By Blythe Lawrence | March 16, 2019, 9:10 a.m. (ET)
Jade Carey poses with her award at the AGF Trophy on March 16, 2019 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

 

Jade Carey took another step toward individual qualification for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 Saturday, winning the vault title at the AGF Trophy, a gymnastics individual apparatus world cup event in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Armed with a new Cheng vault that she debuted in Thursday’s qualifications and a solid double-twisting Yurchenko second effort, Carey topped a highly competitive field that included two-time Olympic vault medalist Maria Paseka of Russia and 2016 Olympic finalists Dipa Karmakar of India and Oksana Chusovitina of Uzbekistan. She earned 14.933 for the Cheng and followed up with 14.6 for the double-twisting Yurchenko.

Chusovitina, the doyenne of the sport at 43, continued to impress with a silver-medal finish, showing excellent form and mastery on the event where she holds seven world medals and Olympic silver from 2008 as she goes for an eighth straight Games berth. In Baku, she averaged 14.45, ahead of 2018 world medalist Alexa Moreno of Mexico, who was third with a 14.249 average.

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The top-ranked gymnast on each individual event at the conclusion of the FIG World Cup series qualifies for the Tokyo Olympics. A gymnast’s three best performances at different world cup events count toward his or her final ranking.

After finishing second on vault at November’s world cup event in Cottbus, Germany, Carey’s win in Baku brings the 18-year-old within striking distance of the optimal number of ranking points that can be attained on vault in the world cup series. Another win at the upcoming world cup event in Doha, Qatar, would make it likely that she will earn the Olympic berth, and two more wins would all but assure it.

Carey will perform again in Sunday’s floor exercise final, where she qualified in second place.

Blythe Lawrence is a journalist based in Seattle. She has covered two Olympic Games and is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.