Rebeca Andrade has soared into the annals of Brazilian sports history yet again…
The 22-year-old Brazilian gymnast, who’d already made history by winning Brazil’s first female Olympic medal in gymnastics in the all-around competition, won the gold medal in the women’s vault competition at the 2020 Tokyo Games.
Andrade put together a pair of soaring vaults to post an average of 15.083 to win the competition.
Andrade’s score held off Team USA‘s MyKayla Skinner, who averaged 14.916. South Korea’s Yeo Seojeong was the bronze medallist with 14.733.
Andrade’s gold is the first ever for Brazil in women’s gymnastics at the Summer Games. Arthur Zanetti is the only other Brazilian to win artistic gymnastics gold.
“I feel so overwhelmed, happy,” Andrade told Olympics.com after her win. “I’m feeling incredible.”
Andrade came to Tokyo looking strong, debuting a Cheng vault (round off on the board, half turn on the vaulting table, front one-and-a-half twist) during the qualifying rounds.
In Sunday’s apparatus final, Andrade brought back her difficult two-and-a-half twisting vault to win gold.
Andrade’s injuries kept her out of the 2019 World Championships. It was the first of a series of mishaps for Brazil, which, then, failed to qualify a full team to the Tokyo Games.
Andrade only secured her quota spot for the Olympic Games on June 6, after winning the all-around at the Pan Am Championships in Rio.
“First, thank you God!” Andrade said in a post on Instagram after punching her Olympic ticket. “Thank you all… thanks for all the positive energy, thanks for believing in me at all costs… I just have to thank you, really!!!”
Sunday, Andrade couldn’t believe her success.
“I don’t know… reaching the podium… I didn’t imagine that I would return doing all these vaults, improving my first vault,” she said. “It’s been a huge pride for me because I saw how much I’ve grown, I’ve matured, and it’s really good”