Japanese Kenzo Shirai and China’s Fan Yilin get the Gold in the First Day Finals
Doha (QAT), AGU Office, October 31, 2015: Unprecedented: A 4-way tie for gold on Uneven Bars
It was an Uneven Bars final worth its weight in gold: For the first time in the history of the sport, four gymnasts — China’s Fan Yilin, Russians Viktoria Komova and Daria Spiridonova and American Madison Kocian — tied for the World title. Each of the four scored 15.366, setting the SSE Hydro crowd buzzing and tripling the duration of the awards ceremony.
Fan, Komova, Spiridonova and Kocian will forever be linked in the annals of Women’s Gymnastics, which has never seen anything like this. Ties for gold at Worlds have been more frequent in Men’s Gymnastics, including three-way splits on Pommel Horse in 1903 and 1992, and on High Bar in 1922. Five gymnasts tied for silver on Parallel Bars in 1922.
The first king of Britain
Since Beth Tweddle became the British women’s first World champion in 2006, the British men have been waiting for the gymnast who would win them a world crown as well. It came to an end Saturday as Max Whitlock spun his way to the Pommel Horse title, besting teammate Louis Smith by a mere tenth of the point. The two 2012 Olympic Pommel Horse medallists thus combined to produce their country’s best ever result in Gymnastics: British gymnasts on the first and second steps of the podium.
If anything helped Whitlock and Smith on Pommel Horse, it was the absence of reigning World and Olympic champion Krisztian Berki of Hungary, who did not qualify for the medal round. With a gold, three silvers and a bronze already in their pockets, Glasgow 2015 has is already Great Britain’s most successful World Championships. It’s not over yet, either: The British will have three more chances to medal tomorrow on the second day of finals.
Russia returns to the top
After failing to earn medals in team finals and the All-around competition, 2012 Olympic Vault bronze medallist Maria Paseka revived the Russian women with gold on Vault, her country’s first on the event since 2002. Paseka also deprived 2008 Olympic Vault champion Hong Un Jong of a second consecutive World title: the two competed the same vaults, though Paseka’s superior execution made the difference. Minutes later, during the incredible Uneven Bars final, Komova and Spiridonova earned Russia another two golds.
The rebound of Mr. Twist
Even in the absence of Kohei Uchimura, the Japanese hit parade continued Saturday, with twisting sensation Kenzo Shirai regaining the World Floor title he won in 2013. As Shirai slayed the audience and judges by nailing his quadruple twist final pass to win his second gold of this championships, Great Britain’s Max Whitlock was no less happy in silver, while Spain’s Rayderley Zapata won bronze.
One more for Biles
Already golden in the team and All-around finals, American Simone Biles gave herself one more reason to smile, adding the bronze on Vault to her growing medal collection. The medal is Biles’s 12th at a World Championships, breaking the American record she set earlier this week.
Medallists from individual apparatus event finals in Glasgow advance directly to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, provided their teams do not qualify. Ergo, Eleftherios Petrounias (GRE, gold on Still Rings), Hong Un Jong (PRK, silver on Women’s Vault) and Harutyun Merdinyan (ARM, bronze on Pommel Horse), all gymnasts whose teams did not compete at this World Championships, have qualified as individuals to next summer’s Olympics.
Rayderley Zapata (ESP, bronze on Men’s Floor) can also sleep easily, knowing that his place at the Games is secure as well, even if the Spanish men don’t qualify a team to Rio at April’s Olympic Test Event.