Olympics: Aliya Mustafina wins uneven bars, Gabby Douglas 8th

Defeat has been relatively foreign to Gabby Douglas, who recently became just the fourth American ever to win the all-around gymnastics tournament at the Olympics, thus far at London.

On Monday, though, a series of small but significant mistakes doomed Douglas to 8th place in the uneven bars event, thanks to a score that left her more than a point behind Beth Tweddle of Great Britain, who won bronze. Nevertheless, Douglas proved that she could handle a loss just as well as a victory.

“I wanted to finish as strong as I could,” said a frank Douglas afterward. “I wasn’t my best and the other girls were amazing.”

Most amazing of the other girls was Aliya Mustafina, who improved on her bronze in the all-arounds winning gold with a sensational 16.133, a score that put her a full two-tenths ahead of China’s He Kexin, who won silver.

“I was hoping I’d done everything I could to win this,” said Mustafina, whose last 18 months have been dominated by an arduous recovery from an ACL injury.

Just behind Kexin was Tweddle, who finally won an Olympic medal on her third attempt. Although she lost any chance of winning in the very last moments, when she failed to land well and took two steps before coming to a halt, Tweddle was mostly uninterested in considering what could have been.

“I landed on my feet, I’ve got a medal around my neck and that’s all I’m bothered about,” said Tweddle, who won the world championship for the event as recently as 2010.

Although she will not do so immediately, Tweddle plans to retire after these Games are finished.