By Cathy Harasta
The Texas Catholic
Five days after winning a team gold medal, Dallas gymnast Madison Kocian won the silver medal in the uneven bars individual event finals at the Rio Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Sunday, Aug. 14, posting a score of 15.833.
Aliya Mustafina of Russia scored 15.900 to defend a title she won in London in 2012 and narrowly defeat Kocian, who competed fourth in the field of eight—one spot after Mustafina.
Kocian, a parishioner at All Saints Catholic Church who attended All Saints Catholic School, turned in a strong performance; her execution score of 9.133 beat Mustafina’s 9.100, but the Russian’s routine edged Kocian’s in difficulty level, 6.800 to 6.700.
Germany’s Sophie Scheder won the bronze medal with a score of 15.566.
Team USA’s Gabby Douglas finished seventh with a score of 15.066.
Earlier Sunday, Texan Simone Biles continued a sensational Games by winning the vault for her third gold medal in Rio. She has chances for two more—on beam and floor.
In Rio cheering for Kocian were her parents, Cindy and Thomas, and her brother, Ty, a junior at Jesuit College Preparatory School.
In Dallas, All Saints parishioners gathered with Father Tony Lackland, pastor of All Saints, and All Saints parochial vicar Father Alfonse Nazzaro at the home of parishioners Carolyn and Dan Carlson to celebrate Kocian’s Olympic journey.
Last October in Glasgow, Scotland, Kocian won the World Uneven Bars Championship in an unprecedented four-way tie.
Kocian, 19 and headed for UCLA on an athletic scholarship, was the top qualifier for the Olympic uneven bars final with a 15.866 in the preliminaries.
Her robust 15.933 on bars during the team final Aug. 9 helped her squad win the gold medal by a staggering margin of more than eight points.
The U.S. last won an uneven bars Olympic gold medal in 1984, when Julianne McNamara tied Ma Yanhong of China.
Look for expanded coverage of Madison Kocian coming soon in the print edition of The Texas Catholic.