By Ashlee Buhler
On the second day of event finals for artistic gymnastics, three new champions were crowned inside the Ariake Gymnastics Centre.
The competition started with the Men’s Still Rings Final where the Chinese men topped the podium. Liu Yang took top honors after a cleanly executed routine that gave him the highest execution score of the day (9.0). You Hao won the silver and Eleftherios Petrounias (GRE), who won gold on the event at the 2016 Olympics, did enough to get on the podium once again, this time for a bronze medal.
The theme of Olympic firsts continued in the Women’s Floor Final. Jade Carey was the lone American competing on the second day of event finals but did exactly what she needed to do. Coming into the final, Carey was the only U.S. gymnast on the women’s side without a medal after an unfortunate stumble in the vault final. However, Carey came in hungry to redeem herself and had the performance of a lifetime. And in the end, she was golden.
“Yesterday was really tough for me, but I’m glad that I’m safe and healthy,” Carey said. “For tonight, I had to let that go and give it my all. Having my dad here means everything to me. This is all we’ve ever dreamed of. It’s just really special to get this medal with him by my side.”
It was a long time coming for Vanessa Ferrari (ITA), who won her first Olympic medal in her fourth games after just missing the podium in 2012 and 2016. Set to the tune of “Time to Say Goodbye” by Andrea Bocceli, Ferrari put on a complete show with difficult tumbling, solid landings, and elegant choreography performed with passion. At the age of 30, Ferrari’s silver is the first individual Olympic medal for a female Italian gymnast and adds her name to an exclusive list of women who became Olympic medalists beyond their 20’s.
There was a tie for bronze with the ROC’s Angelina Melnikova, who now has a team gold and two individual bronze medals from Tokyo, and Japan’s Murakami Mai. Murakami qualified into the floor final in eighth place but rallied in the event final to win Japan’s first ever Olympic medal on the women’s side.
More history was made in the last final of the day, Men’s Vault. Shin Jea-hwan became South Korea’s second Olympic Champion in gymnastics and will bring the gold medal back after Yang Hak-eon won the title in 2012. Shin’s stellar performance comes just a day after Yeo Seo-jeong vaulted to bronze and became the first gymnast to win an Olympic medal for South Korea on the women’s side.
Taking silver was the ROC’s Denis Ablyazin. Tokyo marks his third consecutive Olympics’ winning the silver on vault. In third was Artur Davtyan who made history for Armenia by winning the country’s first ever Olympic medal in gymnastics.
The third day of event finals and final day of competition for artistic gymnastics in Tokyo takes place tomorrow and will feature Men’s Parallel Bars, Women’s Beam, and Men’s High Bar.