Aug. 5 saw one of the bigger upsets in women's Olympic gymnastics, as McKayla Maroney had a stumble during the individual vault final, relegating her to silver.
However, even with the silver medal, I believe it's still obvious that Maroney is the best vaulter in the world. She had a final score of 15.083, second to Romania's Sandra Izbasa with a 15.191.
On her first vault, Maroney had a 15.866. Then, all she had to do was stick her second vault (which had a smaller degree of difficulty).
However, Maroney's hand didn't land right on the vault table, which didn't allow her to propel herself high enough to complete her twist and flip. As her feet slipped from under her on the landing, it was almost obvious that she wasn't going to win the gold medal.
In a quote gathered by The New York Times writer Juliet Macur, this is what Maroney had to say:
"It happens," Maroney, 16, said afterward. "It's gymnastics, and you can't be perfect. Sometimes things don't go as planned. I don't blame it on anything else. I just messed up."
"I just wanted to prove to everybody that I can hit two vaults and do my best for U.S.A., that's what I'm disappointed about," she said as her eye makeup ran. "Just about how I trained so hard, and, just on this day, it didn't go."
I'm here to say that, regardless of the fact that she won the silver medal, I still believe Maroney is the best vaulter in the world. And, I'm not the only one who believes that.
Although she did stumble, Maroney consistently has put up the best vault scores in the world.
In the team final, she scored a near-perfect 16.233, which I believe should've actually been a perfect score. The television analysts calling the event agreed as well, according to U.S. coach John Geddert:
"They should rename the vault. They should call it the 'Maroney' because it's a different league. She does it so much higher and faster and cleaner and more dynamic than the normal human."
Now, don't get me wrong, Izbasa deserves her due. She didn't make the mistake, and Maroney did. So, she had a better day and deserved the gold medal.
But that still doesn't mean she's the best vaulter in the world. You will be hard-pressed to find someone (other than the Romanians) who will say that Izbasa is the best vaulter in the world.
With or without the gold medal, Maroney is in a class of her own, and I wouldn't be surprised to see her back in Rio in four years.
I think redemption is in store.