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China wins maiden team gymnastics gold  

For all their pedigree in artistic gymnastics, China’s women had never emulated their male counterparts in winning an Olympic team gold - until their hard work came together superbly in Beijing.

Bronzes in Sydney and Los Angeles were a poor return on recent efforts considering the investment and commitment that went into China’s international gymnastics teams but with the advantage of a terrific crop of young gymnasts and the encouragement of the home crowd it was their turn.

As ever the biggest threats to Chinese victory was the American and Romanian teams. Romania had won the last two Olympic team golds, but China’s first victory at the world championships in 2006 gave the team’s players the belief they could claim the sport’s biggest prize.

The Chinese made a solid start in the vault, and marginally trailed the United States after the opening event after Cheng Fei and American Shawn Johnson scored 16.000 points.

However two stunning performances in the uneven bars and growing injury concerns for the Americans gave the Chinese the momentum that would eventually propel them to gold.
First Yang Yilin produced an exquisite 16.800 performance in the uneven bars only for team-mate He Kexin to go marginally better with a 16.850.

The crowd at the Beijing Indoor National Stadium sensed there had been a sea-change and the gymnasts fed off the frenzy of noise.

Both teams suffered disappointments in the beam with U.S. skipper Alicia Sacramane and Cheng suffering falls, but China kept their noses in front after the third discipline thanks to solid efforts from Deng Linlin and Li Shanshan.

The injuries that affected the Americans were really hitting home now and they only had four fit athletes by the time the final floor exercise started.

Another mistake from Sacramane on the floor opened the door for the Chinese, who burst through for their first ever gold in the event to deafening cheers from the crowd.

Their win was based on a solid team performance, with all six gymnasts contributing, a fact cemented the 1-2 in the individual events for Nastia Liukin and Johnson a mere two days later.


43 Highlights

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  • Salukvadze, Pederina praised for gesture
  • Dutch end long wait for relay gold
  • Korean archery domination continues
  • Aussies edge Americans in scintillating relay
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  • Coughlin again thwarts fast-finishing Coventry
  • Benjamin Boukpeti
  • Rice hits golden hat-trick in 4x200m relay
  • Phelps rewrites Olympic record books
  • China wins maiden team gymnastics gold
  • Steffen completes comeback with golden double
  • Andrunache emerges from Ignat’s shadow
  • The oldest winner of the women’s table tennis singles
  • Lightning Bolt electrifies Bird’s Nest
  • Roger Federer
  • British foursome continue Redgrave’s legacy
  • Zagunis leads U.S. clean sweep in sabre
  • Guo glitters in Water Cube
  • Rafael Nadal
  • Fraser leads unique Jamaican treble
  • Rebecca Romero
  • Reborn Taylor takes second hurdles title
  • Incredible Lezak puts Phelps on road to eight golds
  • Hoy joins cycling greats
  • Liukin follows in father’s footsteps
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  • IOC’s helping hand guides Nikpai to bronze
  • Bolt overcomes Johnson’s legendary 200m mark
  • Japan rock U.S. with softball win
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  • Campbell-Brown retains 200m crown
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  • Jamaican foursome break world record
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  • Party atmosphere as curtain drawn on Beijing
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  • US restores basketball pride