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Grecian gymnast flies high

Greece ended a 100-year Olympic drought in gymnastics and made Vitaly Scherbo wait another day for a record seventh gold medal.

Ioannis Melissanidis' high-flying floor routine earned him a 9.850 and victory in Sunday's event final. He is the first Greek to win a gymnastics medal since the first modern games in 1896, when Ioannis Mitropoulos won the still rings.

When the final scores were posted, Melissanidis' coach jumped up and down, and the triumphant gymnast waved kisses to the crowd.

Li Xiaoshuang of China, the all-around champion, won the silver and Russia's Alexei Nemov took the bronze.

Scherbo failed to medal in his best event for the second Olympics in a row. He had a disastrous routine in Sunday night's event finals and finished seventh out of eight competitors.

He looked shaky during warmups, flying out of bounds on a tumbling pass, and his nerves didn't settle by the time he performed. He took a huge hop backward on his second tumbling pass, when he tried a double-twisting double somersault that he'd yet to do at the Olympics.

He got off-balance on his next pass, taking a big step forward as if he'd tripped over something and nearly falling. He walked off shaking his head, then sat on the floor and buried his head in his hands. He shook his head again as his score of 9.275 was announced.

Li's routine was solid, as he soared high on his tumbling passes and was solid on his landings. He pumped his fists in the air as he finished, and slapped hands with his coaches.

But he didn't have Melissanidis' flair, and finished with a 9.837.

Nemov's routine was clean except for a slight hop on his first tumbling run. He ran off the floor grinning, and smiled as his score of 9.8 was posted.

Simona Amanar of Romania won the women's vault. Mo Huilan of China took silver and Gina Gogean of Romania bronze.

The men competed in the pommel horse and rings late Sunday night; the women in the uneven bars.

The individual competition continues today.

After 16 years of gymnastics, Jair Lynch would like to culminate his career by winning his first Olympic medal. He gets one more chance in the parallel bars.

"I definitely realize I have a job to do," Lynch said. "This is not just making the Olympic team and then breathing a sigh of relief. I have a good chance to do something special."

He was one of only two Americans who qualified for individual event finals. Blaine Wilson, the national champion, competed in the still rings final Sunday.

For the women, Dominique Moceanu competes in the beam and the floor exercise. Shannon Miller also competes in the beam, where she won a silver medal at Barcelona.

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