Skinner wins silver on vault with Lee still to come in Night 1 of event finals

Posted at 12:29 AM, Aug 01, 2021

The first of three nights of gymnastics event finals begin Sunday in Tokyo, including the men's pommel horse and floor and women's vault and uneven bars.

Even without Simone Biles, who has withdrawn from her first three event finals, the United States has a strong shot to earn at least one medal in three of the events.

On pommel horse, Alec Yoder is likely the men's team's best chance at a medal in Tokyo. Yoder, 24, finished fourth in qualification with a 15.200, but the top three competitors tied with a 15.266.

Jade Carey leads the way on vault after putting up a 15.166 in qualifications, but improved that to a 15.200 in the all-around final. She'll be joined by veteran MyKayla Skinner, who was fourth in qualifications behind Biles, Carey and Brazil's Rebeca Andrade, but initially could not advance to the final due to the two-per-country rule.

Individual all-around gold medalist Suni Lee returns to action on bars, her signature event, tonight. She earned a 15.300 in both qualifications and the all-around and is expected to vie for the event title with Belgium's Nina Derwael, who scored a 15.366 in qualifications.

Yul Moldauer will also compete for the U.S. on floor after tying for sixth in qualifications.


Follow along below for results.

Men's Floor Exercise

The first event final of the night ended in dramatic fashion, as a tie break was used to decide the Olympic champion

Israel's Artem Dolgopyat and Spain's Rayderley Zapata posted identical scores of 14.933. Both were atop the leaderboard, and because both received the same execution score of 8.433, the difficulty scores were used to decide who would take the gold. Dolgopyat's difficulty score was one tenth higher than Zapata's, so the 24-year-old rose into first place and won Israel's first-ever Olympic medal in artistic gymnastics. Prior to the Tokyo Games, the nation had only one other Olympic gold, won by windsurfer Gal Fridman in 2004.

Xiao Ruoteng finished in third with a score of 14.766. The bronze is his third medal of these games after he won a silver in the men's individual all-around and a bronze with the Chinese team.

Moldauer had a strong set with clean tumbling and stuck landings until he struggled on a flair. He is known for executing the skill with excellent form on floor and pommel horse, but he drug his foot across the floor while performing it in the event final and received a large deduction. The only other error was a slight hop on the landing of his final tumbling pass. His score of 13.533 placed him in sixth.

SEE MORE: Yul Moldauer's final floor routine in Tokyo

Russian Nikita Nagornyy opened his routine with a triple back pike, and though he went out of bounds, the skill is now named after him and is rated the most difficult element in men's gymnastics. Nagornyy placed seventh with a score of 13.066 due to landing deductions. In Tokyo, he has won bronze in the individual all-around and gold with the Russian Olympic Committee in the team final. 


SEE MORE: Nikita Nagornyy debuts triple pike on floor exercise

Women's Vault

The secret to winning an Olympic medal may just be taking a quick retirement. That's what Skinner did and now the 24-year-old is an Olympic silver medalist. 

Skinner was the first competitor of the final and began with a Cheng. She was deducted slightly for bending her knees while in the air and hopping backward on her landing. Her score of 15.033 was higher than her mark in qualifications. For her second vault, Skinner performed an Amanar and underrotated the last half twist slightly. She hopped forward on the landing but managed to stay inbounds, scoring a 14.800. Her scores averaged out to a 14.916, placing her in second behind Brazil's Rebeca Andrade.

Andrade, who just two days ago became the first Brazilian woman to ever win an Olympic medal in women's artistic gymnastics, made even more history by capturing gold on vault. She performed a huge Cheng for her first vault, and though she landed with one foot out of bounds, she still received a massive 15.166. Like Skinner,  Andrade competed an Amanar for her second vault. Her only major deductions were two hops on the landing, and her score of 15.000 reflected her near-flawless execution. When averaged together, her score of 15.083 became the top mark of the final.

SEE MORE: Brazil's Rebeca Andrade wins vault final in Tokyo

Yeo Seo-Jeong finished third and won South Korea's first artistic gymnastics medal of the Tokyo games. She performed her eponymous vault first and earned a 15.333, the single highest score of the event final. On her second vault, a double-twisting Yurchenko, she had too much power on her landing and took multiple one-footed hops backward. She received a 14.133 which made her average 14.733. 

Carey had an unusual mistake on her first vault and did not complete the Cheng she had planned. The American stuttered her steps before reaching the springboard and couldn't get the necessary height coming off the vault table to safely complete the difficult skill. She successfully performed an Amanar as her second vault, but her average score of 12.416 placed her in eighth. 


Men's Pommel Horse

Reigning champion Max Whitlock threw down the gauntlet early in the pommel horse final, posting the highest difficulty and highest overall score of the competition in the leadoff position. The British gymnast tallied a huge 15.583 and challenged the next seven competitors to catch up. 

The only gymnast who got close was Lee Chih Kai who tied Whitlock's execution score but was three tenths lower in difficulty. His beautiful, fluid flair work earned him a 15.400 and a silver medal, the first ever for Chinese Taipei in artistic gymnastics. 

Japan's Kaya Kazuma finished third with a 14.900, adding an individual bronze to the team silver he won last week. 

Yoder ended up in sixth after having some troubles early in his routine. He managed to stay on but could not match his score from preliminaries, posting a 14.566.


Women's Uneven bars

Suni Lee competing