Shallon Olsen vaults to silver at artistic gymnastics world championships
Shallon Olsen is coming home from Qatar with a world championship medal.
The 18-year-old gymnast from Vancouver won silver on the vault during the individual apparatus finals at the FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Doha on Friday.
Olsen scored an average of 14.516 for her two vaults to finish only behind American superstar Simone Biles and her 15.366 points. That victory gave Biles her 13th career gold medal at the world championships, surpassing Belarus’ Vitaly Scherbo for most all-time by any artistic gymnast.
To round out the all-North American podium, the bronze medal went to Alexa Moreno of Mexico. She finished just 0.008 behind Olsen, but made history by winning Mexico’s first ever world championship medal in women’s artistic gymnastics. Ellie Black placed seventh among the eight women who had qualified for the final.
Olsen had been the number two qualifier for the final behind Biles. In the final, Olsen’s first vault had a difficulty value of 6.000, which tied her with Biles for the most difficult attempted in the final. She received 8.600 points for the execution. Her second vault was slightly easier, with a 5.400 difficulty value, but she scored 9.033 for its execution.
“This is absolutely insane. I did not think I was going to come second behind Simone Biles, because she’s literally amazing,” said Olsen, who won gold on vault at the Commonwealth Games in April. “I’m just really happy and ecstatic right now.”
Olsen’s silver is the 10th medal Canada has won in the 115-year history of the world championships, but it is just the third won by a Canadian woman. It follows the silver that Black won last year at home in Montreal and the bronze Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs earned on beam in 2006.
In her Olympic debut at Rio 2016 where she was the youngest member on all of Team Canada, Olsen had also qualified for the vault final.
The world championships conclude on Saturday with the last of the apparatus finals. Black and Anne-Marie Padurariu both qualified for the beam final while Brooklyn Moors will compete on floor exercise.