Nastia Liukin joined today the ranks of Mary Lou Retton and Carly Patterson when she won the Olympic gold medal for Women’s Individual All-Around Gymnastics. The 18-year-old Moscow-born Texan stood slightly taller than teammate Shawn Johnson and China’s Yang Yilin when she accepted the first gold medal awarded to the United States for gymnastics at Beijing. Both the American men and women had achieved only silver until tonight.
Liukin and Johnson secured the first Olympic gold-silver finish for the United States. The girls were favored to place tonight, although the Chinese performance in the team competitions demonstrated the Americans would not win easily.