Rebecca Andrade is Brazil’s first all-around gold medalist, crowned best female gymnast at the world championships in Liverpool, England on Thursday.
Andrade, the 23-year-old favorite, won with 56.899 points, edging the silver medalist, American Shilese Jones, by 1.5 points. Jones finished 10th at the Olympic trials last year and was ready to leave elite gymnastics. Today she is the second best gymnast in the world.
Jessica Gadirov won bronze for Britain’s first women’s all-around world medal. Last year, Gadirova achieved the best all-around finish in the British Olympic women’s all-around in history – 10th.
Jade Careythe other American in the final, finished sixth, two places better than her result in Tokyo.
Andrade, an Olympic all-around silver medalist, had the top score in qualifying with 1.566 points. With the scores reset Thursday, she had no falls, although she did make errors on uneven bars and balance beam.
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Andrade has completed Brazil’s rise since 2000, going from nonexistent in gymnastics to medal level to the pinnacle of the sport. Brazil had no active Olympic gymnasts when Andrade was born in 1999, one of eight siblings raised by her mother, a housekeeper.
The emergence of Brazil began with Daniele Hypolitowho won the first national medal at the world championships in 2001 (silver on floor). Daiane dos Santosthe 4ft 9in firecracker, followed with floor gold at the 2003 Worlds (and later appeared before Steve Prefontaine in a Nike ad). In 2007, Jade Barbosa captured bronze at the all-around world championships. In 2012, Arthur Zanet won gold at the Olympics.
Andrade won Brazil’s second Olympic title in Tokyo, on vault three days after claiming silver in the all-around behind the American Sunny Lee. Andrade would have been the Olympic all-around champion if she hadn’t landed out of bounds twice in her final floor routine.
Andrade’s growing medal collection is the product of perseverance. Three separate right ACL tears ruled her out of the world championships in 2015, 2017 and 2019.
“I went through a lot of moments, not just in my sporting life but also in my personal life: my injuries, the things I had to do to be here now,” she said, according to the International Gymnastics Federation. . “There were a lot of things that helped me make adjustments when I needed to. I don’t feel pressure doing gymnastics because it’s my job.
Andrade, who has four million followers between Instagram and TikTok, is the oldest woman to win a world all-around title since Russia Svetlana Khorkina in 2003. Khorkina’s back-to-back titles in 2001 and 2003 marked the last time the United States won back-to-back World Championships without winning the women’s all-around so far.
The United States won all Olympic and world all-around titles in 2011 at the Tokyo Games, with Simone Biles taking six of them. Biles and Lee are on indefinite, possibly permanent, hiatus from elite gymnastics.
Angelina Melnikovawho won the world title last October with Biles, Lee and Andrade absent from the field, missed these worlds due to the banning of Russian gymnasts for the war in Ukraine.
China Tang Xijingthe 2019 Worlds silver medalist, withdrew before the start of Thursday’s final after struggling in Tuesday’s team final.
Konnor McClainwho won the U.S. all-around title in August, missed the world championships with a back injury.
That made Jones America’s top all-rounder, a year after finishing 10th at the Olympic Trials. The top nine went to Tokyo — six on the team, three as alternates — and Jones was ready to end her career as an elite gymnast and enroll at the University of Florida.
After conversations with loved ones, including her father, Jones changed her mind. She postponed registration until 2024 because she had plans for the Paris Games.
“I knew it wasn’t the end,” Jones said Thursday. “I knew I was capable of more.”
In December, Jones’ father, Sylvester, passed away after a long battle with kidney disease. In a GoFundMe to help with funeral and travel expenses, Jones wrote that it was “his father’s dream to see me on the Olympic stage one day and he has dedicated anything and everything to my gymnastics. Beat tired after a long day of dialysis to drive and pick me up at practices. There was nothing he wouldn’t do to support my gymnastics.
The world championships continue Friday with the men’s all-around final, live on Peacock at 2:05 p.m. ET.
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