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Mexican gymnast makes history with fourth place finish in women's vault

Alexa Moreno, 26, was less than a tenth of a point behind the bronze medalist at the Tokyo Olympics.

TOKYO, Japan — Mexican gymnast Alexa Moreno made history for the Latin American country at the Tokyo Olympics by finishing fourth place in women’s vault.

Moreno finished less than a tenth of a point behind third place, which was won by Seojeong Yeo from the Republic of Korea. Brazil’s Rebeca Andrade won the gold while U.S.’ MyKayla Skinner landed the silver.

“I did my job like I know how to do it, so I’m very happy,” Moreno said. “I was less than a tenth from a medal, but that’s how things happen.”

RELATED: After Biles exit, MyKayla Skinner wins silver medal on vault

The 26-year-old was only the second woman representing Mexico to make the finals. The first was Denisse Lopez, who made it to the finals in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

The gymnast, born in Mexicali, said this year has been a difficult one for her, citing several injuries and potential upcoming surgery. Regardless, she brought home a new achievement even after a two-year break to focus on college.

Heading into the finals, she said she was happy with any place she got.

“In the final I need to feel more comfortable with myself and the vault,” Moreno said. “The important thing is to land right… Whatever place I get will leave me satisfied.”

Now, with a historic finish under her belt, the gymnast is headed back home, to rest and heal, according to the Mexican Olympic Committee.

The Tokyo Olympics was Moreno’s second time competing in the Olympics, after first competing in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, where she placed twelfth in vault.

The Tijuana resident isn’t new to making history. She became the first Mexican female gymnast to win a medal at the 2018 World Championships in Doah, Qatar in 2018 just months after returning from a hiatus. She won the bronze medal and was right behind Canada’s Shallon Olsen, who placed second, and American icon Simone Biles, who landed first place at the 2018 world championship.

When asked about being an icon and role model for younger generations in Mexico, she replied saying “I hope so.”

“Sometimes they say things like that to me and it gives me great joy, because I feel like I'm leaving something for those who come after,” she said. “This is not only about competing, but also about leaving a mark, transcending my country's sport. I hope I'm helping, in some way, to make it clear that Mexico exists in gymnastics.”

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