Jade Carey kept the streak alive for the United States. On Monday morning, Carey, 21, won gold in the women's floor final at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The win pushes the American gymnasts' medal total to five, which is impressive seeing how Simone Biles has missed four finals for mental-health reasons.
This is the U.S.'s third consecutive gold in the floor exercise. Aly Raisman won in 2012 and Biles did the same in 2016.
Italy's Vanessa Ferrari took home silver while Japan's Mai Murakami and the Russian Olympic Committee's Angelina Melnikova -- who posted identical scores -- shared bronze medals.
The final results from Tokyo were as follows:
14.366 for Carey 14.200 for Ferrari 14.166 for Murakami and Melnikova
Carey's medal-winning performance was far from predictable, as she had a rocky start to these Games.
The gymnast took a hard fall off the balance beam in the all-around competition earlier in the Olympics. She was participating in the event as a replacement for Biles, and wound up finishing eighth out of 24 in that event.
But in the floor qualifiers, Carey showed promise. The Arizona native finished third, behind only Ferrari and Biles. Then, on Monday morning, she followed up on that with a winning performance.
Biles will have one last shot at individual gold -- albeit in a different event -- on Tuesday morning in the balance beam final.
The 21-year-old American gymnast soared to gold in the women’s floor exercise Monday night, her powerful and precise routine capping a roller-coaster 24 hours in which she narrowly avoided serious injury during the vault finals when her right foot caught just as she was preparing her entry.
Carey’s score of 14.366 gave the U.S. women’s team its fifth medal of the Games and assured that each of the six athletes who came to Tokyo — Carey, Simone Biles, Sunisa Lee, Jordan Chiles, Grace McCallum and MyKayla Skinner — will be checking some serious bling in customs when they return home.
Considered one of the favorites after coming in second during vault qualifying, Carey was thundering down the blue runway Sunday when she tripped. Her planned Cheng vault instead became a simple back tuck, her medal chances evaporating in the process.
Stunned, she recovered in time to complete her second vault but finished well off the podium before quietly retreating to the waiting arms of her father Brian, her lifelong coach, and the comfort of her teammates.
Knowing his daughter had less than a day to regroup in time for the floor finals, Brian Carey turned off the “coach” switch and flipped on the “dad” one.
“I told her, ‘You know, right now, you feel like yesterday was the worst day in your life, but today can be your best day. So just don’t give up. Keep going,’” Carey said. “And she killed it.”
Stomped it, more like.
Carey doesn’t leap off the floor as much as she explodes. Her tumbling is as dynamic as anyone in the world not named Simone Biles, and she’s working on a triple-twisting double-layout element that — if she ever completes it in international competition — will be given the single-highest difficulty value of anything currently being done in the sport.
While it’s not quite ready to be unveiled when it counts, Carey also didn’t need it. A day after her meandering road to the Ariake Gymnastics Centre nearly ended in disaster, she responded with what she called the best routine of her career.
Carey could hear teammates roaring from the stands during her routine, Biles perhaps the loudest of them all.
“They were honestly the best teammates ever, especially (Sunday) night,” Carey said.
Even if they aren’t teammates, at least, not technically. Carey earned a spot in Tokyo by taking advantage of what turned out to be a one-time-only offer by the International Gymnastics Federation. The sport’s governing body made a provision for the 2020 Games that allowed athletes to lock up an individual nominative spot if they racked up enough points at World Cup events.
So the Careys spent 16 months flying to different continents, piling up podiums on vault and floor exercise along the way. They formally accepted the spot on the eve of the U.S. Olympic Trials, even though they knew it meant she was giving up a shot at making the four-woman team that ended up winning silver during the team competition last week.
Sound confusing? It is. The FIG has already abandoned the practice and is returning the team sizes to five women per country for the 2024 Games in Paris.
Yet all the paperwork and the politics and the patience paid off with a performance that brought her teammates to their feet and her father to near tears.
“It was definitely hard sometimes,” Jade Carey said. “I’m really glad that we stuck with our decision and did what we did. It was for the better.”
Vanessa Ferrari of Italy earned silver, the 30-year-old’s first Olympic medal after near misses in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and London in 2012. Her dramatic routine — one that would fit right in at La Scala opera house in Milan — gave Italy its first women’s gymnastics medal since 1928 and capped a long comeback from a torn Achilles tendon four years ago.
“I am super happy with this medal,” said Ferrari, who is considering retirement. “I was hoping this would finally be my Olympics.”
Angelina Melnikova of the team representing the Russian Olympic Committee and Mai Murakami of Japan were awarded the bronze after finishing with identical scores. Their 14.166 included the same difficulty (5.9) and execution scores (8.266). The medal was the third in Tokyo for Melnikova, who earned gold in the team competition and bronze in the all-around.
Shin Jeah-wan of Korea beat ROC’s Denis Abliazin in a tiebreaker to claim gold on men’s vault. The gold is the 10th for Korea in gymnastics and fifth on vault. Shin won the tiebreak because he recorded the highest-scoring single vault between the two. Artur Davytyan of Armenia took bronze.
With the words of USA teammate Simone Biles resounding in her ears -- "Go out and kill floor" -- gymnast Jade Carey did just that at the Tokyo Olympics on Monday.
Carey finished eighth in Sunday's vault final -- she made a mistake on the first of her two vaults -- but the American was back to her best as she won the gold medal in the women's floor exercise with a score of 14.366 at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Italian Vanessa Ferrari claimed silver -- her first Olympic medal in her fourth Games -- while bronze went to Angelina Melnikova of the Russian Olympic Committee and Japan's Mai Murakami.
"Coming back from a day like yesterday, I'm really proud of myself for being able to put that behind me and finish with probably the best floor routine I've ever done in my life," Carey told reporters as she reflected on the difference in her vault and floor performances.
"Yesterday was very tough for me," added Carey. "I tripped, I guess, in my hurdle, or right before. I don't even know. It's kind of a blur now. It was really hard, but I'm glad I'm safe and healthy. Doing that second vault, it was a challenge, but I didn't want to give up. For tonight, I just had to let that go and give it my all."
According to Carey, all her USA gymnastics teammates were supportive of her after the vault final, but that Biles "especially" helped the 21-year-old gymnast "let it go and move on."
"She said: 'It happened, and you can't do anything about it.' She was like, 'Let's go out and kill floor,' and that's what I did."
Carey is coached by her father Brian, and the American gymnast said having him at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre meant "everything" to her.
"This is all we've ever dreamed of," said the US gymnast. "It's really special to be able to get this medal with him out there by my side.
"I talked to my dad last night, and we decided together that we were just going to let it go the best we could, and both put everything we could into tonight."
In the span of two days, Jade Carey went from a tough low to the highest of highs: Olympic gold! The U.S. gymnast took home the top prize in the floor exercise final on Tuesday, one day after missing the vault final podium after stumbling during her run-up during her first vault. She talked to Access Hollywood about the amazing accomplishment and her Olympic journey. The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games air through Aug. 8 on NBC.