Rosie MacLennan leads Canadian trampoline sweep
Olympic champ wins 2nd straight Pan Am gold
Rosie MacLennan is a five-foot-two human dynamo who displays fearlessness and smarts whenever she performs on the trampoline.
The reigning Olympic champion showed both those traits Sunday night as she successfully defended her Pan Am Games gold medal in front of a raucous crowd at the Toronto Coliseum.
The King City, Ont., native delivered the most difficult routine among all her competitors, scoring 53.560 en route to a gold medal.
Mexico's Dafne Loza Navarro (52.000) finished with the silver medal, while Canadian teammate Karen Coburn (51.560) earned bronze less than eight months after shattering her ankle.
So honoured & proud to stand on the podium with <a href="https://twitter.com/Karen_Cockburn">@Karen_Cockburn</a>- thanks to all who came to cheer! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NowOrNever?src=hash">#NowOrNever</a> <a href="http://t.co/F2c83DH5xj">pic.twitter.com/F2c83DH5xj</a>—@RosieMacLennan
Later, Keegan Soehn made it a Canadian sweep by winning gold in the men's event.
The night, however, belonged to MacLennan.
Admittedly, MacLennan's routine -- featuring a pair of triple somersaults -- wasn't even close to her best performance, but it was more than enough so secure the victory.
"I am so ecstatic, the crowd is absolutely incredible," MacLennan told CBC Sports minutes after winning gold. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compete in front of the home crowd."
The opportunity almost didn't happen.
MacLennan had a minor scare about three weeks ago when the 26-year-old star suffered a mild concussion after over-rotating on a manoeuver in training.
Her preparation had to take a backseat to the point where MacLennan wasn't even sure earlier this week that she'd be able to compete at the Pan Am Games.
"Every day there was a decision," the 2013 world champion said. "I had timelines of when I had to do my routines and I met all those every day. We wanted to make sure we weren't putting my safety at risk. So every day I was getting assessed and made sure I didn't have any more symptoms."
Still, there was a physiological roadblock to get past. During the qualification session on Saturday, MacLennan stumbled and needed assistance from her coach, who threw in a mat on the side of the trampoline to keep her from falling off.
MacLennan would start the final round earlier than usual, but the No. 3 position actually worked to her advantage.
"I didn't quite have the preparation I wanted coming into the Games and the energy [of the home crowd] is something that I'm not quite used to, so I think a little bit of that and a little bit of nerves [caused it]. It just didn't go the way I wanted to," MacLennan said of her near disaster on Saturday.
"I was pretty focused. I think to have yesterday under my belt I knew how to get more stability on the trampoline and I knew how to get more focused on the routine. I didn't have quite as long to wait, and all in all, I think that definitely helped. I was able to live, learn and get stronger from there."
Less than her best
The hometown fans were robbed in one sense.
After winning Canada's only gold medal at the London Olympics, MacLennan decided to get more daring at last year's world championship, becoming the first woman in history to deliver three triple somersaults in a single routine.
Yet the concussion didn't allow MacLennan to get the practice time in needed to complete such a routine. In the end, she wouldn't risk her health just so she could duplicate her breathtaking triple-somersault performance in front of her family and friends.
"I didn't have the same preparation that I'd like," she said. "I wanted to stick with a routine that I was comfortable and confident with."
Judging from the thunderous ovations MacLennan and Cockburn received throughout the two days of competition, the crowd didn't seem to care about witnessing history.
They were simply overjoyed to see two of their own standing on the podium.