Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): North Greenwich Arena, Greenwich, London
Date Started: July 29, 2012
Date Finished: August 5, 2012
[McKayla Maroney] of the United States, the reigning World Champion, was the favorite to win gold in the womenâs horse vault at the 2012 Summer Olympics and was considered to be the worldâs premier vaulter. Although she seemed to have no serious challengers for the title, one of the most interesting competitors in the event was [Oksana Chusovitina] of Germany who was participating in her sixth Olympics, a record for a gymnast, having earned team all-around gold with the Unified Team in 1992 and silver in the horse vault in 2008 ([Yordan Yovchev] of Bulgaria would also compete in his sixth Olympics and tie this record the following day). She had competed for her native Uzbekistan from 1993 through 2006 and would do so again beginning in 2013 in a move that would lead her to qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics and appear in her seventh Games as the oldest ever Olympic gymnast. She had moved to Germany originally to receive medical treatment for her son's acute lymphocytic leukemia, and later received citizenship, competing for that nation in the interim. She also held one World Championships title in the event, from 2003, and had been runner-up in 1991, 2001, 2005, and 2011.
Maroneyâs skill was on full display in the qualifications, winning them by a margin of nearly half a point ahead of [Sandra IzbaÅa] of Romania, an Olympic gold medalist from 2008 in the floor exercise. She continued dominating with her first vault, setting an unsurpassed score of 15.866, again nearly half a point ahead of her nearest competitor, [Mariya Paseka] of Russia. For the second vault, however, Maroney fell on the landing and received a 14.300, well below nearly all the other competitors. Her first vault was outstanding enough to give her an average score of 15.083, 0.033 points ahead of Paseka, with IzbaÅa still to come. The Romanianâs first vault came in at 15.383, below Maroney and Pasekaâs, but she scored high in the second with 15.000, giving her an average of 15.191 that was sufficient to crown her as the champion. Maroney, who had been expected to take the gold, settled for silver while Pasenka nabbed the bronze. Maroney's unsporting reaction to her silver medal was criticized by media outlets and a picture of her appearing disappointed on the podium became an internet meme that was so widespread that it was mimicked by American President Barack Obama when the two met at a White House function for Olympians. [Yamilet PeÃ±a], the first Olympic gymnast from the Dominican Republic and the 2012 Pan American Champion, finished a respectable sixth in the finals.
|2||McKayla Maroney||16||United States||USA||Silver|
|6||Yamilet PeÃ±a||19||Dominican Republic||DOM|
|12||Phan Thá» HÃ Thanh||20||Vietnam||VIE|
|13||Angel Wong||25||Hong Kong||HKG|
|18||Laura Å vilpaitÄ||18||Lithuania||LTU|