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Ray: no medals, golden experience

THE BALTIMORE SUN

SYDNEY, Australia - With a slight bobble and a twisting dismount, gymnast Elise Ray of Columbia completed her Summer Olympics today.

Ray, who attended Wilde Lake High, scored 9.387 during the balance beam finals. She finished eighth, shut out of the medals.

For Ray, the Olympics were taxing yet rewarding.

In her opening floor routine of the Games, Ray felt a pop in her left shoulder, but gamely continued, explaining, "It's no big deal."

She soldiered on during the team final, performing solidly and helping the United States finish fourth, ever so close to the bronze.

"I think the whole experience of it has been wonderful," she said after the team competition. "It has been hard, too."

For Ray, any chance to win a medal in the all-around was gone in a flash when she was victimized in the vault. The apparatus was set 2 inches too short, and Ray tumbled on her two tries to open the competition. After officials realized the mistaken measurement, Ray was given another chance to show her mettle even though a medal was out of reach.

Darting down the runway, she completed vaults and rose from 35th to 14th in the standings.

This is the first time since 1972 that the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team has failed to win a medal.

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