Carly Patterson: New Olympics Golden Girl
"I was just so ready and excited for this," Patterson, the first American to take the honor since Retton 20 years ago, told reporters afterward. "I just had one of the best performances of my life."
After her feat, a sobbing Patterson leapt into the arms of her coach, Evgeny Marchenko.
Patterson's turn on the uneven bars did leave her with a couple of arm bruises, which she revealed to Today host Katie Couric on Friday morning's program. "Everybody gets these," Patterson, a Texas native who will start 11th grade next month, assured a concerned Couric.
The 5' Patterson, the last performer of the evening, beat Russian gymnast Svetlana Khorkina, 25, the self-proclaimed Queen of Gymnastics, by less than two-tenths of a point to claim the gold. Patterson's final score was 9.712.
On Today, Retton, 36, and now a Houston mother of four girls, told Patterson, who aspires to be a dental hygienist: "Carly, I am so proud of you. The country is so proud of you. You have started a new era in America … inspiring young women all over."
Wednesday night, Paul Hamm, 21, of Wisconsin took the gold in the men's all-around gymnastics event.
And on the celebrity front, Kristin Davis is at the Olympics in Athens, doing what she can to help bring the games to New York City in 2012.
"It seems like such a smart plan and I feel like we already have a wonderful international element happening in New York. We have such a supportive community," the Sex and the City alum, 39 (who's developing her own series for HBO), tells the Associated Press.
"You can find every different nationality supporting every different sport – some you might have never even heard of – in all five boroughs. I think it's such a no-brainer. You already have a ticket-buying crowd."
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