© Ron Wyatt

SINGAPORE – On the sixth day of competition at the inaugural 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, trampoline gymnast Savannah Vinsant (Lafayette, La.) placed fifth. Vinsant was in second place heading into the finals, but a slight mistake on her last skill touch caused her to land on the end mat, putting her in fifth place.

“My performance was good until the end,” Vinsant said. “I got a little lost. I tried to rush the finish too early. It’s not over until you’re on the floor, off the trampoline. The last couple of competitions I’ve had, I’ve tried to finish just a little too soon. This kind of hurts, because of course getting a medal was one of my goals here. I can only learn from it; it can help me for the ‘12 (Olympic) Games, because that’s my long-term goal. I’m glad for the medalists, but I know I could have been up there with them.”

Vinsant’s coach, Tara Guidry, was proud of her gymnast.

“Savannah did very good in compulsory and prelim optional,” Guidry said. “It’s always a good experience; it’s always a learning lesson. Now she’ll be senior elite from here on. There are a lot of good things ahead for her.”

Vinsant has had great success in the junior ranks, medaling at the last three World Age Group Competitions. She won gold in 2005 in Eindhoven, Netherlands, as an 11-12 division competitor; silver in 2007 in Quebec, Canada, as a 13-14 division competitor; and gold again in 2009 in St. Petersburg, Russia, as a 15-16 division competitor.

She competed at the 2010 Visa Championships for the first time as a senior, finishing sixth. That was good enough to qualify her for her first World Championships, which take place in November in Metz, France. It’s all a part of the journey to the 2012 Olympic Games.

“I know the competition now,” Vinsant said. “I know who to look for as far as the ’12 Games. I’ll go back home and keep the fire in my heart for the ’12 Games and keep pushing myself to do my best. That’s all I can ask for. I’ve wanted the Olympic Games experience since I started trampoline. When you get this far, it’s in your hand almost. You can reach it. You just have to get there.”

1. Yu Dong (CHN) 39.900
2. Sviatlana Makshtarova (BLR) 37.700
3. Chisato Doihata (JPN) 36.700
U.S. Finisher
5. Savannah Vinsant (USA) 33.50

“My experience here has been great. I love Singapore. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience here. I didn’t expect the culture in the (Athlete) Village. The tents that were set up (as part of the Culture and Education Program) – so many kids got to meet so many different people and got to learn so much. I really have enjoyed learning, meeting new people. I wasn’t expecting that.”

About Team USA
The U.S. Team in Singapore is comprised of 82 athletes in 18 sports, the maximum number of qualified U.S. athletes. Team USA is competing in aquatics (swimming and diving), archery, badminton, basketball, boxing, equestrian, fencing, gymnastics, judo, modern pentathlon, sailing, table tennis, taekwondo, track & field, triathlon, volleyball, weightlifting and wrestling. Complete information on Team USA can be found at youtholympicgames.teamusa.org.

About the 2010 Youth Olympic Games
Singapore is hosting the inaugural Youth Olympic Games from Aug. 14-26, 2010, as young athletes ages 14-18 compete in 26 sports and take part in the Culture and Education Program. Approximately 3,600 athletes from around the world will participate, and 204 National Olympic Committees will be represented. The Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games aim to inspire youth to embrace, and embody and express the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect. More information can be found at www.singapore2010.sg.

Story courtesy of the USOC