silver, and Britain's  Beth Tweddle got the bronze.

Douglas has one more chance at a medal Tuesday when she competes in the balance beam final. Monday, she faced perhaps the strongest field ever in the women's uneven bars. "I couldn't imagine it being any better," she said.

The field included He, the 2008 Olympic gold medalist; crowd favorite Tweddle,  who won the 2010 world championship; Victoria Komova,  the 2011 world champion in the event and the runner-up to Douglas last week in the all-around; Yao Jinnan of China, who was on track to be an uneven bars star until she suffered a knee injury; and Japan's Koko Tsurumi, who was the silver medalist in the event in 2009.

The 20-year-old He went first and posted a 15.933, a better score than Douglas has achieved anywhere this year. He's Chinese teammate Yao earned a 15.766, outdoing a clearly disappointed Komova, who got a 15.666. Tweddle got a standing ovation even before she started her routine, and until the finish she was wonderful. But she took two big steps on her landing and received a 15.916, just behind He with Russia's Mustafina and Douglas left to perform.

Mustafina, who had finished third in the all-around, dazzled even Tweddle's fans with an innovative routine including hand changes, pirouettes and release moves that were done nearly perfectly. Mustafina scored 16.133 to take over first place.

Douglas, wearing a silver leotard, had her gold-medal teammate Kyla Ross helping her chalk up the bars. But Douglas did a wavery pirouette, and she seemed slower than in the other competitions. Her score of 14.900 was last of the eight competitors, but Douglas still waved to the crowd that chanted her name.

First at Greenwich Arena was the men's competition on the still rings, where no Americans qualified. The defending Olympic champion and four-time world champion on the rings, Chen Yibing, of China, was the first of the eight competitors, and his score of 15.800 held until the final man up, Brazil's Arthur Nabarrete Zanetti.

Nabarrete Zanetti, 22, a silver medalist at the 2011 world championships, did his jam-packed rings routine with hardly an extra swing, and when he stuck the landing, Nabarrete Zanetti threw his arms in the air. He received a 15.900, earning him the gold medal.

The Brazilian team, both men and women, had been disappointing in the Olympics. Diego Hypolito, who had been favored to win a floor gold medal, didn't qualify for the event and neither team advanced to the finals.

Chen won the silver and Italy's Matteo Morandi (15.733) earned the bronze.

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