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US women's gymnastic team ranks 2nd in qualification subdivision
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The U.S. women gymnastic team followed China and ranked second as the second qualification session of the Beijing Olympics ended on Sunday afternoon.

The U.S star-studded team captured a total of 246.800 points. China still leads in the qualification with 248.275 points. Romania came third with 238. 425 points.

Nastia Liukin conquered the audience with consecutive somersaults at the beginning of her competition in floor exercise, the first event of the U.S. team.

Another leading gymnast Shawn Johnson staged a lofty performance in her favorite event of vault. The all-around world champion captured 16.000, only 0.150 points behind Chinese vault queen Cheng Fei.

However, in uneven bars, the U.S. girls made mistakes in a row. Injured Chellsie Memmel lost control of her body and fell from the high bar after several smooth shuttle fly between the bars. Liukin failed to maintain a balance in landing and sat on the mat. They gained 15.050 and 15.950 points respectively.

Memmel said of the fall in the mixed zone:"It was a surprise. I have not missed it in workout at all. I am not hurt due to the fall. It was just a mistake I need to fix and I will have to train harder."

Her teammates Liukin also said after the competition that she will have training on Monday to fix the mistake. "I'm just concentrating on the finals. To be here in Beijing, it's a dream of mine and to be here and competing at the Olympic Games is amazing."

The U.S. team was dealt a blow just before the competition. Samantha Peszek got injured in her left ankle in warm-up and reduced the number of team members in good health further from five to four. Memmel had been wounded in her ankle in pre-training.

"It is the last moment of our warm-up when Samantha got injured. We are shocked, but we are a strong team. No matter what happened, we will not fall down. So we just kept practicing and moving on," said Johnson."She (Peszek) is still trying to come back."

"We have made a few mistakes, but it is preliminary, so we have plenty of time to make up," added Johnson.

Italian all-around star Vanessa Ferrari chose to stage a floor exercise routine with a difficulty of about 6. She brought to her team 14.650 points in the event. In the balance beam, however, she fell from the apparatus. This mistake made her only capture 14.775 points.

Ferrari total score of 58.300 gave her a ranking of the 12th after the second subdivision.

(Xinhua News Agency August 10, 2008)

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