Johnson wins U.S. all-around — by a lot

Shawn Johnson’s hundred megawatt smile, a grin that lights up her entire face and most of the room, never faded during the second night of competition at the U.S. Championships Saturday.

 Shawn Johnson won the national all-around title Saturday night by more than three points -- a huge margin in gymnastics.

Nor was there any reason for it to. Johnson, the only gymnast in the competition to put together eight routines without a mistake, won the all-around by 3.45 points, the largest margin in U.S. history.

The performance was probably even more dominant than the numbers. Johnson, who stands at 4’9″, was simply head and shoulders above the rest.

2005 and 2006 champion Nastia Liukin, expected to be Johnson’s main competition, showed up in San Jose not ready to compete on floor and vault, the result of a severe ankle injury sustained eight months ago.

Nastia Liukin was great on bars, but struggled on everything else at the 2007 U.S. Championships.

The result was disastrous for Liukin — she nearly fell on vault on both days, fell on her back on floor during the second night and did a front flip onto her back after landing her dismount on uneven bars too far forward at the end of the first night.

Liukin’s third-place finish was a gift — and a testament to the preparation of the rest of the team.

Silver medalist Shayla Worley, rebounding from two injuries in 2006, began her comeback by falling off the balance beam on her first major skill (standing Arabian) on day one. It wasn’t the start she wanted, but Worley performed calmly and competently for the rest of the competition, turning in the only performances that even came close to Johnson’s in terms of flawlessness.

 Shayla Worley balanced a silver medal in San Jose, despite a fall from the balance beam on the first day of competition.

Ivana Hong, second after the first day, missed her swing on uneven bars during her first performance of the finals round. Visibly upset, the self-proclaimed perfectionist lost her focus and overrotated her beam dismount on her way to a fourth-place finish.

Bridget Sloan, third going into the finals, fell off the balance beam during finals but fought back with stuck tumbling passes on floor and a nailed Yurchenko one-and-a-half on vault to finish fifth.

 Bridget Sloan fell from third to fifth after the second day of competition.

Samantha Peszek, who couldn’t have done much worse than she did on the first night of competition if she tried, regained her composure on night two and battled from tenth to seventh.

 Alicia Sacramone was impressive on her best events during the second night of competition.

Even Alicia Sacramone, who has been the rock of the U.S. team on vault and floor since 2004, missed the landing on her triple full on floor during the first night. Sacramone’s training time has been somewhat compromised due to her decision to give NCAA gymnastics a try. She competed fairly watered-down routines for Brown University during the winter while juggling Ivy-league coursework and an elite’s training schedule and didn’t look quite like her usual self in competition, although she did a great floor routine during finals.

 Chellsie Memmel competed floor in San Jose to make a statement, not the world team.

2005 world champion Chellsie Memmel, who injured her shoulder during the middle of the team competition at last year’s world championships, performed on floor during the first day of competition and scratched on night two. Memmel’s goal, she said, remains the 2008 Olympic Team. As someone who missed out on 2004 because of injury, she knows better
than to push it before she’s ready.

Liukin might be well-suited to take the same advice. Although named to the World team Saturday night, it seems highly doubtful she’ll perform on anything except bars and beam.

Other world team members are Worley, Hong, Sloan, Peszek, Sacramone and, of course, Johnson.

Final results

1. Shawn Johnson, 123.65
2. Shayla Worley, 120.20
3. Nastia Liukin, 118.50
4. Ivana Hong, 118.45
5. Bridget Sloan, 118.00
6. Geralen Stack-Eaton, 116.50
7. Samantha Peszek, 116.30
8. Jana Bieger, 115.60
9. Darlene Hill, 114.65
10. Natasha Kelley, 113.65
11. Amber Trani, 112.55
12. Christa Tanella, 111.85
13. Katelyn Mohr, 111.35
14. Randy Stageberg, 110.05
15. Catherine Nguyen, 109.55
16. Alaina Johnson, 109.20
Alicia Sacramone, 92.40

One Response to “Johnson wins U.S. all-around — by a lot”

  1. blogomment Says:

    Saying that Shawn won by the largest margin in US history is a bit misleading. Maybe in the history of the New Code sure, but it’s not quite right to compare scores from today to scores from when the highest you could possibly get was an 80 for two days of all around competition.

    I’m sure there’s some mathematical gymnastics that can be done to find out for sure if that’s really the largest margin of victory or if it’s just the result of having bigger numbers involved.

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