Yamilet Peña Abreu (born December 4, 1992 in Santo Domingo) is an elite artistic gymnast from the Dominican Republic who won the 2012 Pan American Championship gold medal on vault, gold at the 2014 Medellin World Cup, and the bronze medal at the 2012 Zibo World Cup. She is known for her execution of the Produnova, a handspring double front on vault.
Peña started to practice gymnastics at the age of 6 and practiced diving from the age of 12. She was nicknamed "chiqui" for her tiny size.
In the middle of 2004, Peña and her fellow gymnasts took part in a public petition calling for the ousting of the President of the Gymnastics Federation, Stephen Galva. The gymnastics pavilion was kept closed and its condition deteriorated. Galva did not fulfill promises he had made to the athletes. Peña was undecided whether to practice diving or artistic gymnastics, and was asked to go on loan to the Diving Federation for the 2005 season by coach Francisco Balbuena. With her teammate Ninoska Ortiz, Peña participated in the 20th Central American and Caribbean Games held in Cartagena, Colombia, where she finished 8th in the team competition and 22nd in the all-around; she did not qualify for any event final. At the XIII International Puerto Rico Cup, Peña was 12th on vault in qualifying with a 13.600, 25th on uneven bars, 26th on balance beam, 27th on floor exercise, and 26th in the all-around with a 42.700. In the vault finals she was placed 6th after sitting her vault.
In 2008, the Dominican Olympic Committee recognized Peña as Athlete of the Year in women's artistic gymnastics for 2007. At the XXV International Gymnastics Tournament of the Americas held in Huelva, Spain, Peña won the gold medal in the all-around, scoring a 47.133 and was placed ahead of Costa Rican Carla Gutiérrez (44.300) and Spaniard Andrea Ortega (36.836). In 2009, Peña was awarded Athlete of the Year by the Association of Santo Domingo (ACD) and separately by the Dominican Olympic Committee.
After training in Miami, Peña participated at the 2010 Central American and Caribbean Games in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, partnering with Montserrat Armenteros. She was placed 17th in the all-around qualifier and finished 13th in the all-around finals with a score of 45.750. Peña also qualified first to the vault finals with a score of 13.700, but finished last of the eight competitors in the vault finals after failing her first vault attempt (therefore receiving 0.000 for it).
Peña participated at the 2010 Senior Pan American Championships held in Guadalajara, Mexico, and finished with an all-around final ranking of 48th and a score of 44.232. She was placed 16th in the vault qualifier with a score of 13.633, not qualifying to the final. She did not qualify for the final of any other event, and finished 42nd on uneven bars (11.100), 57th on beam (10.766), and 66th on floor exercise (9.200).
For another year, both the Dominican Olympic Committee and the Association of Santo Domingo named Peña Athlete of the Year in women's artistic gymnastics.
In July, Peña competed in the XI Campeonato Internacional Estrellas Gimnas-Ticas, held in Costa Rica, where she won the gold medal in the vault event, followed by Puerto Rican Nicole Vázquez and Mexican Ahtziri Sandoval. Peña won the gold medal on vault at the 15th Puerto Rico Cup, held in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, where she scored 14.350, finishing ahead of Colombian Jessica Gil (14.200) and Puerto Rican Paula Mejias (13.862).
In Maracaibo, Venezuela, at the IV ALBA Games, Peña won the silver medal in the vault event finishing with a 13.800 score, just behind the Cuban Dovelis Torres (13.863). She was also ranked 11th in the all-around (49.150), 8th on uneven bars (11.825), 5th on beam (12.500) and 7th on floor exercise (11.275).
The National Gymnastics Federation asked the Dominican Republic Ministry of Sports and Olympic Committee to contribute about RD 600,000 (approximately US $15,789 in August 2011) to pay for the use of a training camp in the United States and for sending a team to the 2011 World Championships. For the first time, Peña participated at the World Gymnastics Championships in Tokyo, Japan, qualifying 3rd in the vault event with a score of 14.466 after successfully landing the Produnova (a handspring double front), an element which had not been performed since 1999. Peña is only the second women to complete this element. However, a failed attempt at the Produnova in the event final left her finishing last of the eight competitors. Peña ranked 25th in all-around and 3rd in vault (14.087) qualifiers at the 2011 Pan American Games. She finished in 18th place in the all-around final (48.275) and 8th in vault; after sitting down during her first somersault and thus scoring a 0.000, and experienced a bad landing on the second vault, she finished last with a score of 6.950. In early 2012, her head coach Susan Frank stated that because of the crowd and the presence of cameras, Peña had a panic attack after qualifying for the finals.
For another year, Peña was named as Athlete of the Year by the Dominican Olympic Committee for her performance in women's artistic gymnastics.
