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U.S. gymnast Shawn Johnson wins beam title

Source: Xinhua | 08-19-2008 20:24

Special Report:   2008 Beijing Olympic Games

BEIJING, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- Shawn Johnson of the United States claimed the beam title at Olympic gymnastics tourney here on Tuesday.

Gold medalist Shawn Johnson (C) of the United States, silver medalist Nastia Liukin (L) of the United States, and China's bronze winner Cheng Fei celebrate during the awarding ceremony for women's balance beam final of Beijing 2008 Olympic Games at National Indoor Stadium in Beijing, China, Aug. 19, 2008. (Xinhua Photo)
Gold medalist Shawn Johnson (C) of the United States, silver 
medalist Nastia Liukin (L) of the United States, and China's bronze
 winner Cheng Fei celebrate during the awarding ceremony for 
women's balance beam final of Beijing 2008 Olympic Games at 
National Indoor Stadium in Beijing, China, Aug. 19, 2008. 
(Xinhua Photo)

The 16-year-old Olympic debutant took the gold in 16.225 points, followed by her compatriot Nastia Liukin in 16.025. China's Cheng Fei settled for bronze in 15.950 points.

Johnson, the winner with three gold medals in last year's world championships, sailed to her first Olympic gold with smooth tumbling and twists and a solid landing.

Reigning beam world champion Liukin presented a flawless routine but her difficulty value of 6.6 points, 0.4 points lower than Johnson's, earned her only a second place.

China's Li Shanshan, the beam silver medalist in last year's world championships, lost her chance for a medal after she missed her step and almost dropped from the apparatus, following a tumbling combination.

Cheng Fei, a two-time Olympian, got her second bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics.

"I am so proud because it (beam) is my favour apparatus. I gave my heart and soul and I did my best routine today. I worked so long for this, " said Johnson after the competition.