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The U.S. has its three-peat in the women's gymnastics individual all-around: Gabby Douglas has won the gold medal.
Purported to be the U.S.'s most talented all-around gymnast but also its most likely to make a critical error coming into the Games, Douglas has instead been the American team's rock, putting together a virtually flawless performance to claim the Olympic title with a score of 62.232.
Russian Victoria Komova challenged Douglas every bit of the way but settled for silver at 61.973, a margin of only .269 points. Aliya Mustafina and American Aly Raisman tied for third at 59.566, but Mustafina won the tiebreaker for the bronze after both gymnasts' lowest score was dropped.
Douglas -- the first woman of color, of any nationality, to win the event -- follows in the footsteps of 2004 gold medalist Carly Patterson and 2008 champion Nastia Liukin to make it three straight victories for the Americans in gymnastics' highest-profile event. The sweep of the all-around and team golds in a single Olympics is the U.S.'s first.
Unlike the team event, though, Komova kept the all-around title in doubt until the last score of the night. Douglas entered the fourth and final rotation, the floor exercise, with a slim .362 lead. Her cleanly-executed routine and score of 15.033 seemed to have clinched the title, but Komova delivered a powerhourse performance that raised the possiblity of a last-gasp victory.
But the judges awarded a score of "only" 15.1, giving Douglas the gold.
As was the case during the team event, Douglas and Raisman both performed huge vaults in their first rotation to open up a lead. Douglas went first and delivered a near-flawless "Amanar" to score a McKayla Maroney-rivaling 15.966. Raisman was only ever-so-slightly weaker, scoring an impressive 15.9 to place the Americans 1-2 after the first rotation.
But Komova wasn't far behind at all, scoring a 15.466 with her own Amanar -- a skill she debuted in London -- despite multiple steps after her landing. Mustafina scored a 15.233 to rank fourth.
With Komova's strength on the uneven bars, it was likely going to take a big routine from Douglas to stay in the lead, while Raisman would try to limit the damage and make up the ground in the final two rotations on beam and floor--her best events.
That's how it played out, as Raisman's safety-first routine scored a 14.333, Komova posted an outstanding 15.966, and Douglas's high-flying release skills earned her a 15.733. Mustafina, a former world champion on the bars, performed flawleesly and scored a massive 16.1 to put her directly in the gold medal mix.
Komova gave little away with a strong beam routine, one whose start value -- one of the highest in the competition -- helped her to a 15.433 despite a handful of bobbles. Mustafina, however, had struggled on beam in the team competition and fell completely off Thursday, scoring a 13.433 to fall right back out of the gold medal mix.
Douglas had struggled staying on the beam in some early 2012 meets, but it was never an issue in London. Despite several balance checks, she never seriously wavered, scoring a 15.5 to extend her lead.
Unfortunately for Raisman, it wasn't her day on beam. She put her hand on the beam after one wobble, needed mutliple other balance checks to avoid a fall, and took a large step on her difficult dismount. Her 14.2 left the gold battle between Douglas and Komova, and ultimately cost her the bronze.
Posted By: Reginald Culpepper
Thursday, August 2nd 2012 at 3:35PM
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