The energy inside the nearly empty arena intensified with each move. As Jade Carey twisted and backflipped her way across the floor inside Ariake Gymnastics Centre, the small contingent of U.S. athletes and staff sitting in one corner roared.
By the time Carey completed her floor routine Monday evening, she had earned a standing ovation. She thrust an arm triumphantly into the air and waited for what seemed likely to come next.
A gold medal.
Carey’s score of 14.366 topped Italy’s Vanessa Ferrari (14.2) and Japan’s Mai Murakami and Viktoriia Listunova of the Russian Olympic Committee, who each notched a 14.166. Brazil’s Rebeca Andrade, who won gold in the vault and silver in the all-around competition, could not add to her haul of medals after finishing with a 14.033.
Carey’s stirring routine served as a strong rebuttal to what had preceded it.
The 21-year-old from Phoenix had stumbled on the runway one day earlier in the vault final, somehow completing a perfunctory routine that precluded injury. She did not speak with reporters after also struggling in her second vault and finishing in eighth place.