While nothing could really hold a candle to the 2012 floor final, the 2016 vault final still carried a tremendous amount of talent. Our finalists were as follows:
1. Simone Biles (USA) 2. Hong un-Jong (PRK) 3. Giulia Steingruber (SUI) 4. Maria Paseka (RUS) 5. Oksana Chusovitina (UZB) 6. Shallon Olsen (CAN) 7. Wang Yan (CHN) 8. Dipa Karmakar (IND)
While Simone Biles was close to a lock for gold, a hit TTY from Hong un-Jong had the potential to rattle the cage. Vaulting prowess and talent ran deep in this final. Let’s have a look:
- the reigning World and Olympic AA Champion; Simone Biles (2013 Antwerp) (2014 Nanning) (2015 Glasgow) (2016 Rio de Janeiro) - the 2008 Olympic Champion, and 2014 World Champion; Hong un-Jong (2008 Beijing) (2014 Nanning) - the reigning World Champion, and 2015 European Champion; Maria Paseka (2015 Glasgow) (2015 Montpellier) - the 2013, 2014, and 2016 European Champion; Giulia Steingruber (2013 Moscow) (2014 Sofia) (2016 Bern) - the 2015 European AA Champion; Giulia Steingruber (2015 Montpellier) - the 2003 World Champion; Oksana Chusovitinia (2003 Anaheim) [representing Uzbekistan] - the reigning Pacific Rim Champion; Shallon Olsen (2016 Everett)
Going further than major titles, this final presents major talent:
Simone Biles - two time World silver medallist on vault, 2013 Antwerp and 2014 Nanning - World bronze medallist on vault, 2015 Glasgow - three time US National vault champion, 2014 Pittsburgh, 2015 Indianapolis, and 2016 St Louis - US silver medallist on vault, 2013 Hartford
Hong un-Jong - World silver medallist on vault, 2015 Glasgow - World bronze medallist on vault, 2013 Antwerp - 2014 Asian Games Champion, 2014 Incheon - Asian Games bronze medallist, 2006 Doha - two time Summer Universiade Champion, 2009 Belgrade, and 2013 Kazan - 2006 Asian Champion, 2006 Surat - 2013 E. Asian Games Champion, 2013 Tianjin
Giulia Steingruber - 2015 European Games Champion, 2015 Baku - European Games AA silver medallist, 2015 Baku - European silver medallist, 2015 Montpellier - European bronze medallist, 2012 Brussels
Oksana Chusovitina NB: It is worth noting that despite competing as an international elite since 1991, Chusovitina’s first vault event final at the Olympic Games did not come until the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She also made finals in 2012 and 2016, while making history both times as the oldest gymnast to ever compete at the Olympic Games. [representing Germany] - Olympic silver medallist, 2008 Beijing - World silver medallist, 2011 Tokyo - World bronze medallist, 2006 Aarhus - two time European silver medallist, 2011 Berlin, and 2012 Brussels - European bronze medallist, 2007 Amsterdam [representing the Soviet Union] - World silver medallist, 1991 Indianapolis [representing the Commonwealth of Independent States] - World bronze medallist, 1992 Paris [representing Uzbekistan] - two time World silver medallist, 2001 Ghent, and 2005 Melbourne - two time World bronze medallist, 1993 Birmingham, and 2002 Debrecen - 2002 Asian Games Champion, 2002 Busan - Asian Games silver medallist, 2014 Incheon - Asian Games AA silver medallist, 2002 Busan - Asian Games bronze medallist, 1994 Hiroshima - Asian Championships silver medallist, 1996 Changsha - Asian Games AA bronze medallist, 1996 Changsha
Shallon Olsen NB: Aside from her Pacific Rim title, the majority of Shallon’s vault medals came at smaller domestic meets and friendlies. - Elite Canada Champion, 2014, 2015, 2016
Wang Yan - 2014 Youth Olympic Champion, 2014 Nanjing - 2015 Asian Champion, 2015 Hiroshima - Asian Championships AA silver medallist, 2015 Hiroshima
Dipa Karmakar - Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, 2014 Glasgow - Asian Championships bronze medallist, 2015 Hiroshima
It is worth noting that three gymnasts attempted incredibly difficult vaults in the final, with Dipa Karmakar the only one to have a successful landing.
- Hong un-Jong; triple twisting Yurchenko (TTY) - Oksana Chusovitina; handspring double front (Produnova) - Dipa Karmakar; handspring double front (Produnova)
In the end, Simone Biles came through with a clean Amanar and Cheng combo to win her first major vault title, beating out the reigning World Champion, Maria Paseka, who had to settle for silver. A botched landing on her TTY took Hong un-Jong out of medal contention, opening the door for Giulia Steingruber to win her first global medal in gymnastics and become the first Swiss gymnast to medal at the Olympics.
This final had an absolutely incredible field, and there were five or six gymnasts who had a realistic shot at the podium. Surprises erupted all around, to give us the three who reigned supreme at the end of the day.
Her hands were never meant to heal, only to fight and survive. And then she goes and accidentally Heals the supposed savior of Arcadia, and Lena Luthor’s entire world, everything she ever thought about herself, evaporates into smoke.