Last night, Maria Paseka became the two-time World champion on vault. She is the second Russian woman to do that after Elena Zamolodchikova who won gold in 1999 and 2002.
Paseka’s win was somewhat controversial as her form on the Cheng is far from perfect and she had a low landing. However, she did a very good Amanar as her second vault, and her closest competition – Jade Carey – has lower difficulty and made two steps on the landing on her first vault.
Paseka told TASS that she landed the first vault badly because of too much adrenaline and that she didn’t expect to win:
“It’s hard for me to tell now which medal was harder [this one or the 2015 gold]. Both of them came are a result of very hard training. But I didn’t expect to become first here. I could’ve done the first vault better, but I had too much adrenaline and ran a bit harder than needed. And when I was landing, I felt that the mat was too close to my face. I thought that the landing was low which lowers the score. But, overall, it was a bit botchy, but I did my second vault better.”
In the interview to Gymcastic, Paseka told that she was extremely nervous before the final:
“My performance on vault went very well. I was actually scared, because I had a long break after the Olympics and, when I went to compete, I was extremely nervous, but I didn’t need to be”.
According to her, the multiple injuries that led to long breaks in training actually made her stronger:
“As a child, I had a lot of leg and foot injuries. And there were a lot of times when I had to recover [and miss training] because of multiple growth spurts. And, actually, this makes me even stronger, when I have to stop competing and then come back. Perhaps, I can also say this: my back pains – this recovery made me so strong, that sometimes I can just tune out and not feel the pain”.
Paseka said that she doesn’t plan on retiring and hopes to keep competing for medals in the future and her ultimate goal is to win Olympic gold on vault:
“All in all, I really want an Olympic gold on vault. And then, whatever God gives me”.
Valentina Rodionenko noted that after Paseka’s first vault the coaches were nervous about her medal chances:
“Maria Paseka, of course, pleased us. Although, she scared all of us a bit with her first vault, but her second vault was almost perfect”.
Photo: Russian Federation of Artistic Gymnastics