London 2012
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Raisman finally gets (tie) break, wins beam bronze

By NANCY ARMOUR,

AP National Writer

Updated August 7, 2012

(AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

LONDON (AP) Aly Raisman finally caught a break.

Five days after a tiebreak cost Raisman an all-around medal, a tiebreak gave her one back on balance beam.

Raisman questioned her score after initially finishing fourth Tuesday, and judges added an extra tenth to her routine's difficulty after reviewing it. That gave her and Catalina Ponor identical scores of 15.066, but Raisman got the bronze and Ponor got bumped because the American's execution score was higher.

Big grins spread across Raisman's face and that of her coach, Mihai Brestyan, when the revision was announced. She was still smiling when she climbed onto the medals podium. The captain of the Fierce Five now has two medals, and a chance to add a third later Tuesday on floor exercise.

Deng Linlin won the gold on balance beam, upstaging teammate and reigning world champion Sui Lu. It was the second gold of the day for the Chinese, following Feng Zhe's title on parallel bars. Epke Zonderland won gold on high bar, the first medal for a Dutch man and only the second Olympic medal overall for the Netherlands.

Gabby Douglas, meanwhile, failed to add to her medal haul, finishing seventh on balance beam after a fall. Still, she'll leave the games with two gold medals, including the all-around title, gymnastics' biggest prize.

"I'm so happy, going home with two Olympic gold medals and a couple of titles under my belt," Douglas said. "I'm so happy for Aly, she deserves to be up on that podium. She had a great beam routine and I'm so proud of her."

Douglas' life has been a whirlwind since she won the all-around title last week, with media wanting a piece of her and celebs flooding her Twitter timeline, eager to be her new BFF. There was training to fit in, too, with finals on both uneven bars and balance beam. She admitted after Monday's lackluster showing on bars - she was last - that it was all catching up with her.

It wasn't a lack of energy that cost her Tuesday - it was a misplaced foot. Her right foot could only brush the beam as she landed on a leap, and she had no chance to save herself. As the crowd gasped, she fell onto the beam in a straddle, hanging on tight as she swung partly underneath.

"I'm definitely not going to lie. It was definitely hard to regain your focus," Douglas said. "You're like, 'Yes, I'm the Olympic champion. I'm a world champion.' It's definitely kind of hard to turn the chapter for event finals."

On parallel bars, Feng gave the Chinese men their third gymnastics gold medal, following the team competition and Zou Kai's win on floor exercise. And they may not be finished, with Zou still to come on high bar, where he is the reigning world and Olympic champion.

Feng flashed a thumbs-up as he walked out for the medals ceremony, and planted a big kiss on the gold after he got it.

Germany's Marcel Nguyen was second, adding another silver to one from the men's all-around. Hamilton Sabot of France won the bronze.

Feng's routine was filled with intricate combinations, yet he did them with the precision of an artist and the rhythm of a musician. He held his handstands for what seemed like forever, looking like a statue, and there wasn't even the slightest hesitation as he went from one skill straight into another.

He hit the mat with a thud on his dismount and was pumping his fists even before he stood upright. He threw a roundhouse punch as he trotted off the podium, and his coach wrapped him in a big hug, pounding his back. When his score of 15.966 was posted, Feng, the 2010 world champion on parallel bars, nodded.

There were still six gymnasts to come, but it would take something pretty special to top Feng. And no one came close.

Nguyen's routine was impressive, but the European champion took a hop forward on his dismount and needed to windmill his arms to steady himself.

Zonderland has long been one of the world's best on high bar, his routine better than any circus act, and all that was missing was an Olympic medal. No longer.

He opened his routine with three straight release moves, not even pausing to catch his breath before tossing himself high into the air again. It's high risk, high reward, and the crowd loved it, oohing and aahing as he flew so high he could have waved into the overhead camera.

He was a blur as he pirouetted on the bar, yet never looked as if he was on the verge of going out of control.

When he hit the mat, he let out a roar. American Jonathan Horton, up next, could only laugh and shake his head, knowing there was no way he - or anyone - could top that show.

He was right, with Zonderland scoring a 16.533 - a number not usually seen outside the vault. Zonderland broke into a grin when he saw the mark and pointed at the scoreboard.

It was the Netherlands' first gymnastics medal since 1928, when the women's team won gold.

Danell Leyva and Jonathan Horton finished fifth and sixth, respectively. The U.S. men leave the games with just one medal, Leyva's bronze in the all-around.

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