Vault and Bars Finals
I am really pleased with what happened yesterday in Tokyo. The two top qualifiers gave fantastic performances to win gold medals. McKayla’s vaults were gorgeous and powerful as always, and Viktoria, while not quite as flawless, delivered her typical, smooth bars routine with a missed handstand or two.
I am probably more excited about the places below them, because we all knew that if they hit, Maroney and Komova were going to win vault and bars. First, Chusovitina is amazing. She won silver on vault 20 years ago, and received her 9th world vault medal here. Then, our bronze medallist, Phan, made history for her country. She already did it by qualifying to the final, but a medal? Who ever would have guessed that Vietnam would get a medal at these worlds? This is so great for her and Vietnamese gymnastics. Unfortunately, Jade Barbosa, who I thought would probably get the bronze, hurt her ankle when she took an awkward step after her second vault. Pena, who tried the Produnova, landed on her back and did not get credit. Thankfully, she did not look injured.
On bars, it was two typically inconsistent team players who rounded out the medals. Neither of them have won individual medals before, and it is great to see them being successful, especially because they are both nowhere near locks for their respective olympic teams. Tatiana Nabieva has really stepped up at these worlds, hitting all of her routines. Her routine is not as spectacular without the “Nabieva” release, but I like it. She has become cleaner over the past year, and is not nearly as unpredictable. She was thrilled with her silver medal. Huang Qiushuang was only added to the Chinese team because they really needed her vault, but has done a decent job here. She was a contender for the world title on bars last year, but fell in finals. I love her gymnastics, and I am happy that she has finally earned an individual medal on the world stage. Gabrielle Douglas, who was a contender for the bronze, hit her feet on the bars and missed a connection, knocking her out of the medal hunt. She has tons of potential, though, and is planning on upgrading next year.