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Mitchell pipped for gymnastics bronze
By Steve Jancetic
05:31 AEST Wed Aug 8 2012

It was a 10-centimetre blip that cost Lauren Mitchell and Australia a first artistic gymnastics Olympic medal.

Mitchell finished fifth in Tuesday's floor final at the London Games, her 14.833 just shy of Russian Aliya Mustafina's 14.9 and a bronze medal.

Alexandra Raisman of the US was a deserved gold medallist with a flawless routine for a 15.66, with Romania's Catalina Ponor claiming silver with 15.2.

For Mitchell, there was no big error or obvious deduction, just a couple of untidy lands which came back to haunt her.

"0.066 is like that," Mitchell said, motioning with her foot a minor slip that can define a gymnast's career.

"The only thing I can really think of is my third line when I did my front layout - it wasn't as clean as it usually is.

"Probably in the judge's eye, it took away more than it was worth.

"One of my leaps - I kind of covered it but it was still an uncontrollable cover - little things like that."

While no doubt a little disappointed, Mitchell's effort represents Australia's best ever result in artistic gymnastics at an Olympics, bettering the sixth placing the team achieved in the team's final in Beijing.

Already the nation's first ever women's world champion - which she won on the floor in 2000 - Mitchell continues to break new ground for Australian gymnastics.

She was proud of what she achieved - if a little disappointed.

"I was 0.066 away from a medal so that's pretty damn close. I did everything in training but the other girls were better than me," Mitchell said.

"Feeling my routine and watching the other girls' routines, their execution felt a bit cleaner than mine so I don't think I could have ever taken the money.

"I think it would have been more heartbreaking to come equal and then because of execution come fourth."

That happened to Italy's Vanessa Ferrari, who missed a medal despite also scoring 14.9. She lost on a countback due to an inferior execution score to Mustafina, who collected her fourth medal of the Games.

Raisman added a bronze on the beam to her floor gold, but only after the US team asked for an inquiry after she or had originally finished fourth.

Her elevation to third on review denied Ponor a bronze medal in the three-time Olympic champion's final appearance, with China's Deng Linlin taking gold and her compatriot Sui Lu.

Dutchman Epke Zonderland thrilled fans to take gold in what proved to be a fiercely contested horizontal bar final, with Germany's Fabian Hambuchen taking silver and China's defending champion Zou Kai claiming bronze.

Feng Zhe of China won gold on the parallel bars when he posted a 15.966 early in the final which nobody could better.

Germany's Marcel Nguyen added another silver medal to the one he won in the individual all-around final while Hamilton Sabot of France finished third.

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