Russian rhythmic superstar Yevgenia Kanayeva defended her Olympic gold medal Saturday in the final at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Silver medalist Daria Dmitriyeva, Kanayeva and bronze medalist Lyubov Charkashyna
Russian rhythmic superstar Yevgenia Kanayeva defended her Olympic gold medal Saturday in the final at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Kanayeva posted the top score on every event to easily take the gold medal over teammate Daria Dmitriyeva, 116.900-114.500. Belarusian Lyubov Charkashyna grabbed the bronze with 111.700.
With 17 world championship gold medals, the 22-year-old Kanayeva is already the most successful rhythmic gymnast of all time. On Saturday, she added another historic footnote by accomplishing what no other rhythmic gymnast has done: win a second Olympic gold medal in the individual all-around.
Prior to Saturday, only three rhythmic gymnasts have two Olympic medals in the all-around: Ukraine's Anna Bessonova (bronze in 2004 and 2008), Russia's Alina Kabayeva (bronze in 2000 and gold in 2004), Alexandra Timoshenko (bronze in 1988 for the Soviet Union and gold in 1992 for Ukraine).
The 19-year-old Dmitriyeva, a late replacement for injured teammate Alexandra Merkulova, had the second-best score on every event. Staring with 28.300 with the hoops, she increased her score by each event, scoring 28.350 with the ball, 28.750 with the clubs and finally 29.100 with the ribbon.
With the gold and silver comfortably sewn up by the Russians, the battle for bronze was the biggest fight of the day at Wembley Arena.
After the first rotation, Charkashyna put her in third ahead of Korean Son Yeon-Jae and Azerbaijan's Aliya Garayeva. Son's elegant ball routine, which scored just .025 behind Dmitriyeva, shot the Korean to third place at the halfway point.
But Son lost her chance for a medal with her clubs exercise, which brought only the ninth-best score on that apparatus, 26.750. Charkashyna moved back into the bronze medal spot with 27.525 on clubs, but Garayeva kept the pressure on her with 27.575.
Garayeva saved her best for last, earning 28.250 with the ribbon and moving into a medal position. But Charkashyna, 24, delivered 28.075 to knock her off the podium by .125.
Son closed with 28.350, the third-best ribbon score behind the Russians, but it wasn't enough to move her into the medals and she missed the bronze by .225. Son, 18, has quickly become one of the most popular faces in Korean sports and is sought after for endorsements.
Olympic gymnastics competition concludes Sunday with the group final. The Russian group, which topped Italy and Belarus in qualification, is favored to take another gold.