bronze in Stuttgart,
her country’s first
PRE-WORLD predictions certainly paid little attention to
Brazil’s Jade Barbosa. After all, she had placed only
fourth at July’s Pan American Games — behind
Americans Shawn Johnson, Rebecca Bross and Ivana
Hong — and that was with the home advantage. Those Pan Ams were held
medal, was just the
in Rio de Janeiro, where Barbosa was born on July 1, 1991.
latest in a string of
At the 2007 World Championships in Stuttgart in October, Barbosa was
reborn as one of the sport’s brightest stars. First, she led Brazil to eighth
place in preliminaries, and earned berths to three individual finals: all-around,
vault and balance beam. Her four-event total was sixth best of the meet, and
her 15.950 on vault was the event’s top mark, tied with China’s Cheng Fei.
By Dwight Normile
Not bad for a 16-year-old at her first worlds.
At the 2007 worlds, Jade
It would only get better. In the team final, Jade
Barbosa (right) tied for the
(ZHAH-deh) posted the top all-around score of the
all-around bronze with
defending world champion
meet (61.225) and lifted Brazil all the way to fifth,
Vanessa Ferrari of Italy.
its highest world finish to date.