Stuttgart, 7 September 2007: The 15-year-old Shawn Johnson (USA), who competes on Senior level from the spring of 2007, grabbed the World title in Stuttgart, in the last rotation of a very close and spectacular Women’s All-around Final (61.875).
The Silver medal went to the Romanian Steliana Nistor (ROU), 60.625, and the Bronze medal was shared (for the first time) by the 2006 World Champion Vanessa Ferrari (ITA) and Jade Barbosa (BRA), both 60.550, another first, for Brazil.
5. Liukin (USA), 60.100 6. YANG Yilin (CHN)- 60.025 7. Xiao Sha (CHN)- 59.600 8. Yulia Lozhecko (RUS) - 59.250
This was a great final fought by an exceptional group of gymnasts demonstrating high difficulty, artistry and the capacity never to give in.
In the end of the competition, the new World Champion, a prodigious talent from the USA, showed that stability, enormous accuracy, plus talent, are the necessary ingredients to create gold. Earlier this year Johnson became Pan-American Champion and won the American Cup. She lives in West Des Moines, Iowa, and is a member of Chows Gymnastics Club, trained by Liang Chow.
Johnson is the third gymnast to win the All-around title for the USA, after Kim Zmeskal in 1991 and Shannon Miller (in 1993 and 1994.
In Steliana Nistor, a former Junior European Champion, Romania has once again found a gymnast with high qualities on all four events. Her final advanced tumbling exercise on floor (14.975) took her into the silver medal place.
It caused much surprise that the Brazilian Jade Barbosa (16), also a fresh Senior, led the competition for three rounds with hot favourites from the USA, China and Italy always in her wake.
It says a great deal for the level of preparation of the former World Champion Vanessa Ferrari, that despite a fall on A. Bars (14.475), she tenaciously fought her way back to the podium- a place she fully deserves to stand on. This young lady is not a one-day wonder!
Nastia Liukin (USA) with her astonishing A. Bars (16.100) and the line of elegance of a world class Rhythmic gymnast, sadly fell on Beam, and although her floor had the dance elements of a prima ballerina, (14.675) she was unable to reach the podium
The Chinese YANG Yilin and Xiao Sha, with a phenomenal start on A. Bars (15.575 and 14.975) and Beam (15.075 and 15.650) were unable to sustain their Podium pressure on the last two pieces.
The European Champion on Beam Julia Lozhecko (RUS) had a weak beginning on Bars (14.150), but showed that she is unique, on beam (15.625) and on floor (14.775), with a great variety of tumbles/VA
With three round-off -flic-flac double piked back somersault dismount, numerous straight back somersaults in combination, full twisting back somersaults, as well as forward and sideways tumbles – one could be forgiven that the beam had turned into a tumbling track!
Lukin’s previous success (2005 World title in Beam) and her outstanding artistic qualities had placed her in the favourite - performing last; she lived up to all expectations. Amazingly, it was difficult turns which settled the medal outcome.
The fact that the Chinese Li Shanshan was almost non-deductible by the B-Jury, meant she received the Silver medal.
Nistor’s flic-flac full twisting back was performed with incredible security.
1. Nastia Liukin (USA) 16.250
2. Steliana Nistor (ROM) and LI Shanshan (CHN) 15.900.
4. Catalina Ponor (ROM) 15.900 - 5. Lauren Mitchel (AUS) 15.425 - 6. Isabel Severiono (FRA) 14.675 - 7. Jade Barbosa (BRA) 14.575 - 8. Shawn Johnson (USA)-14.475.
A final that proved the importance of Execution as opposed to a higher Start Value. Accurate landings also helped in the pathway to the podium as for the first time, there were a number of serious deductions for leaving the floor area and steps after landing.
The first three gymnasts to perform (Ferrari, Johnson and CHENG Fei) used double back somersaults with a full twist in each somersault (full in full out) and in general, the rest of the performers showed very difficult tumbling compensations.
Johnson and Sacramone demonstrated a security of performance and the expression of joy, which the others seem to lack.
Cassy Vericel showed excellent choreography, wonderful tumbling and fully deserved the bronze medal.
1. Shawn Johnson (USA)-15.250 (SV 6.2)
2. Alicia Sacramone (USA)- 15.225 (SV 6.10)
3. Cassy Vericel (FRA)- 15.125 (SV 6.2)
4. JIANG Yuyan (CHN) 15.100 - 5. CHENG Fei (CHN) 15.075 - 6. Vanessa Ferrari (ITA) 15.050 - 7. Beth Tweddle (GBR) 19.400 - 8. Sandra Isbasa (ROM) 14.525.
photos Janos Schmidt