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          Olimpic Games in Atlanta 1996

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Ekaterina Serebrianskaya is Olimpic Champion!

The Ukrainian, Ekaterina Serebriansjaya, earned perfect 5s in her composition for each of her routines and finished 39,683 points on Sunday to win the Olympic rhythmic gymnastics individual all-round.

Yanina Batyrichina from Russia won the silver and Elena Vitrichenko from Ukraine took the bronze. Amina Zaripova of Russia was fourth and Bulgaria's Maria Petrova, who shares the world champion title with Serebrianskaya. finished 5th.

Serebrianskaya looked as if she had the gold locked up after turning in three nearly flawless routines. She earned 9,95s - the highest score of the competition - on her rope, ball and clubs and was awarded perfect 5s for the composition in each.

But in her final routine, Serebrianskaya misjudged a toss of her ribbon, throwing it a little too far from her. When she went to grab it, she caught was air       

She walked off the floor with a smile on her face, but started shaking her head as she sat down to wait for her score. She was awarded a 9,833 - and another 5 on composition - with Petrova and Vitrichenko still left to compete  

Petrova was solid, but not spectacular. Then Vitrichenko took the floor and turned in one of the best performances of the competition. She had the crowd clapping as she twirled and tossed her ribbon and gracefully twisted her body.         

Vitrichenko seemed to have more flair and flexibility all afternoon, but she never mach for Serebrianskaya's grace. The last routine was no different as she earned 9,816. That dropped her to the third position behind Serebrianskaya and Batyrchina, who had boached her ribbon routine , too.           

The crowd booed, and Vitrichenko stared at the scoreboard as she couldn't believe what she saw.          

Petrova was solid in every routine, bit she never got high scores awarded to Serebrianskaya, Batirchina and Vitrichenko. When she recievd a 9,783 for what appeared to be near-flawless ball routine, the crowd at the University of Georgia Coliseum booed while Petrova shrugged her shoulders.

The Associated Press


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