United States gymnast McKayla Maroney, chosen for the 2012 national women’s gymnastics team for her out-of-this-world vaulting skills, has proven she is, in fact, mortal on the vault. She fell on her second vault of the event finals and Romania’s Sandra Izbasa was able to eke out a win for the gold.
Izbasa finished with a 15.191, while Maroney had a 15.083. So even with a fall, Maroney only lost by a tenth of a point. If she had even given an average performance (by her standards) on the second vault, Maroney would have annihilated Izbasa after a first vault score of 15.866 (the two vaults are averaged for the final score).
Unfortunately, Maroney had the uncharacteristic fall and took silver. One of her trademarks is how high she flies off the vault and her second vault just did not have enough height for her to get her feet under her, which perhaps indicates that there was something wrong with the way she took off from the apparatus.
Russia’s Maria Paseka took the bronze medal. And in a rather amazing display of athletic prowess for a sport dominated by teenagers, 37-year-old Oksana Chusovitina of Germany took fifth place. She is competing at her sixth Olympic Games in 2012, something a woman in gymnastics has never done. Most of her competition on vault wasn’t even born when she went to her first games.