Energized by her surprise bronze on beam, Raisman's floor routine had an extra spark. Her tumbling passes were some of the most difficult, and she got such great height on them you could have parked a double-decker bus beneath her. Her landings were not only secure, one was so powerful it practically shook the floor.
Coach Mihai Brestyan was hopping up and down and pumping his fist as she finished, and even Raisman was impressed with herself, mouthing "wow" after she saluted the judges. When her score, a 15.6, was posted, teammate McKayla Maroney yelled "whoa!" so loudly from the stands it could be heard across the arena.
"I felt like I had nothing to lose," Raisman said. "It was going to be my last memory for London, so I just wanted to make it count and enjoy it."
Five gymnasts followed her, but none came close. When reigning Olympic champion Sandra Izbasa landed her final tumbling run on her head, Raisman let herself exhale. And smile.
It was the first Olympic gold on floor for a U.S. woman.
"It was definitely the best floor routine that I've ever done," Raisman said. "To have it be at the Olympic Games, in the finals, is just really amazing and just a dream come true. That's what you work for your whole life."
Catalina Ponor, the 2004 champion on floor, won the silver. Aliya Mustafina of Russia got the bronze, her fourth medal of the Olympics.