The U.S. gymnastics team (from left to right) Bridget Sloan, Alicia Sacramone, Samantha Peszek, Chellsie Memmel, Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson with their silver medals after Wednesday's competition.
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Beijing marked the second consecutive Olympics in which the U.S. women walked away with silver after having entered the Games as the overwhelming favorite. They were undone this year by a series of mistakes on the final two rotations, including Alicia Sacramone's fall off the balance beam.
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Things didn't get much better for Sacramone in the floor exercise, where she landed on her back during her second pass.
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Nastia Liukin was one of three U.S. gymnasts to step out of bounds in the floor exercise.
5 of 11Peter Read Miller/SI
Even Shawn Johnson, the reigning world champ in the floor exercise and the reigning all-around champ, stepped out of bounds during the final rotation.
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Nastia Liukin and her teammates had gone into the final exercise trailing China by a point.
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China's winning score of 188.9 was more than two points better than the Americans, who said after the competition that Chellsie Memmel had competed only on the uneven bars because of a broken bone in her right ankle.
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Bridget Sloan competed in the vault for the U.S., her only event in the final.
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Samantha Peszek was basically reduced to being a cheerleader after spraining her left ankle on Sunday.
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Coach Martha Karolyi did her best to console and encourage Sacramone and the rest of the U.S. gymnasts.
11 of 11Al Tielemans/SI
In the end Shawn Johnson and the U.S. congratulated China's champs for a job well done.
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