"I'm just on cloud nine," Liukin says after wining her fifth medal in the Beijing Games

By Cynthia Wang
Updated August 19, 2008 04:05 PM
AP; Rob Carr/AP

Never in a non-American summer Games has USA Gymnastics won so many medals – and most of them belong to Texan Nastia Liukin.

By getting the silver on the balance beam Tuesday, Liukin tied gymnastic greats Mary Lou Retton and Shannon Miller with five medals in a single Olympics, including the gold in the all-around, three silver and one bronze.

“I’m just on cloud nine,” Liukin said after winning a silver on the balance beam. “To say I have five medals at my first Olympic Games means the world to me. And just having one gold is OK because it is the one that means the most.”

Meanwhile, teammate and roommate Shawn Johnson, of which so much was expected, finally ended her Olympic experience on a happy note with a gold on the balance beam.

“This moment feels better than I thought it ever would because I’ve gone through a lot of hard times this week,” Johnson said. “I fulfilled my dream and that means more to me than anything.”

Another lucky gymnast was Jonathan Horton, who earned a silver on the horizontal bar in men’s apparatus finals. “I hit the floor and I looked at [coach] Mark [Williams] and I said, ‘Do you believe what just happened?'” said Horton. Then referring to mandatory drug testing, Horton quipped, “Right now, I’m about to go pee in a cup. The celebrations will be after that!”