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Rio Crowd Gasps as Madison Kocian Narrowly Misses on Gold After Stellar Uneven Bars Performance

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She’s arguably the member of the Final Five who has gotten the least attention during the 2016 Rio Olympics, but Madison “Maddy” Kocian made it crystal clear on Sunday afternoon why she’s part of the team.

In a very close contest, Kocian took the silver in the women’s uneven bars finals. It’s her second medal, after winning the gold with the women’s gymnastics team all-around last week.

After performing a dynamic routine, the crowd in the Rio Olympic Arena clearly believed that the 19-year-old gymnast had scored high enough to land in first place. When she received her score, 15.833, the crowd gasped – and booed.

In their seats, Kocian’s teammates Aly Raisman and Laurie Hernandez looked at each other in stunned silence, their mouths agape. (Raisman mouthed the word “What?” to Hernandez, and they both shook their heads.)

From left: Sophie Scheder, Aliya Mustafina and Madison Kocian
Rebecca Blackwell/AP
Still, Kocian’s score was enough to take the silver medal, behind the Russian Federation’s Aliya Mustafina, who scored a 15.900. Germany’s Sophie Scheder took the bronze with 15.566.

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The other American in the competition, Gabby Douglas, finished 7th with a 15.066

When it was over, Kocian beamed and waved at the crowd. Hernandez and Raisman waved back and cheered. Kocian continued to smile happily through the medal ceremony.

Kocian was a favorite to take gold at the uneven bars, even though Mustafina was the reigning champion. She had been selected for Team U.S.A. specifically because of her skills on the uneven bars and secured a high score in the event during the qualifiers and the all-around competition.