Led by Andreea Raducan, Romania swept the women’s all-around competition Thursday night, but it was faulty equipment that was the real story.
During the evening’s competition, it was discovered that the vault horse was set 5 cm too low, resulting in numerous falls and low vault scores during the first and second rotations.
Unfortunately for U.S. national champion Elise Ray, vault was her first event. Ray was one of the victims of the improper setting, landing on her back during her touch warm-up and falling on both vaults. She scored a 7.618.
Ray scored 9.750 on bars, but fell off beam, scoring a 8.887. She recorded a 9.537 on floor.
During Ray’s beam routine, Coach Kelli Hill was told of the incorrect vault setting. Gymnasts from the first and second rotation were allowed to vault over in a newly-created fifth rotation. Ray did, and scored a 9.487.
Never in the history of the Olympic Games has an additional rotation been added, or have gymnasts been allowed to compete again due to faulty equipment.
After her adjusted score, Ray finished 14th overall with 37.661 points. Amy Chow was 15th with 37.592. Kristen Maloney was 20th with 37.429.
Raducan collected 38.893 points, becoming the first Romanian since Nadia Comaneci to win an Olympic all-around title. Teammate Simon Amanar won the silver with 38.642 points and Maria Olaru took the bronze with 38.581. It was the first all-around sweep for Romania.