Aleah Finnegan became the third Filipino to qualify to the 2024 Paris Olympics as she booked her Summer Games ticket through the 2023 Artistic Gymnastics World Championship in Belgium.
The 20-year-old Finnegan did so after ranking 32nd in the women’s all-around event with a tally of 51.366 points, which was enough to book one of the 14 Olympics slots at stake in the said event.
“It’s a dream come true. I’m just so thankful for the Philippines for giving me this opportunity that I would never have been able to take otherwise,” Finnegan said in an interview by the Olympics Games on X.
“Just to be here honoring my family, the Philippines, and honoring my dad who is in heaven, and all the people who put in so many sacrifices for me to be here, it is really just a dream come true.”
Finnegan joined an elite group of Olympic-bound Filipino athletes in pole vaulter EJ Obiena and another gymnast in Carlos Yulo.
This also makes Finnegan the first Filipino female gymnast to represent the Philippines in the quadrennial event since 1964, when Maria Luisa Floro and Evelyn Magluyan bannered the country in the Tokyo edition.
Initially competing for the USA, Finnegan made her Philippine debut during the 2021 SEA Games in Vietnam where she copped two gold medals in team and vault events while she snared silver in all-around and balance beam.
—Bea Micaller/JMB, GMA Integrated News