The American hopefuls were out in full force on Tuesday for the last day of gymnastics events at the 2012 Olympics.
And unlike the case in Monday's finals, a couple of them had success in their events on Tuesday—most notably, Aly Raisman, who reeled in two medals.
It wasn't easy. The competition on Tuesday was stiff and included many of Monday's medalists, but the Americans weren't intimidated. Raisman had quite a day, earning a gold medal after an electrifying floor performance, and just an hour earlier, she earned the bronze on the balance beam, coming out on the right side of a judges' score change this time around.
Meanwhile, Wieber was underwhelming on the floor, failing in her last attempt at a medal. Gabby Douglas once again struggled in the individual finals, slipping in the midst of her balance beam routine to take herself out of medal contention. She finished second-to-last.
On the men's side, Danell Leyva and Jonathan Horton each had one more shot at medals, but they were part of an unbelievably competitive horizontal-bar field in which four contenders earned scores of 16 or higher, and neither of them placed.
Here are the full results from Tuesday's gymnastics finals. You can also see the full results here.
Men's Parallel Bars Final
|3||Hamilton Sabot ||France ||15.566|
|4||Kazuhito Tanaka ||Japan ||15.5|
|5||Daniel Corral Barron||Mexico||15.333|
|6||Emin Garibov ||Russia||15.3|
|7||Vasileios Tsolakidis ||Greece ||15.3|
Highlight: Feng Zhe
China took the gold in the men's all-around team final last week, but right off the bat, China's Chenglong Zhang struggled mightily. He fell midway through his routine, and even after he restarted, he was unsteady on his dismount, paving the way for someone else to steal the show.
That person proved to be teammate Feng Zhe, one of the favorites to win the parallel bars from the beginning, as he was the 2010 World Champion on the apparatus. Aside from a bit too much arch, there was very little wrong with his extremely difficult routine, which included one of the best dismounts: He landed flat on his feet and celebrated with several fist pumps before the judges posted his score of 15.966.
Once again, dismounts proved to be the difference between medals and mediocrity, and Marcel Nguyen's helped to land him the silver. It was the most difficult of the day and was executed flawlessly.
France's Hamilton Sabot performed in his first-ever apparatus final and didn't disappoint, earning a 15.566. His lines and extension were nearly perfect, and he executed a double-tuck in the middle of his routine that doubtlessly bumped up his score. After an excellent landing, nothing was standing in between him and the bronze, France's first-ever medal on the parallel bars.
Women's Balance Beam Final
|4||Catalina Ponor ||Romania ||15.066|
|6||Larisa Iordache ||Romania||14.2 |
|7||Gabby Douglas ||USA ||13.633|
Highlight: Aly Raisman
The U.S. saved its best for last on Tuesday. Aly Raisman redeemed the U.S. by executing a challenging routine that was only disrupted by a couple of slight bobbles, and her double-front dismount put her right into medal contention.
Or so we thought. Originally, the judges scored her below then-third-place finisher Catalina Ponor, but upon further review, they bumped up her score to 15.066—which tied her with Ponor. Raisman, however, earned the bronze medal because of her execution score of 8.766.
China's Sui Lu entered the beam competition as the one to beat and set the bar incredibly high, earning a 15.5 to start the day. Aside from a small error on her landing from a back handspring, her routine was excellent—including her double-pike dismount.
Teammate Deng Linlin was just slightly more impressive on one of the most difficult displays of the day. Her performance was graceful and clean and nearly devoid of errors, and the judges took notice: Her start value was 6.6 and she received a nine for execution, leapfrogging Sui Lu for first.
Meanwhile, Tuesday was another rough go-around for Gabby Douglas, whose right foot slipped midway through her routine, resulting in a fall that knocked her out of medal contention.
Men's Horizontal Bar Final
|Silver||Fabian Hambuechen ||Germany||16.4|
|4||Chenglong Zhang ||China||16.266|
|5||Danell Leyva ||USA ||15.833|
|6||Jonathan Horton ||USA ||15.466|
|7||Emin Garibov ||Russia ||15.333|
Highlight: Epke Zonderland
The most impressive performance of the entire day—and one that drew a standing ovation from the crowd—was that of the Netherlands' Epke Zonderland on the horizontal bar. His routine carried a difficulty level of 7.9, and he received a 8.633 execution score to bolt into first place.
Throughout Zonderland's routine, the crowd gasped and cheered at his releases and his skills, including an all-important excellent dismount.
Despite the fact that no contender broke a 16 during qualification, four of eight gymnasts scored a 16 or higher during Tuesday's final, which was by far one of the most competitive of the Olympics. And even though he didn't medal, Danell Leyva still made the U.S. look pretty good.
During a summer when the U.S. men's team has been full of disappointment, Leyva tried his best to turn it around. His routine was smooth, fluid and technically perfect, and his double-twisting, double-layout dismount was very impressive.
But on a day when it seemed like each gymnast was better than the one who came before, the American would fall out of medal contention midway through the competition.
Veteran Jonathan Horton, who won the silver medal on the apparatus in Beijing, was solid, but he wasn't good enough to upstage the rest of the talent in this incredible field.
Women's Floor Exercise Final
|3||Aliya Mustafina ||Russia ||14.9|
|4||Vanessa Ferrari ||Italy ||14.9|
|6||Ksenia Afanasyeva ||Russia ||14.566|
|7||Jordyn Wieber ||USA ||14.5|
Highlight: Aly Raisman
Just an hour after bringing home the bronze on the beam, Raisman was nearly flawless on the floor and submitted a performance that couldn't be beat. To start, she nailed a double Arabian, punch layout, and that set the tone for an incredible routine.
She was rewarded with a 15.6, good for a gold medal to add to her team gold and bronze on the beam.
Jordyn Wieber had one last chance to make her mark, and she put forth a lackluster effort on the floor, scoring a 14.5. Right off the bat, she performed an impressive double-twisting double tuck and managed to stay in bounds, but after that, she stepped out a couple of times and stumbled slightly in some of her leaps. That, coupled with some rough landings, resulted in more deductions than she would've liked.
Once again, Ponor came in just behind Raisman to pull in the silver, and uneven bars gold medalist Aliya Mustafina continued her surge back from ACL surgery to earn the bronze.
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