Thursday, October 19, 2006

Chinese Gymnasts Win Gold

Check out the sour grapes "they didn't beat us, we beat ourselves" excuse from women's coach Martha Karolyi, demonstrating to the world we have no class in defeat.

Chinese Women Surprise U.S. to Win First World Team Title
AARHUS, Denmark, Oct. 18 (AP) — The Chinese women’s gymnastics team received strong performances from Zhang Nan and Pang Panpan on Wednesday to win its first world title and give China a sweep of the team gold.

The men’s team won Tuesday. Not a bad way to prepare for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

Although the men’s victory was not unexpected, the women’s certainly was.

“Before the games, we knew there was a little gap between the Chinese team and the Americans,” said Cheng Fei, a specialist for China in the vault and the floor exercise. “It makes it so we could come in with no pressure, and we could give a top performance.”

The United States team, whose competitors won a stack of medals from last year’s individual world championships, crushed the rest of the field in the preliminaries, even with the national champion Nastia Liukin limited to one event.

But in the preliminaries, the worst score is discarded; in the finals, every score counts. Every mistake counts, too, and the United States made too many — with falls on 2 of its 12 routines.

China finished with a total score of 182.200, less than a point ahead of the United States (181.350 points). Russia, rebuilding after winning bronze at the 2004 Athens Olympics, finished third (177.325). Romania, which won gold in Athens, was fourth (175.450), missed a medal for the first time in 25 years.

“I think I was a little surprised,” said Martha Karolyi, the United States team coordinator.
“China was consistent tonight, and I thought they deserved to win. But they didn’t beat us. We beat ourselves.”

The Chinese, who finished seventh at the Athens Olympics, had not won a medal at worlds since 1999.


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