The WAG Record Breakers in Tokyo

Rebeca-Andrade-Wins-Silver-at-Tokyo-Olympics-Women-Gymnastics-All-Around-Final

Rebeca Andrade became Brazil’s first WAG Olympic medalist, and then its first Olympic gold medalist days later

Athletes competing in women’s artistic gymnastics from 27 countries set, matched, or broke records for their nations at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, including some decades old.

I love following these achievements because it shows the rise of so many smaller programs, some of which – like Brazil – have spent the past 20 years slowly gaining ground on the international scene, while others – like Belgium – have jumped into prominence over the last five years.

This is so important for future growth, and whether a nation’s achievement is a first gold medal or the first time competing at the Olympic Games, this representation both introduces kids to the sport and shows them that big dreams are possible. It inspires them to try gymnastics, which in turn creates more developmental depth, which sets up these already growing programs for even more success in the future.

Below are all of those who made history for their countries in the sport.

AZERBAIJAN

Marina Nekrasova became the first gymnast from Azerbaijan to qualify for the Olympic Games, and set the program’s first records by finishing 19th on vault, 58th on beam, 70th in the all-around, 71st on floor, and 83rd on bars.

BELGIUM

Nina Derwael single-handedly broke four records in Tokyo, including several of her own after she had previously broken three in 2016.

  • Derwael’s 1st place finish and gold medal on bars was the first gymnastics medal for Belgium in the history of the Olympic Games. The previous record was Nina’s 12th place finish in 2016.
  • In the all-around, Derwael finished 6th, breaking her own 19th place record from 2016.
  • Derwael finished 12th in floor qualifications, breaking Rune Hermans‘ 24th place record from 2016.
  • Derwael finished 15th in beam qualifications, breaking the 28th place record she and Laura Waem reached in 2016.

Together, the Belgian women – Maellyse Brassart, Lisa Vaelen, and Jutta Verkest in addition to Derwael – finished 8th in the team final, the team’s best finish in history. Prior to this, Belgium’s best finish as a team came in 1948, the country’s first time competing at the Olympic Games. This was also the first time Belgium earned a spot in the team final, which they achieved by finishing 5th in qualifications.

BRAZIL

Rebeca Andrade broke two individual records in Tokyo, and tied a third.

  • Her 2nd place finish and silver medal in the all-around was the first medal for Brazil in women’s gymnastics at the Olympic Games. The top all-arounder prior to Andrade was Jade Barbosa with her 10th place finish in 2008.
  • Days later, Andrade finished 1st on vault to top the podium, making this the first gold for Brazilian WAG, and breaking Barbosa’s 7th place record from 2008.
  • On floor, Andrade finished 5th in the final, matching Daiane dos Santos’ record from 2004.

CANADA

Ellie Black finished 4th in the beam final, breaking Isabela Onyshko‘s 8th place record from 2016. This is also the top finish in history for Canada on any event at the Olympic Games.

CAYMAN ISLANDS

Raegan Rutty became the first gymnast from the Cayman Islands to qualify for the Olympic Games, and set the program’s first records by finishing 80th in the all-around, 82nd on floor, 87th on bars, and 91st on beam.

CHINA

Guan Chenchen finished 1st to take the gold on beam, becoming the third Olympic beam champion from China, following in the footsteps of Liu Xuan in 2000 and Deng Linlin in 2012.

COSTA RICA

Luciana Alvarado became the first gymnast from Costa Rica to qualify for the Olympic Games, and set the program’s first records by finishing 37th on beam, 51st in the all-around, 55th on bars, and 66th on floor.

EGYPT

Mandy Mohamed finished 38th in floor qualifications, breaking the 69th place record set by Salma Mohamed in 2012 and matched by Sherine El Zeiny in 2016.

GREAT BRITAIN

Jessica Gadirova finished 10th in the all-around final, breaking Becky Downie‘s 12th place record from 2008.

The British women – Jessica Gadirova, Jennifer Gadirova, Alice Kinsella, and Amelie Morgan – also finished 3rd in the team final, winning the country’s first team medal since they last won bronze in 1928, the first time women’s artistic gymnastics was included at the Olympic Games.

IRELAND

Megan Ryan finished 72nd on floor, breaking Ellis O’Reilly‘s 79th place record from 2016.

ISRAEL

Lihie Raz finished 15th on vault, breaking Valeriia Maksiuta’s 16th place record from 2012.

ITALY

Vanessa Ferrari finished 2nd to win the silver medal on floor, breaking her own 4th place record which she set in 2012 and matched in 2016. This is the first medal for Italy at the Olympic Games since the women last won as a team in 1928.

JAPAN

Murakami Mai broke two records set by Japanese gymnastics legend Tanaka Keiko more than 60 years ago.

  • On floor, Murakami finished 3rd to win a bronze medal, breaking Tanaka’s 4th place record from 1956. This was the first WAG medal for Japan since the team won bronze in 1964.
  • Murakami also finished 5th in the all-around, breaking Tanaka’s 6th place record that she originally set in 1960 and then matched in 1964.

