Rosie MacLennan wins silver medal at 2014 world trampoline and tumbling championships

DAYTONA BEACH, Florida — Cool and calm under pressure, Rosie MacLennan of Toronto won the silver medal at the 2014 world trampoline championships on Saturday, making the 2012 Olympic champion one of the sport’s most decorated competitors.

MacLennan, who has been off the podium only once at the world championships since 2007, opted to attempt a riskier routine in the final rather than play it safe to have a better chance at defending the world title title she won last year in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Despite landing three triple somersaults for the first time in competition — a feat few women have attempted — MacLennan fell just shy of her second straight world title with a score of 55.130 in the final.

Liu Lingling of China, took the gold with a score of 55.990 for an easier routine that scored higher marks for execution.

Adding the third somersault to her routine boosted MacLennan’s degree of difficulty to 15.600 points, well ahead of Lingling at 14.400.

Hanna  Harchonak of Belarus took the bronze with 53.975 points.

“ I was really excited to get out there and do three triples in my routine for the first time,” said MacLennan. “Obviously it would have been nice to defend the title, but I’m really happy with how things went this week.”

“There have been girls who have tried it and it’s definitely going to be a bit of a race to see who can get the three triples conquered first.”

MacLennan went into this year’s world championships leading the strongest Canadian women’s team ever sent to the annual event.

But three-time Olympic medal winner Karen Cockburn of Toronto broke her ankle in a training session just days before the competition and rising star Samantha Sendel of Aurora, Ont., withdrew because of dizziness following a recent concussion, leaving MacLennan and Samantha Smith of Toronto to deal with the pressure of high expectations.

MacLennan never faltered, placing second in the prelims, semifinal and final while Smith stepped up with the best performance of her career to finish eighth in the women’s final.

“It makes me really excited to get back in the gym,” said Smith, who qualified for the final at a world championship for the first time after coming close last year and finishing 11th.

“I’ve been able to see what the level of competition is like in a final and I’ve got a lot of things to work on.”

In other events, Jon Schwaiger of Burlington, Ont., came away with a surprise sixth-place finish in the men’s double mini trampoline final and was also 20th in the tumbling qualifications.

In the women’s double mini, Tamara O’Brien of Vancouver, B.C. was the lone Canadian to reach the final, qualifying in fifth spot.

Tiana Hesmert of Richmond, B.C., was 11th, Arden Oh of Calgary 12th, and Pan Kriangkum of Edmonton, 13th.

In the men’s synchro competition brothers Kyle and Keegan Soehn of Red Deer, Alta., fell short of the top eight needed to qualify for the final after placing 12th in a field of 33 teams.

“Our first routine wasn’t as synchronized as we wanted but the second routine was really well done,” said Kyle Soehn.

In men’s tumbling prelims, Michael Chaves of Mississauga, Ont., placed 11th, Vincent Lavoie of Drummondville, Que., 15th, David Findlay of Hamilton, 23rd.

Competition concludes on Sunday with finals in women’s double mini trampoline, men’s individual trampoline, women’s synchro and men’s tumbling.

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