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Riley McCusker Shines In Career-Best Finish At Birmingham World Cup

By Karen Price | March 23, 2019, 5:57 p.m. (ET)

Riley McCusker flies through the air at the 2019 Gymnastics World Cup on March 23, 2019 in Birmingham, England. 


Riley McCusker hadn’t competed since October, but that was no big deal for the 17-year-old from Brielle, New Jersey, on Saturday.

McCusker took the silver medal in the all-around at the FIG World Cup meet in Birmingham, England, finishing just behind 2010 all-around world champion Aliya Mustafina. The highlight of McCusker’s day was her uneven bars routine, which helped her to a combined score of 53.065.   Mustafina held just the slightest edge, scoring a total of 53.564 for the gold medal. Brazil’s Thais Fidelis took bronze with a score of 51.832.

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This was McCusker’s first competition since the world championships six months ago in Doha, Qatar, and just her fourth international assignment. Her performance in the all-around at last year’s world championships landed her in eighth place, but she did not get to compete in the final because Simone Biles and Morgan Hurd qualified first and second, respectively, and each country is only allowed two athletes in the final.

On Saturday, McCusker sat in second after the vault and uneven bars. Her 13.133 on vault had her in seventh place after the first rotation, but she made up ground on uneven bars, one of her specialties. A near-flawless routine scored a 14.400, just beating out 2012 and 2016 uneven bars Olympic champion Mustafina and her 14.366 for the top score of the rotation.

McCusker came off the balance beam and scored a 12.166 in that rotation, but was still holding on to second place entering the floor exercise. McCusker finished with a solid floor routine, scoring 13.366. A total of nine women competed in the competition. 

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.