Originally created 11/05/01

Townsend wins parallel bars at worlds



GHENT, Belgium -- Sean Townsend won the parallel bars title Sunday at the gymnastics world championships, giving the United States its only gold medal.

This was the first individual gold at the worlds for an American man since 1979 when Bart Connor won the parallel bars and Kurt Thomas won the floor and high bar.

Townsend atoned for his finish in the all-around three days earlier. He had crashed to the mat not once but twice to plunge from first to eighth place.

"Emotionally, this was very important for me and this provides some redemption," Townsend said. "I was so anxious to come back and do something really good because I didn't want to go out like that."

Among the women, Andreea Raducan won gold medals Sunday in the balance beam and floor exercise. She earlier won a gold with the Romanian team.

Raducan and all-around champion Svetlana Khorkina of Russia were the two leading women at the championships, each with three gold.

Khorkina added a bronze on the floor and silver in the team event. Raducan was spectacular on the balance beam and the floor Sunday, easing the disappointment of a bronze in the all-around.

"It was not easy but I wanted it badly," Raducan said.

At the Olympics, Raducan lost her gold medal in a drug scandal. The team doctor gave her an over-the-counter cold medicine that contained a banned substance.

"The Olympics are gone now," she said. "Today is today and it was good."

In the final standings, Romania had eight overall, including six gold. Russia relied on its women to win seven medals, including three gold. The men left without a medal for the first time since the Soviet Union and Russian teams started competing in the early 1950s.

The United States was a surprising third, with four medals overall.

Townsend was last to go in the final and was strong throughout to finish with 9.700 points.

"I knew I hit a good routine," he said. "I didn't know the scores but it was just exciting."

Eric Lopez of Cuba won the silver with 9.675. Ivan Ivankov, who already led Belarus to the team gold, took the bronze with 9.637.

All-around champion Feng Jing of China finished fourth in his last final of the championships. After a great routine, he slipped on landing to lose a shot at a medal.

Olympic Champion Li Xiaopeng of China and defending world champion Lee Joo-hyung did not compete.

On the balance beam, Raducan beat silver medalist Ludmila Ejova of Russia. China's only female gymnast at the world championships, Sun Xiaojiao, finished with the bronze.

Olympic champion Liu Xuan and defending world champion Jie Ling, both of China, did not compete.

The beam was the only apparatus final for which Khorkina did not qualify. The Russian won the vault and uneven bars Saturday.

In the floor, Raducan defeated Brazil's Daniele Hypolito, with Khorkina taking the bronze.

Olympic champion Elena Zamolodtchikova of Russia was injured and could not compete.

Romania's Marian Dragulescu won his second gold of the championships Sunday, taking the vault ahead of crowd favorite Evgeny Sapronenko of Latvia.

In the high bar, Greece's Vlasios Maras won the gold medal, ahead of Oleksandr Beresh of Ukraine and Philippe Rizzo of Australia. Defending world champion Jesus Carballo and Olympic champion Alexei Nemov both failed to make the final.