The Comeback Kid

KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP-GETTY IMAGES

SO NEAR Khorkina eyes Patterson's all-around gold after missing her last chance to win it

In the end, guts beat grace. Thursday night at Athens' Olympic Indoor Hall, Carly Patterson bounced back from a klutzy performance in the team event and pranced, pirouetted and double-piked her way to gold in gymnastics' marquee event, the women's individual all-around competition. The 16-year-old pocket dynamo from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, became the first American woman to claim the medal since Mary Lou Retton in 1984. "You dream about this your whole life," she marveled afterwards. "Then you win the gold medal."

Or you dream about it your whole life, then lose. That's what happened to...

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