In February, Peña received the Female Athlete of the Year in Gymnastics award. In March, she received an Athlete of the Year award from the Sports Writers Association of Santo Domingo. In April, Peña publicly complained about earning just RD $3,000 (approximately US $78 in April 2012) and being rated D, the lowest class among Dominican Republic athletes, despite qualifying for the Olympics and having won a World Cup medal.
In April, Peña finished the qualifying round in first place of the vault event at the 2012 World Cup held in Zibo, People's Republic of China. She scored 14.800 after successfully performing the handspring double front and a 1½ twisting Yurchenko, and finished ahead of Chinese Cheng Fei (14.425) and Mexican Alexa Moreno (14.312). She later won the bronze medal after landing the Produnova scoring 14.125 points after the two rounds. She was also was chosen as the most popular gymnast in the competition.
After winning the bronze in Zibo, she received sponsorship from the health care provider ARS Universal, and Air France. In May, Peña started training in Cancún, Mexico, with better equipment, answering the National Federation's claims for support.
In June she won the gold medal in the vault event at the Pan American Championships held in Medellín, Colombia, scoring 14.500 in the vault qualifier and 14.763 in the finals, ahead of Puerto Rican Paula Mejias (14.038) and Brazilian Adrian Nunes (13.888). Peña scored 11.833 in floor exercise, ranking 14th in the qualifier.
In preparation for the 2012 Summer Olympics, held in London, Peña worked with her coaches Laura Ramírez and Francisco Susana, and performed her set to the song La llave de mi corazón, by the Dominican singer and record producer Juan Luis Guerra. On July 29, 2012, Peña, as part of the Subdivision 1 Rotation 4, scored a 14.699 on vault.
In July 2012, Peña participated at the final qualifier for the Olympic Games, the Olympic Test Event. She finished 69th in the all-around (46.581), 82nd on floor exercise (11.866), 87th on beam (9.566), 76th on uneven bars (11.516), and 9th on vault qualification (13.099), ranking reserve number 1 for the vault finals. After the competition, the International Federation announced the team and individual qualifiers for the Olympics Games, which included Peña among the 35 individual qualifiers. This made Peña the first Dominican Republic gymnast to qualify for the Summer Olympics since the opening of the National Federation in 1973.
During qualifications, Peña qualified fifth to the vault event final. In the event final, Peña went up fourth. She performed her handspring double front first, but sat down, scoring a 14.566. Her second vault was a double-twisting Yurchenko, where she took a large step back and scored a 14.466 and averaging out to a 14.516. She finished sixth.
In August, at the Pan American Championships, she placed eighth on vault. She was the Dominican Republic's sole gymnast at the World Championships, where she competed in the fifth subdivision of qualifications. She qualified in seventh to the vault final. She performed second in the vault final, again sitting down her Produnova and scoring a 14.466. She also fell on her second vault, a double-twisting Yurchenko, and scored a 13.466, and averaging out to a 13.966. She finished seventh. She went on to compete at the Bolivarian Games in November, placing eighth on vault.
Peña competed at the Pan American Sports Festival in July, winning silver on vault and placing fourth on bars and thirteenth in the all-around. In August, she competed at the Pan American Senior Championships, where she placed 46th in the all-around and did not qualify to the event finals. Injuries kept her out of the World Championships in October, but she recovered well enough to win gold on vault at the Medellin World Cup the following month. Later, she competed at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Veracruz, Mexico, where she placed seventh on vault (after opting not to do the Produnova) and thirteenth in the all-around.
Peña competed at the São Paulo and Anadia World Cups in May, but failed to qualify for the event finals in either of the competitions. In July, she competed at the Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada, where she qualified for the vault final. Although she fell in the final, her high difficulty kept her up in the standings and won her a silver medal. In October, she competed at the World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland, but failed to make the all-around or event finals.
Though people believed she had retired after not qualifying to the Olympics in Rio, she resurfaced at the Central American Sports Festival in Guatemala, winning gold on vault, and placing eighth with her team and eleventh in the all-around.
|2006||Central American and Caribbean Games||8|
|International Puerto Rico Cup||6|
|2008||International Gymnastics Tournament||1st|
|2010||Central American and Caribbean Games||13||8|
|2011||Campeonato Internacional Estrellas||1st|
|International Puerto Rico Cup||1st|
|Tokyo World Championships||8|
|2012||Zibo World Cup||3rd|
|Pan American Championships||1st|
|London Olympic Games||6|
|2013||Pan American Senior Championships||8|
|Antwerp World Championships||7|
|2014||Pan American Sports Festival||13||2nd||4|
|Pan American Senior Championships||46|
|Medellin World Cup||1st|
|Veracruz Central American and Caribbean Games||13||7|
|2015||Toronto Pan American Games||2nd|
|2017||Central American Sports Festival||8||11||1st|