MALAYSIA

Farah Ann Abdul Hadi broke and set several records as Malaysia’s second WAG athlete at the Olympic Games.

  • Abdul Hadi finished 74th on bars, breaking Yen Au Li’s 83rd place record from 2000.
  • She was also the first Malaysian woman to compete all events at the Olympics, setting the program’s first records by finishing 64th on floor, 68th in the all-around, and 76th on beam.

MEXICO

Alexa Moreno finished 4th on vault, breaking Denisse Lopez’s 7th place record from 2000.

PERU

Ariana Orrego finished 65th on beam, breaking her own 67th place record from 2016.

PORTUGAL

Filipa Martins finished 17th on bars, breaking her own 54th place record from 2016.

RUSSIA

The Russian women – Lilia Akhaimova, Viktoria Listunova, Angelina Melnikova, and Vladislava Urazova – finished 1st to win gold in the team final, becoming the country’s first Olympic team champions in the post-Soviet era. The Russians had previously won silver four times, in 1996, 2000, 2012, and 2016.

SINGAPORE

Sze En Tan finished 75th on floor, breaking Heem Wei Lim‘s 77th place record from 2012.

SLOVAKIA

Barbora Mokosova broke two of her own records in Tokyo.

  • Mokosova finished 37th on floor, an improvement from 59th place in 2016.
  • On bars, Mokosova finished 38th, an improvement from 49th place in 2016.

SOUTH AFRICA

Both WAG athletes for South Africa were the country’s first gymnasts to qualify to an Olympic Games on their own right instead of via continental representation berths. They also each broke two records apiece.

  • Naveen Daries finished 18th on vault, breaking Antoinette Kuiters’ 83rd place record from 1960.
  • Daries also finished 77th on floor, breaking Antoinette Kuiters’ 78th place record from 1960.
  • Caitlin Rooskrantz finished 39th on bars, breaking Zandre Labuschagne’s 77th place record from 2004.
  • Rooskrantz also finished 61st on beam, breaking Zandre Labuschagne’s 76th place record from 2004.

SOUTH KOREA

Both South Korean women competing in Tokyo broke records.

  • Yeo Seo-jeong finished 3rd to win the bronze medal on vault, breaking Lee Hee-kyung’s 37th place record from 1992. This is the first medal for South Korean WAG in Olympic history.
  • Lee Yun-seo finished 16th on bars, breaking Han Kyung-im’s 24th place record from 1988.
  • In the all-around final, Lee finished 21st, tying Park Ji-sook’s record from 1988.

SRI LANKA

Milka Gehani became the first gymnast from Sri Lanka to qualify for the Olympic Games, and set the program’s first records by finishing 78th in the all-around, 80th on beam, 82nd on bars, and 84th on floor.

SWEDEN

Jonna Adlerteg finished 12th on bars, breaking Karin Lindberg’s 25th place record from 1952.

TAIWAN

Ting Hua-Tien broke the records on both of the events she competed in Tokyo as the first Taiwanese WAG athlete at the Olympic Games in more than 50 years.

  • Ting finished 50th on beam, breaking Hong Tan-Kwai’s 77th place record from 1964.
  • She also finished 63rd on bars, breaking Hong Tan-Kwai’s 81st place record from 1964.

TURKEY

Nazli Savranbasi finished 67th on bars, breaking Tutya Yilmaz‘s 74th place record from 2016.

UNITED STATES

The United States has finished 1st on every event currently contested in women’s artistic gymnastics, and two athletes in Tokyo added their names to the country’s history of gold medalists.

Article by Lauren Hopkins

16 thoughts on “The WAG Record Breakers in Tokyo

  1. This is in no relation to the post, (which is beautifully put together), but are you still doing the QnA posts?? Those were my absolute favorite so I am just wondering ^_^
    \

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  2. So, who do iou think will make the world championship team later this fall, Lauren? 🙂
    🙂
    We may as well start the next round of speculation,

    Like

  3. I really appreciate this. I loved how many ‘firsts’ there were on for WAG and MAG.

    On a side note — is there a list somewhere of who is retiring now? I’m curious to see who is retiring versus taking a break, and who may be trying for Worlds, assuming they still happen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You probably already knew this LOL but Skinner has 100% retired – she’s said her body is just done and she’s accomplished everything she wanted to in her career. That’s actually the only confirmed one I personally know of!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. On a side note only 4 WAG per team (+a couple of individuals) probably helps A LOT smaller programs to achieve such records (vs 7 in 1996 !!). But nevertheless the depth is interesting now, and even more on the MAG’s side. I would have loved Martins or Adlerteg to qualify to the UB EF.
    Amazing Canada has never won any olympic medal ! It’s such an interesting team, for years if not decades (I a m a huge Tousek fan)
    Last but not least ….. Chusovitina deseves some special recognition if we talk about insane records !
    Also probably the age average of the participants … the highest since probably the early 70s. I LOVE that.

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  5. Hi, great post! Let me add that Rebeca Andrade is not only the first Brazilian, but also the first South American and Latin American woman to win an olympic medal in artistic gymnastics!

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