RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil -- Shawn Johnson is going home with a
handful of Pan American Games medals.
So are her teammates.
Johnson led the U.S. women gymnasts to another big haul Tuesday,
winning two golds and a silver in the individual apparatus events.
She won the all-around title on Monday, leading a U.S. sweep, and
helped the Americans to the team gold on Saturday.
The 15-year-old rising star of American gymnastics took the
balance beam and uneven bars gold, beating teammate Nastia Liukin
in both. That carries extra significance because Liukin won the
2005 world crown on the beam and bars.
"I feel so proud of every thing and that the hard work has
really paid off," said Johnson. "My coaches, parents and
teammates have helped me get through the good times and the hard
times. It is pretty amazing."
Adding to the U.S. medals collection were 14-year-old Rebecca
Bross of Ann Arbor, Mich., with gold in floor exercise, where
Johnson, of Des Moines, Iowa, was second; and Amber Trani, 16, with
silver in the vault. In all, the American women won five of the six
golds available in Rio, and 11 medals overall.
With nationals scheduled for next month and the world
championships coming up in September in Germany, Johnson and her
teammates carry plenty of momentum into those key events on the
road to Beijing. Not to mention a load of confidence.
"These few days have provided a terrific opportunity for our
athletes to represent their country and sharpen their competitive
skills. We are all proud of them," said Steve Penny, president of
"In Santo Domingo [in 2003], I got the bronze," said
17-year-old Liukin, of Parker, Texas. "This year, I could've gone
further, but I just underwent surgery on my right ankle, which
jeopardized my performance a little. Considering, I think silver is
a good result."
Trani of Richlandtown, Pa., in her first major international,
won silver behind Brazil's Jade Barbosa in the vault. The
14-year-old Trani was the only American in the event.
"Since it's my first international competition, I believe the
silver medal was a great achievement," she said.
The U.S. men's team got in on the medals as Justin Spring of
Burke, Va., won the parallel bars; Guillermo Alvarez of Denver was
second to Brazil's Diego Hypolito in floor exercise; and Sean
Golden (Camden, N.J.) earned a silver on the rings, trailing Regulo
Carmona of Venezuela.
"The technical level of the competition was really good,"
Golden said. "That's why I'm proud of being among the three best
at the Pan Ams."
Bross is ineligible for the Beijing Games because she won't be
15 this year; her birthday was last week.
Other men's winners were Hypolito in the vault; Mosiah Rodrigues
of Brazil on the high bar; Venezuela's Jose Luis Fuentes -- the
all-around men's winner -- and Luis Rivera of Puerto Rico, who
shared gold in the pommel horse.
"I am very happy and I think the effort was worthwhile," said
Hypolito, who in 2005 became the first Brazilian man to win gold at
the world championships. "I dedicate this victory to my parents
and I thank Brazilian fans for all the support."