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McKayla Maroney Defends Vault World Title

By USA Gymnastics | Oct. 05, 2013, 10:06 p.m. (ET)

(L-R) Americans Simone Biles (silver) and McKayla Maroney (gold), and Hong Un Jong (bronze) of North Korea pose with their medals after the vault final at the 2013 FIG World Artistic Gymnastics Championships on Oct. 5, 2013 in Antwerp, Belgium.

Jake Dalton poses with his floor exercise silver medal at the
2013 FIG World Artistic Gymnastics Championships on
Oct. 5, 2013 in Antwerp, Belgium.

ANTWERP, Belgium, Oct. 5, 2013 – McKayla Maroney of Long Beach, Calif./All Olympia Gymnastics Center, became the first U.S. woman to successfully defend her World vault title at the 2013 World Gymnastics Championships at the Antwerp (Belgium) Sports Palace today.  Simone Biles of Spring, Texas/Bannon's Gymnastix, Inc., was second on vault, making it the first time the U.S. has won the top two World vault medals.  In addition, Kyla Ross of Aliso Viejo, Calif./Gym-Max, and Jake Dalton of Reno, Nev./Team Hilton HHonors (University of Oklahoma), captured the uneven bars and floor exercise silver medals, respectively, and Brandon Wynn of Voorhees, N.J./Team Hilton HHonors (Ohio State University), claimed the still rings bronze. Six U.S. gymnasts will compete on the final day of individual event finals at 2:30 p.m.

In the vault final, Maroney was last up, and she nearly stuck her signature Amanar vault for a 15.966, with a 9.766 execution score.  Her second vault, a Yurchenko half-on, front layout full off, earned a 15.483, which gave her a final average of 15.724 and the title. Biles also performed an Amanar as her first vault, scoring a15.933.  Biles executed a Yurchenko half-on to layout front half for her second vault and a 15.258, giving her a 15.595 average for the silver.

“It felt great (to be on the medals podium), said Maroney, who won her first World vault title in 2011.  “It’s been a long time since I competed on the World stage, and it felt very good to go out there today and do exactly what I needed to do.” 

“Vault is one of my best events,” said Biles, who won the women’s all-around title yesterday and will compete in two more events tomorrow.  “I had one of my best friends there to support me, and we just went out there and had fun and did what we trained to do.  It is exciting to hear the national anthem and see us on the big screen.”

In the men’s floor exercise final, Dalton performed an Arabian double layout to begin his routine.  With a stuck triple twisting dismount, Dalton pumped his fists as he left the podium.   His15.600 resulted in the silver medal, finishing behind Japan’s Kenzo Shirai.  This is the first U.S. men’s floor medal since Paul Hamm won the event in 2003.  Also, in the floor final, Steven Legendre of Port Jefferson, N.Y./Team Hilton HHonors (University of Oklahoma), mounted with a front double full to double front and dismounted with a piked Arabian double front.  His 15.366 tied him for fifth place with Diego Hypolito of Brazil.

“I am waiting for it to settle in,” said Dalton right after the event.  “I’m still a little nervous and shaky from competing, but it is a great feeling (to medal) and was fun to be out there.  My dismount sometimes gives me trouble, and sticking it at the end was a key for me.  This is one of the best (I’ve done), and I am going to keep it going forward.” 

On the uneven bars, Ross performed an in-bar stalder Shaposhnikova to Pak salto mount and stuck her double layout dismount that earned a 15.266. Biles once again was solid, working smoothly through her routine that included a piked and straddled Tkatchev.  She scored a 14.716.  Ross was second behind China’s Huang Huidan.  Russia’s Aliya Mustafina was third, with Biles in fourth.

“I was really happy with my performance today,” said Ross, who took second in the all-around last evening and will compete in two events tomorrow.  “I went out and hit a really solid bar routine.  And, I was happy to come away with the silver.  (To get ready for tomorrow) I think I need to go back and rest tonight, especially because the competition finished late last night and we came over early today.”

Wynn showed his signature strength moves on the still rings, including two inverted crosses and an Azarian Maltese.  He also stuck his full-twisting, double layout dismount, and his 15.666 secured the bronze medal, the second rings medal for the USA. Arthur Nabarrete Zanetti of Brazil was first, with second going to Russia’s Aleksandr Baladin.

“I am extremely proud and happy to come away with the bronze,” said Wynn.  “The final was amazing and I am I am proud to be here.  I heard this is only the USA’s second rings medal, which is an honor.”

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