After a valiant effort, Cayman Islands Gymnast Raegan Rutty has shifted her focus from the 2019 Pan American Games to the upcoming World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Germany, after she was unable to qualify for the individual apparatus finals on Saturday, 27 July 2019.
Rutty says, “Not qualifying for finals was definitely disappointing. I really wanted to qualify and go in front of the audience again to show everyone what Cayman has to offer, but I definitely learned a lot from this competition.”
The 17-year-old was the first athlete to compete for the Cayman Islands in Mixed Group 3 for the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Qualification Subdivision 1, alongside three athletes from Jamaica and two from the Dominican Republic.
Rutty needed to score in the top 24 to proceed to the finals, which includes Floor, Vault, Uneven Bars, Balance Beam and Individual All-Around. Rutty, unfortunately, missed the mark and placed an overall38 out of 58 competitors. She placed 40th in Vault, 49th in Uneven Bars, 48th in the Balance Beam and 46th in Floor, with the following scores:
• Vault - 12.075
• Uneven Bars - 9.600
• Balance Beams - 9.400
• Floor - 9.900
“I feel really good [with my scores], there was a bunch of skills that [I completed for the first time] and I made those skills really well, like bars, that was a new bar routine completely. Even though I missed my dismount, the hardest part of my routine, I made it pretty well, pretty solid and clean, so I was really happy about that,” says Rutty.
Rutty’s coach, Edward Umphrey said these Games were filled with a lot of first for the young gymnast, including hervery first Pan Ams, the first athlete to compete for the Cayman Islands and, her first set of newly upgraded routines.
“Even though Raegan didn’t qualifyI am extremely proud of her. Many of the girls that she was competing with in the competition already competed at multiple Olympic Games, Pan Am Games and CAC [Central American and Caribbean] Games and every game you can think of. This is Raegan’s first Pan Am Games and really her biggest competition.” Umphrey added, “We completed a lot of new upgrades for this competition and she did them very well, probably the best I have seen her do, so that was a huge accomplishment and really just showed me where her mindset is at.”
In the qualification round, Rutty was up against some of the world’s best including, USA gymnasts Morgan Hurd, 18, and Riley McCusker,18, who are poised to become the faces of U.S. gymnastics heading into Tokyo; and Ellie Black, the 23 year- old Canadian, who was the most-decorated athlete at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games, winning five medals.
Rutty comments, “It was fun to just get out there and hear all the girls yelling my name, just living in the moment and just embracing the crowd and the music. It was just amazing.”
Rutty is now using Lima as a measuring stick to prepare her for the upcoming World Championships in October, where she can forge her path to the 2020 Olympic Games.
“I have the World Championships coming up, so this meet was good at seeing where I am physically and mentally [..] and getting ready for the World Championships to qualify for Tokyo,” says Rutty.
There is no mistaking the fact that qualifying for Tokyo at the World Championships is a goal for Rutty, but she says she is still basking in the Pan American dream.
“After my floor routine when I saluted I said ‘I did it, I finished’.” Raegan added, “I said ‘You know what?’I can do this, I own this, I can do this.It’s crazy, it is really just a once in a lifetime opportunity and I just, I did it!”