Exquisite Kanaeva twirls to rhythmic gymnastics gold in London Olympics

Beijing gold medalist Evgenia Kanaeva defended her Olympic rhythmic gymnastics title in the individual all-around category in London on Saturday with four exquisite performances.

Kanaeva, 22, was the only gymnast to score more than 29 points in the ball, hoop and club, falling short of that mark only with the ribbon to retain the Olympic gold she won four years ago on a 116.9 total.

Her fellow Russian Daria Dmitrieva, 19, scintillated with the ribbon to take the silver on 114.5.

Liubou Charkashyna of Azerbaijan took the bronze with 111.575 after impressing particularly with the hoop.

Kanaeva, a multiple world champion, became the sport's first competitor to retain the Olympic gold, cementing her status as the world's No. 1 rhythmic gymnast.

"Gymnastics has been part of my life since I was six years old," Kanaeva said. "It was not my target to be a legend, but I do like the sound of it. I love gymnastics and I want the audience to remember me."

Dmitrieva, meanwhile, underlined what the silver meant to her as a Russian.

"I'm not only proud of myself, I am proud of my country," she said.

"There are so many people, wonderful coaches and our parents. I am very proud of my country."

First published in RIA Novosti.

All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

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