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Two-time Olympic champion Rosie MacLennan misses podium in women’s trampoline

Canada’s Rosie MacLennan was denied in her bid for an Olympic three-peat on Friday, settling for a fourth-place finish in the women’s trampoline at the Tokyo Games.

“Obviously not quite what I was hoping for,” MacLennan said. “I was really hoping to have the opportunity to stand on the podium for Canada again. Obviously I didn’t quite get there but I’m so happy for the athletes who did.”

Xueying Zhu (56.635) and Lingling Liu (56.350) led a one-two China finish. Britain’s Bryony Page took the bronze with 55.735 points, just ahead of MacLennan at 55.460.

MacLennan won Olympic gold at the 2012 Games in London and defended her title four years later in Rio. But her difficulty and execution marks were slightly below the medallists at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre, preventing a third straight trip to the Olympic podium.

The 32-year-old from Toronto was also in fourth place after the qualification round. Toronto’s Samantha Smith did not make the top-eight cut after finishing 14th in the 16-woman field.

In Rio, MacLennan became the only athlete to successfully defend an Olympic trampoline title. She also became the first Canadian woman to win two gold medals in an individual event at the Summer Games.

Her pre-Games training was somewhat hampered in 2016 due to injuries. But MacLennan still managed to deliver a strong final routine of twists, flips and jumps to take the gold in Rio.

Her lead-up to Tokyo followed a similar pattern, but she couldn’t duplicate the result. She revealed Friday that she suffered an ankle injury after a “bad landing” in training nine weeks ago that forced her to use crutches and a walking boot.

MacLennan said she completely tore “multiple ligaments,” partially tore another and suffered several bone bruises. She was only able to complete training routines for the first time post-injury just three weeks before the Games.

“The preparation wasn’t what I was hoping for,” MacLennan said. “I think given the circumstances and with all the support of the people around me I was able to do something (today) and make the final.

“If you had told me that six weeks ago, I would have been stoked. So it’s bittersweet.”

MacLennan, who finished seventh in her Olympic debut in 2008 at Beijing, was hoping to tie current national team director Karen Cockburn as the only Canadian to win three trampoline medals at the Games.

Trampolinists are scored on difficulty, execution, time of flight and horizontal displacement. Athletes have to find a balance of difficulty and execution without sacrificing height and mat placement.

MacLennan has kept pushing herself over the years by experimenting with different skill orders and incorporating more challenging elements. She won a world title in 2013 and took bronze in 2019.

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