Rebeca Andrade’s meteoric rise to the top of women’s gymnastics has now earned her the sport’s most coveted title: all-around champion. The Brazilian star won the gold medal at the world championships on Thursday, the most significant achievement of her remarkable two-year run.
Andrade tore her ACL three times, the most recent time in 2019, but she emerged as a global star during a breakout 2021 season that included two Olympic medals and two world championship medals. She soared ahead of the field with a score of 56.899 in Thursday’s all-around final in Liverpool, England, and lived up to the gold expectations that surrounded her entering the competition.
Andrade’s difficult routines gave her an advantage and helped her recover from a bar error. As the final competitor, the 23-year-old delivered an outstanding floor routine, which was more than enough to secure first place on the podium. She finished ahead of American Shilese Jones, who took silver, and Jessica Gadirova, who won Britain’s first worlds women’s all-around medal.
Jones, who won gold with the US team two days ago, has had a strong season, finishing second at nationals and demonstrating newfound consistency. She has been a senior elite competitor since 2018, but she has never made a world or Olympic team.
The 20-year-old placed 10th at the U.S. Olympic trials last year and decided to return to elite competition with the 2024 Paris Games as her goal. She’ll have a chance to win another medal in the bars final Saturday.
Heading into the last rotation, Andrade held a nearly one-point lead on Jones, who was comfortably in second.
The next four in the standings — including American Jade Carey, who had the third-best all-around score in the qualifying round — were separated by 0.367 points before their final routines determined who would take the bronze.
In front of a home crowd, Gadirova posted the best floor score of the day with a 14.400 that Andrade tied later in the rotation. Jones had a less difficult routine but executed it cleanly and had enough of a cushion from previous events to tally a final score of 55.399, ahead of Gadirova’s 55.199.
Carey, the Olympic gold medalist on the apparatus, needed a strong floor routine to overtake Gadirova. She did difficult tumbling but had minor deductions on each landing, finishing sixth overall with a 14.166. Her 54.698 total placed her behind Alice Kinsella of the United Kingdom and Ellie Black of Canada.
The American women dominated major all-around competitions with a stretch of 10 consecutive winners at world championships and the Olympics beginning in 2011. Simone Biles, with six of those titles, led that run of excellence. Jordyn Wieber (2011 world championships), Gabby Douglas (2012 Olympics), Morgan Hurd (2017 worlds) and Sunisa Lee (Tokyo Olympics) also claimed all-around gold.
Last year, just a few months after the Tokyo Olympics, Russia’s Angelina Melnikova won the all-around title, with Americans Leanne Wong and Kayla DiCello finishing second and third. The Russian women would have been medal contenders in the team competition and the all-around final this year, but they are barred due to their country’s invasion of Ukraine.
American Jordan Chiles did not advance to the final after falling multiple times on beam.