Brilliant performances by Aylesbury's Gadirova twins in Olympic all-round gymnastics final

Jessica achieves dream of top 10 and Jennifer 13th in Tokyo 2020

By Zoe Ashton
Thursday, 29th July 2021, 3:04 pm
Updated Thursday, 29th July 2021, 3:06 pm
Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova (Picture Getty Images)
Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova (Picture Getty Images)

Aylesbury's Olympic bronze-medal winning twin gymnasts are celebrating 10th and 13th place in Tokyo 2020.

They have been competing in the individual all-round artistic gymnastics competition in Tokyo 2020 today (Thursday) - following Great Britain's incredible third place in the team event on Tuesday.

Jessica Gadirova - the European all-round bronze medalist earlier this year - achieved her dream of finishing in the top 10 with 53.965, with Jennifer just three places behind in 13th with 55.533.

"It's my first world ranking so I now know where I stand and how much I need to improve over the years, to grow," said delighted Jessica, in a BBC interview, congratulating them on their success.

"There was a little time to celebrate after our team bronze medal, but then it was back to training ready for another competition. I've still got the floor to come, so I'll rest for a few days and be back for the final."

And Jennifer, could still be in that floor final too: "Because I'm first reserve I might take Simone Biles' spot, we will just have to see," she said. "I will keep training and if she drops out that last minute I will be ready to go." Reigning Olympic champion, American legend Biles had made headlines earlier this week after withdrawing from the team and all-round event, due to her mental health.

Jennifer added: "I'm so pleased and just happy to be out here. It's my first my first major, so coming here, doing the all-round final, my first ever so I didn't know what to expect, but I just enjoyed the moment. Coming top 15, I'm happy about that, it's not too bad.

"I still can't believe we came away with bronze medals in the team and doing this final, coming 15th is amazing - and doing it all with my sister as well, I couldn't ask for any more really."

For the all-round final Jessica had qualified in 12th overall and Jennifer 17th to secure their places among the world's top 24 gymnasts.

In the opening rotation on the uneven bars, Jessica scored 13.666 to be 11th and Jennifer 12.4000 for 21st.

But BBC commentators explained bars is possibly the weakest of the four pieces of apparatus for the 16-year-old girls, who are very strong on the floor and vault.

On the balance beam in the second rotation, Jennifer scored 12.933 and Jessica 12.033 having been marked down for coming off the beam after being slightly off balance at the end of a big acrobatic series. But the small mistake didn't faze her and she carried on confidently, attracting praise from BBC commentators that she had packed the routine with difficulty, showing huge potential for the future. They reminded viewers that Jessica is only behind Biles with the highest dismount off the beam they have seen - and all the moves are landing on something only as wide as a house brick!

After the second rotation Jessica was 18th and Jennifer 21st.

Two excellent floor routines, with Jessica scoring 13.7 and Jennifer 13.8 lifted them to 17th and 20th respectively.

European champion Jessica will be one of eight gymnasts competing for the medals in the floor exercise final on Monday and Jennifer is first reserve after their success in the individual qualification last Sunday.

The final rotation saw the twins on vault, both with their highest scores of the day, Jennifer adding 14.4 to her all-round total and Jessica 14.566.

Gold went to America's Sunisa Lee (57.433), with Rebeca Andrade of Brazil taking silver with 57.298 and Angelina Melnikova (Russian Olympic Committee) bronze on 57.199.

Summarising their success, BBC commentator Beth Tweddle - herself an Olympic bronze medalist - said the twins should be very proud of themselves, with performances not only to build on, but to celebrate.

And they are still only 16, so will only be 19 in the next Olympics, Paris 2024 just three years away.