THE darling of Australian artistic gymnastics, Lauren Mitchell, has produced an outstanding performance but finished just short of a medal in the final of the floor routine at London's iconic O2 Arena.
In a dazzling pink leotard that fitted perfectly in the pink arena, Mitchell gave her all in the performance that had a high level of difficulty and complex choreography. Her full twist double pike back was excellent but a couple of small stumbles on landing cost her on execution.
"My third line when I did my front layout - it wasn't as clean as it usually is," the 21-year-old said. "One of my leaps - it was an uncontrollable cover. I just wanted to perform my routine and I hope that's what the judges, and everyone saw."
The judges awarded the young West Australian a high score of 6.4 for difficulty, the second highest of the competition. Her 8.433 for execution saw her finish her routine with a total of 14.833.
"I guess (I'm) relieved," Mitchell said after competition. "Relieved that it is over. Relieved that I did everything in training."
Her score placed her in third position with four more routines still to come, and a nervous wait ensued to find out her final result. With a pool of eight very talented gymnasts, Mitchell couldn't hold onto her podium spot, eventually finishing fifth, just 0.067 points off a medal.
"That's pretty damned close!" Mitchell said of her fantastic performance. "You can reflect on what you really need to change but I am not going to change anything in my training because I know that preparation was really good."
The highest placed qualifier leading into the final, American Alexandra Raisman was the eventual gold medallist. The 18-year-old from Boston produced a magnificent and flawless performance, scoring 6.5 for difficulty and 9.1 for execution - for a total of 15.6.
Silver was taken by the 2004 Olympic Champion on floor, and a veteran of the sport at 24, Catalina Ponor of Romania. The oldest competitor in the field, her experience and skill on the floor showed, connecting difficult skills together and producing plenty of height with solid landings.
Vanessa Ferrari of Italy and Aliya Mustafina of Russia tied on 14.900 in third position - with the bronze going to Mustafina who had a 9.000 execution score to Ferrari's 8.700.
It was a difficult day of competition for many of the girls. The 2011 World Champion on floor, Russian Kseniia Afanaseva, stumbled into sixth place. In the biggest shock of the day however, the 2008 Olympic Champion Sandra Izbasa of Romania fell in her routine and finished in last place on 13.333.
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