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U.S. GYMNASTS FINISH 0-FOR-SYDNEY

SYDNEY, Australia -- With a sitdown on the vault and a surf on the beam, the American gymnasts are 0-for-Sydney.

Blaine Wilson finished sixth in the vault finals and Elise Ray was eighth in the balance beam Monday, ending any hope the Americans had of winning a gymnastics medal in the 2000 Games.

The American women finished fourth and the men fifth, and no one won any individual medals. It's the first time since 1972 the United States has been shut out of a gymnastics medal, not counting the boycotted 1980 Olympics in Moscow.

"You always come in expecting to win. You don't come in expecting second or third," Wilson said. "Whatever. But I'm tired of explaining the fact that winning a medal doesn't make you a person. That's all there is to it."

While the Americans couldn't manage to win a medal, Alexei Nemov kept adding to his haul. The Russian, who won the men's all-around, won the gold on the high bar. He also won a bronze on the floor.

He won six medals in Sydney, matching his total from Atlanta. As he walked off the podium after his high bar routine, Nemov saulted the crowd, smiling and waving as the fans cheered.

Benjamin Varonian of France had the same score as Nemov, a 9.787, but he won the silver on a tiebreaker

Lee Joo-Hyung of South Korea won the bronze. He also won silver on the parallel bars.

Russia's Svetlana Khorkina, the 21-year-old Russian pinup who is expected to embark on an acting and modelling career, made a dramatic exit from the competitive stage.

Performing her floor routine to a Spanish guitar, the elegant Russian was at her alluring best and looked to have collected her second gold when her mark of 9.812 flashed on the screen.

But teammate Yelena Zamolodchikova, a last minute replacement for Khorkina in the vault on Sunday, was in no mood to return favours, knocking her teammate from the top of the podium.

"I did not, as you say, pinch that gold from Svetlana," said Zamolodchikova. "Svetlana was not performing well on the vault and thought that I should replace her.

"I think that was very sportsmanlike of her."

Khorkina did win the gold medal in the uneven parallel bars.

Gervasio Deferr of Spain won gold in the men's vault, and Li Xiaopeng won gold on the parallel bars. China's Liu Xuan won the gold in the balance beam.

Wilson, going last in the vault, almost landed on his backside on his first vault and had to crabwalk backward to keep himself from falling. He nailed his second vault, but its start value was only a 9.60.

Alexei Bondarenko of Russia took the silver in the vault and Leszek Blanik of Poland won gold.

Beam isn't Ray's strongest event, and she had trouble. She missed a connection between two of her tricks, lowering the difficulty of her routine.

On an aerial somersault, she had a shaky landing, wobbling back and forth so much she almost looked like she was surfing.

Ray held on, but her 9.387 wasn't good enough for a medal.

Yekaterina Lobazniouk of Russia won the silver medal on beam, and Yelena Prodounova of Russia took the bronze.

Simona Amanar of Romania, who already has a gold from the team competition and a silver from the all-around, completed her medals set with a bronze in the floor.

Meanwhile, Romanian gymnast Andreea Raducan, winner of two gold medals and one silver, is under investigation for a possible positive drug test, a Romanian official said Monday.

The IOC medical commission notified the Romanian gymnastics' delegation that Raducan's test showed "positive signs" of the banned stimulant ephedrine, delegation head Alexandru Mogos told Romanian national radio.

The 4-foot-10 Raducan won the two most prestigious gold medals at the Sydney Olympics, the team competition and women's all-around.

The 16-year-old Raducan was allowed to compete Monday, finishing seventh in the floor exercise. On Sunday, she added a silver medal in the vault to the golds she won in the all-around and the team competition.

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