After a masterful showing on the uneven bars in Beijing on Thursday night, Yilin Yang of China took home the bronze medal. Her hopes for gold or silver faded after a great, but not perfect, performance on the floor to "Old MacDonald."
"I believe she had a shot for the gold, but she lost her balance just a bit on the 'oink oink here' tumbling passage," said her coach through a translator.
This was Yang's first major international placement, following a difficult spring where she not only had to focus on gymnastics, but also had to learn to read.
"It was hard because I had to work hard but I just wanted to play and make friends. Now I have this medal, though, and it is my favorite toy," said Yang.
Yang can't play just yet, as she is still set to compete for more individual medals. After a difficulty mounting tonight, it is uncertain whether she will compete on the balance beam, or she calls it, "the horsie game." Still, her coach has high hopes that she will medal in at least one other event.
Russian Ksenia Semenova, who just missed top three placement, was amazed by Yang.
"I am wanting the medal of bronze, but she do better and will have great," said Semenova.
US gold medalist Nastia Liukin was grateful for Yang's mistake in the final round.
"She was all up on us all night and I was super nervous. Luckily, "Old MacDonald" demands some difficult rhythmic passages, and to be honest, I don't think she really connected with the whole 'E-I-E-I-O' thing. Should've been more balletic."
The medal ceremony proved to be a special time for Yang, where she was hand-delivered her medal by the tooth fairy. Yang, who has been forced to sleep on a pommel horse without a pillow for the last twelve years, was both thrilled and enchanted.
"I hear about the tooth fairy, but she has never come to me. The Olympics are my favorite thing in the world-next to Mao."
Olympic dreams become an Olympic reality for young Yilin Yang.