According to the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (2018), American Simone Biles added gold and bronze medals in finals, tying the all-time women’s record of 20 career world medals, as the 2018 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships concluded Saturday in Doha (QAT), where Liu Tingting (CHN), Ri Se Gwang (PRK), Zou Jingyuan (CHN), and Epke Zonderland (NED) were also crowned world champions.
Biles leaves Doha with a maximum six medals – four golds, one silver and one bronze — and is the first gymnast to win a medal in every event at the world championships since the late Yelena Shushunova (URS) in 1987. Biles’ 20 career medals is tied with Svetlana Khorkina (RUS) from 1994-2003, and the American now has more world championships gold medals than any other gymnast with 15.
Liu triumphs in Balance Beam final
The last competitor of the final, Liu Tingting (CHN) brought the Chinese women their sixth world title on Balance Beam with a beautiful routine that included a rare front handspring-front tuck combination. She scored 14.533 with the highest Difficulty mark in the final at 6.3.
“I just kept telling myself, ‘Calm down, calm down’, ” said Liu, the first Chinese world champion on Beam in seven years. “I didn’t think of a medal. I just believed in myself and tried my best. I feel so incredible.”
Ana Padurariu (CAN) won silver in her first world championships, equalling compatriot Shallon Olsen’s finish on Vault on Saturday.
Biles, the 2014 and 2015 world champion on Beam, had several large wobbles but won bronze, equalling her finish from the Rio Olympic Games.
Biles wins 14th world gold
Biles ended on Floor Exercise with a giant routine with four very difficult tumbling passes – layout double-double; double layout-half (Biles) to stag jump; layout front full to tucked full-in and tucked double-double dismount that amassed 6.7 Difficulty. She earned 14.933 after a 0.3 deduction for going out of bounds.
“I am definitely very happy, especially to win a medal in every event,” said Biles, who won by a full point. “No matter what colour the medal, I’m really proud of myself. It feels really rewarding because I’ve put a lot of hard work and dedication into this sport, so I couldn’t be happier. I’m really proud of my performances here. I wish some of them would have been better, but I’m really proud of the outcome.”
Teammate Morgan Hurd, who won gold with the U.S. women in the team final and bronze in the All-around, won the silver over defending world champion Mai Murakami (JPN), the All-around runner-up.
Ri claims third world title on Vault
Rio Olympic champion Ri Se Gwang (PRK) returned to action after skipping the 2017 World Championships and captured his third world championships title on men’s Vault. Ri performed his two 6.0-Difficulty namesake vaults -a piked Dragulescu and full-twisting Tsukahara double back – en route to first place with an average of 14.933.
“I had no special thing,” said Ri, 33. “I was only focusing on my execution, to complete both vaults successfully. Every element I execute is not an easy one. They are very difficult, but I had full confidence that I could execute these difficult elements easily.”
Artur Dalaloyan (RUS), who won gold in the All-around and on men’s Floor Exercise, added a silver. He showed the highest Execution scores but his two 5.6-Difficulty vaults (piked handspring double front and triple-twisting Yurchenko) were not enough to top Ri. Defending world champion Kenzo Shirai (JPN) won bronze with a triple-twisting Yurchenko of his own and 2 1/2-twisting Tsukahara.
Zou unstoppable on Parallel Bars
In a thrilling Parallel Bars final, defending champion Zou Jingyuan (CHN) performed a routine that was equal parts athleticism and artistry. Zou showed textbook technique and form on each element and ended with a stuck double front-half dismount for 16.433, the highest score of the 10-day competition in Doha, with a mammoth 7.0-Difficulty score.
Zou admitted that even he is in awe of his ability on the event.
“I feel I have a little bit of genius at this point,” he said. “I started to practice this routine about two years ago.”
Olympic champion Oleg Verniaiev (UKR), the 2014 world champion, won silver with 15.591. Dalaloyan won the bronze, his fifth medal in Doha.
‘Papa’ Zonderland reclaims Horizontal Bar title
2012 Olympic champion Epke Zonderland closed out the competition with a gold medal on Horizontal Bar, his third following world titles in 2013 and 2014. Zonderland, who welcomed son Bert days before he departed for Doha, was thrilled to take the title.
Zonderland threw two very difficult release combinations – a Cassina to Kovacs and a Kolman to Gaylord 2 – before sticking his double-twisting double layout dismount. He earned 15.100, the only score above 15.000 on the event in Doha, with a huge 6.8 in Difficulty.
“It was a really nice routine,” said Zonderland, who received a congratulatory phone call from Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte minutes after the final. “It felt good and there weren’t big mistakes. After two bad years before the (2016) Olympics, last year felt really good, but now I’m really back, and that feels really nice.”
The first-time father added, “This gold is for Bert.”
2015 world titlist Kohei Uchimura (JPN), who helped Japan win bronze in the team final in Doha, won his only individual medal with the silver. The two-time Olympic and six-time world All-around champion nailed his outstanding routine for 14.800 (6.4 Difficulty) but was unable to overcome Zonderland.
American Sam Mikulak won the bronze, his first individual medal at a world championships, earning the top Execution score of the final.
Gymnasts from 17 nations won medals in Doha.
The 49th Artistic Gymnastics World Championships take place from 4-13 October 2019 in Stuttgart (GER).
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