Natalia Ishchenko gave Russia another gold in synchronized swimming Thursday with what she called a perfect performance.
The silver medalist thought she was even better.
Rekindling the debate over judging in a sport where the results often seemed determined in advance, Spain's Gemma Mengual was clearly upset that her performance in the final of solo free came up a half-point shy of Ishchenko's winning total.
"I hope one day the judges understand that people expect fair and accurate judgments from them," said Mengual, who sobbed on the medal stand as she received her silver.
Judging has long been an issue in the gelled-up sport, which is dominated by the Russians and leaves everyone else believing they have little chance, no matter how well they perform.
Performing to Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake," Ishchenko added to the gold she won in solo technical with a score of 98.833 points, receiving one perfect 10 for technical merit and a straight line of 9.9s for artistic impression.
Russia has won four of five events at the synchro pool. It didn't compete in the free combination.
"I am very happy with my performance," Ishchenko said. "Only at the end of my exercise did I realize I had won the gold medal. My performance was perfect, and this is the result of a lot of training and commitment."
Her coach, Tatiana Danchenko, had a similar assessment.
"I liked very much what I saw," the coach said. "This is the result we expected. Since her debut, Ishchenko has been a great athlete."
Mengual received 98.333 for her routine to Ray Charles' version of the John Lennon song, "Yesterday." She was especially upset that her marks for artistic impression _ all 9.8s _ were slightly lower than the ones for technical merit, where she equaled Ishchenko.
"I was more confident than (the preliminaries) and I felt the crowd supporting me a lot," Mengual said. "The problem is still how the judges evaluate our performances.
"My strength is the artistic impression, and I can't understand how this was evaluated of lower quality than the technical merit."
It was essentially a two-woman race. Italy's Beatrice Adelizzi was far behind (95.500) in third, beating Canada's Chloe Isaac by a half point and pumping up the home crowd at the Foro Italico.
"I still can't believe I won this medal," Adelizzi said. "I really gave it all I had. I would like to thank the crowd for their warm support."