Italian gymnast Vanessa Ferrari wins first Olympic medal at 30 years old


TOKYO, JAPAN – AUGUST 02: Vanessa Ferrari of Team Italy competes during the Women’s Floor Exercise Final on day ten of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre on August 02, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

(NBC Olympics) — At 15 years old, Vanessa Ferrari won the all-around competition at the 2006 World Championships and made history as the first female Italian gymnast to bring home a gold. 

Fifteen years later, she became the first Italian woman to win an individual Olympic medal of any color by capturing silver in the floor exercise event final. Her score of 14.200 was only topped by Jade Careywho posted a 14.366 and won the gold by hitting extremely difficult tumbling passes.

Ferrari’s routine featured powerful choreography and solid landings, which helped her edge out the two gymnasts who both scored a 14.166 and tied for third. Prior to the Tokyo Games, Ferrari’s highest finish at the Olympics was fourth. She just missed the podium in 2012 and 2016 but got her medal moment in 2021. 

SEE MORE: Gymnastics 101: Scoring

Ferrari, 30, has represented Italy at the last four Summer Olympics, and she is the oldest artistic gymnastics medalist in Tokyo. Her medal is the first for Italy in women’s artistic gymnastics since the 1928 Olympics when the nation won a team silver during the inaugural women’s artistic gymnastics competition. 

In the last 50 years, only two women in their 30s have won an Olympic gymnastics medal. Ferrari now joins the legendary Oksana Chusovitinawho made her eighth Olympic appearance by competing vault during the qualification round in Tokyo, in the exclusive club.

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