American Women Top Gymnastics All-Around

American Nastia Liukin leaps during the floor exercise in the individual all-around gymnastics final i i

hide captionAmerican Nastia Liukin competes on the floor during the individual all-around gymnastics final of the Beijing Olympics. She won the gold medal.

Lluis Gene/AFP/Getty Images
American Nastia Liukin leaps during the floor exercise in the individual all-around gymnastics final

American Nastia Liukin competes on the floor during the individual all-around gymnastics final of the Beijing Olympics. She won the gold medal.

Lluis Gene/AFP/Getty Images
Shawn Johnson is suspended midair as she grabs for the uneven bars in the all-around final i i

hide captionShawn Johnson of the United States competes on the uneven bars during the individual all-around gymnastics final on Day 7 of the Beijing Olympics. Johnson was the silver medalist.

Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
Shawn Johnson is suspended midair as she grabs for the uneven bars in the all-around final

Shawn Johnson of the United States competes on the uneven bars during the individual all-around gymnastics final on Day 7 of the Beijing Olympics. Johnson was the silver medalist.

Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

After a disappointing loss to China in team gymnastics, the American women have rallied in a big way. Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson came from behind to win gold and silver in the individual all-around.

Luikin was trailing China's Yang Yilin after two events. Then she mounted the balance beam and never looked back. After an elegant, cart-wheeling dismount, the crowd in Beijing responded.

Liukin — the world champ in balance beam — was ahead to stay. Afterward, she talked about the turning point.

"I knew I had to go out there and go all out and not hold anything back. And that's something my dad has always taught me. Don't go into a competition thinking am I going to make it or am I going to fall?" she said.

Dad is Valeri Liukin, a four-time Olympic medalist for the Soviet Union. He's Nastia's coach.

In 1988, Valeri Liukin took silver in the men's all-around in Seoul. He said his daughter's victory made up for that.

For Johnson — the reigning world champ in the all-around — silver seemed bittersweet. But she also said the victory served as a statement after the painful loss to China in the team competition.

"We did make mistakes in the team finals, and China deserved that gold. But it shows that we do have more to give and we just kind of came back today and showed the world that we are the strong USA team that we've been saying we were," Johnson said.

Liukin and Johnson are only the third pair from the same country to take silver and gold in the event. The Soviet Union did it in 1960, and Romania in 2000.

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