Hong Un Jong opened the vault competition by attempting a Triple Twisting Yurchenko. Sadly she fell and the judges did not credit her full difficulty so it was judged with the difficulty of an Amanar which meant 5 tenths less since the Triple Twisting Yurchenko is valued in a 6.8 while the Amanar is a 6.3. Attempting the risky Triple Twisting Yurchenko instead of the mastered Amanar surely cost her a medal.
Shallon Olsen was second on vault and while she was a contender because of her Amanar vault a poor landing, even without a fall, put her out of the race as many other gymnasts were still to come. However, she was a happy girl since Rio was her Amanar debut and she did it extremely well.
Legend Oksana Chusovitina went for her Produnova vault and it went rather badly as she overrotated and was forced to do a forward roll. For the 7 time Olympian Rio might just not be the end of it as she has hinted she plans to compete at Worlds next year in Canada.
Wang Yan vaulted steadily for the temporary lead yet the difficulty of her vaults “only” 6.0 and 6.2 made it hard for her to maintain that position.
While Giulia Steingruber had less difficult vaults, 5.8 and 6.2, her execution made quite the difference and she took the lead with three gymnasts to go.
India’s Dipa Karmakar went for her Produnova vault and while she sat it down it was enough to give the vault final a big moment of suspense because whoever took the lead then would be securing an Olympic medal and it was Steingruber. Still, Dipa made history for India by finishing 4th.
Maria Paseka who had seen six of her rivals perform knew she was well within the reach of a medal as she had a Cheng and Amanar for vaults. The Cheng was much improved from her qualification vault and while the Amanar was landed with a big step back it was enough to secure the silver medal.
And to close the competition Simone Biles amazed, as always, with her difficulty and superb execution to take the gold and become the first U.S. gymnast to win Olympic Gold in a vault final.
First up in the Uneven Bars final was Venezuela’s Jessica López who was ecstatic after her dismount as she had completed a very solid routine. And while it was far from what it was needed for a medal it was a wonderful way for Jessica to close her career, if she decides to retire after Rio.
Gabrielle Douglas, who had qualified third into the final, had a major break that forced her to pause while performing in the high bar, while she recuperated without another major break or fall, a mistake like that in such a tight final meant she had lost any chance of a medal.
Aliya Mustafina, the defending Olympic Champion on Uneven Bars, delivered the routine of her life to retain her title.
Her closest rival, Madison Kocian, performed after her and finished only 0.067 behind Mustafina. At that moment the gold and silver had been decided as none of the remaining competitors had the difficulty to score above a 15.833, Kocian’s score, or a 15.900 Mustafina’s score.
After Kocian, Sophie Scheder performed a massive routine that would reward her high as she would take third and remain in that position for the rest of the competition.
Shang Chunsong competed next and while her routine was good the execution errors were evident and she was not a threat to any of the gymnasts that were placed in the top three.
Daria Spiridinova, who has two world medals on uneven bars, knew she had every chance to win a bronze as her qualification score was a 0.117 higher than what Sophie Scheder had achieved on bars. Sadly she fell on her transition from the low to the high bar gifting away her medal to Germany. At that time it was not certain which German gymnast would win bronze as Elisabeth Seitz, an uneven bars finalist in London 2012, was yet to perform and she was the last up in the line-up.
Germany suddenly found itself in an unexpected but happy position either way they would be taking home a medal but who would medal was in Seitz hands. She delivered, under immense pressure, a solid routine that kept two teammates in suspense. In the end, there were tears on both sides as Sophie Scheder had won bronze by a 0.033 difference while Elisabeth Seitz had lost bronze by a 0.033 difference.
And so it ended… the Vault and Bars Final in Rio 2016.