Cork teenager Meg Ryan fulfilled a lifelong ambition this morning by becoming just the second Irish female gymnast in history to compete at the Olympic Games, the 19-year-old scoring a tally of 47.199 in all-around qualification.
Ryan opened her rotation at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre on the balance beam, where she scored 10.466, and followed that with the floor, where she racked up a score of 12.000.
She scored 13.200 on the vault and finished off with 11.533 on the uneven bars, which put her 25th overall.
The top 24 gymnasts go through to the final, but with many more set to compete during the day, including gold medal favourite Simone Biles, Ryan will drop down the standings.
Being here, on the biggest stage in sport, left the Douglas athlete rightfully beaming with pride.
“To officially be an Olympian is just amazing, it’s surreal,” she said. “It’s been an amazing experience overall, just looking around and taking it all in.
"I knew that no matter what happened I was just going to try and enjoy it.” The stage didn’t come without its dangers, however, with Ryan – who delivered Ireland’s first ever World Cup podium finish at the 2019 World Challenge Cup in Turkey – making a key error on the beam.
“Definitely a bit of nerves, I think beam is always a shaky one to start on anyway,” she said. “In my own head, a silly mistake that was made and it’s something that wouldn’t normally happen.
"I got into it though, and after that I tried to put it behind me and focus on the rest and I think I did a good job with that.
“I was happy with the rest of the performance. I was really happy with floor, I added a few small bits and pieces – a few new leaps and a spin – and they all went well.
"I was also happy with my vault as that is something that I didn’t get to compete at Europeans. This is my first time competing in a long time so I’m happy with that.
"These are some of the best gymnasts in the world so it’s amazing to be able to compete against them.”