Romania's Iordache recovers to win bronze

Published Oct. 29, 2015 8:02 p.m. EDT

GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) It was the night of redemption for Romania.

Tumbling on the mat and flying between the bars, Larisa Iordache recovered from her team's poor qualifying session at the world gymnastics championships to earn a bronze medal Thursday in the all-around final.

''Yes, I try (for) revenge,'' Iordache said after finishing behind Simone Biles and Gabby Douglas. ''I try all the time thinking about my girls who support me. When up on the bars and on the floor, I think this is for me and my girls.''

Still, with the bronze medal hanging from her neck and a flower bouquet in her hand, Iordache was far from jubilant. The memory of her team's 13th-place finish in qualifying - a result that kept it out of the team final for the first time in more than 40 years - is still fresh.


''Now I am OK but not so much better because my team is (not in the) top,'' she said.

The Romanians marched into the SSE Hydro last Friday as a favorite for a team medal only to leave in tears. They were sluggish on floor exercise and uninspired on vault. Iordache fell off the uneven bars - so did three other teammates. On the beam, Iordache botched an early skill.

''Yeah, (it) was one disaster,'' said Iordache, the all-around silver medalist last year in the world championship.

On Thursday, Iordache's rebound began on the balance beam. She was the first to compete on the beam and opted for a highly difficult routine. With few wobbles, she scored 14.766, which would not be overtaken for the rest of the night.

On the mat, she made a series of nice tumbles and leaps, drawing loud applause from the audience.

On the vault, she performed the Yurchenko double twist, in which she rounded off onto the springboard, did a back handspring onto the table before a double twist. She scored 15.066, enough to move her up into the fourth place and within reach of Chinese gymnast Shang Chunsong.

When the bell rang for the fourth and final rotation, the odds were in Iordache's favor. Shang headed to the vault, her weakest event. The difficulty level for Shang's routine was low, and her execution was nothing spectacular. Shang scored 13.866, leaving plenty of room for Iordache to catch up on the uneven bars.

And the Romanian did - with a score of 14.800.

''(It) was so good for me, was a good routine,'' Iordache said.

After the award ceremony, Iordache said Biles had been cheering for her.

''Simone tells me, I believe in you,'' Iordache said. ''And it's the day ... It was a hard day for me but it was a good one.''