TOKYO (Reuters) – Zhu Xueying led China to the top two podium positions in the women’s trampoline at the Tokyo Olympics on Friday, as Canada’s Rosie MacLennan was denied a golden hat-trick.
The second last to compete, Zhu grabbed gold with a score of 56.635 as compatriot Liu Lingling, the 2014 world champion, finished just .285 back to snatch silver.
Britain’s Bryony Page, silver medallist at the 2016 Rio Olympics, collected the bronze ahead of MacLennan, Olympic champion in 2012 and 2016.
“I didn’t think I would get a gold medal, but I think my performance was more stable compared to my practice,” said Zhu. “I put in a lot of effort to reach the podium.
“With the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 being postponed for a year, I had more time to work to prepare and I made an effort to work on the things I wanted to improve.”
Despite China having won a combined record 11 Olympic medals on the trampoline, this was the first time China had swept the top two podium spots in either men’s or women’s competition.
Zhu’s gold was also just the second by the Chinese women since the sport was introduced into the Olympic program at the 2000 Sydney Summer Games.
He Wenna took top spot for China at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
MacLennan’s fourth place not only ended her reign as Olympic champion, but Canada’s run of winning a medal in women’s trampoline at every Games.
“Obviously not quite what I was hoping for,” said MacLennan, still recovering from a foot injury she sustained in practice nine weeks ago. “I was really hoping to have the opportunity to stand on the podium for Canada again.
“The fact that I was able to get here, compete, represent Canada in the sport that I love, and do as well as I did. I know I have to be happy with that.”
Japan’s hopes for a first-ever medal in Olympic trampoline ended with a shock when reigning world champion Hikaru Mori failed to make it out of qualifying.
With only the top eight advancing Mori’s chances disappeared on the second of two routines when she nearly flew off the trampoline to finish 13th of 16 athletes competing.
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Tokyo; Additional reporting by Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber and Elaine Lies; Editing by Peter Rutherford and Shri Navaratnam)