Gabby Douglas won loud cheers as she prepared to take the beam today, but her performance ended her Olympics debut on a sour note.
From the beginning, the U.S. gymnast was wobbly in the women's beam final. A fall off the beam sank her hopes of a medal, but her performance was marked by near-falls throughout.
Her fall came after a backhand spring that she failed to land. Her right foot slipped, causing Douglas to fall to the beam and hang on with her arms. She managed to avoid injury, but her score of 13.633 landed her in last place.
Teammate Aly Raisman's fortunes were different. After judges watched an instant replay, they boosted her from fourth place to a bronze medal.
Raisman was much more in control than Douglas, avoiding fatal errors. Her only missteps were a balance check on her front full and a slight bounce on her Arabian double dismount, but the Massachusetts native narrowly missed the bronze medal with a score of 14.966.
After U.S. officials protested the result, however, judges watched her routine on the monitors, announcing within minutes that they would raise her execution score to 6.3, tying her total score with Romanian Catalina Ponor. Because her execution score was higher than Ponor's, Raisman won the bronze medal.
The surprise win for Raisman was redemption for the stoic team captain, who narrowly missed out on the bronze medal after she lost a tiebreaker in the women's all-around final. Douglas won that event, becoming the first African-American to do so.
Deng Linlin and Sui Lu of China won the gold and silver medals in the beam final.
Later, in the floor exercise, Raisman bested Ponor again, taking the gold over Ponor's silver by a margin of .400. Aliya Mustafina, the Russian gymnast who took the gold in the uneven bars, in which Douglas placed a disappoiting eighth, won bronze on the floor.
American star gymnast Jordyn Weiber finished seventh, and her coach, John Geddert, told the Associated Press that she may have been competing with a stress fracture in her leg.
Weiber played a pivotal role in the Americans' gold medal-winning team performance, but she will leave London with no individual medals.
Raisman finishes out her time at London 2012 with gold medals in the team and floor events and a bronze from the beam final.