Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Mexican gymnast Alexa Moreno continues comeback, wins gold in Paris

Two-time Olympic gymnast Alexa Moreno of Mexico added some major glimmer to her comeback by winning a gold medal and a bronze at a world-class gymnastics competition in Paris over the weekend.

The native of Mexicali, Baja California won gold in vault, her specialty event, and took home an unexpected bronze in the floor exercise at the season’s final event in the World Challenge Cup series run by the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG).

Moreno was voted “Mexican Woman of the Year” by readers of El Financiero in 2019, and received the Mexican Medal of Sporting Merit in 2020. (Mario Jasso/Cuartoscuro)

Moreno, 29, was part of Team Mexico as a reserve in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, then finished fourth in vault in the 2020 Games in Tokyo, which were held in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She missed a bronze by less than one-tenth of a point, but was still only the second Mexican female gymnast to qualify for an Olympic final.

Moreno will turn 30 on the fourth-to-last day of the 2024 Olympics in Paris next summer — an advanced age for competitive women’s gymnastics. But she still has a chance to qualify for those games at the World Gymnastics Championships in Antwerp, Belgium, starting Sept. 30.

After the 2020 Games, Moreno said she would retire from the sport that she began as a three-year-old. But in March of this year, she announced her return, setting her sights on the Pan American Gymnastics Championships in Medellín, Colombia, at the end of May. There, she won a gold medal in vault. Her comeback continued in July when she trained in Houston, Texas, alongside seven-time Olympic medalist Simone Biles of the U.S.

As part of what one publication dubbed “Alexa 2.0,” Moreno has said goodbye to her Spanish coach Alfredo Hueto, with whom she won bronze in vault in the 2018 World Championships in Doha, Qatar, becoming the first Mexican female gymnast to earn a medal in that competition.

Olympic medallist Moreno (left) has seen a resurgence in competition, after parting ways with her long-time coach Alfredo Hueto. (Alexa Moreno/Instagram)

This year, she has been training with former Mexican gymnast Aldo Torres Laveaga at the Autonomous University of Baja California (UABC). At the Central American and Caribbean Games in El Salvador this summer, she brought home three golds, one silver and one bronze.

In addition, at the end of last year, she published a book, “Singular y extraordinaria” (Singular and Extraordinary).  which related her emotional Olympics experience in 2016, during which she was body-shamed by internet trolls and others for not having a “typical” gymnast’s body. 

In 2019, she won Mexico’s National Sports Award, honoring her as the country’s best non-professional athlete. In the same year, in a poll conducted by the newspaper El Financiero, she was named Mexico’s woman of the year.

With reports from Milenio, Reforma and Remezcla

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