This past Thursday and Friday the men’s and women’s all-around finals took place at the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Kitakyushu, Japan. The men started off the medal events on Thursday and it was an evening of truly riveting competition! The first rotation saw some excellent performances, especially from Brazil’s Caio Souza who earned a 13.966 with a very solid ring routine. As well, Adem Asil, the 22-year-old from Turkey, scored 3/10ths higher than in qualifications for a score of 14.400 on floor. By the end of the first rotation, China’s Zhang Boheng held the first place position, followed closely by Hashimoto Daiki of Japan in 2nd. Following his success at the Tokyo summer Olympics, Hashimoto was one to watch throughout the all-around event. Yul Moldauer from the United States had a bit of a rough start to the competition as he received a 1 mark deduction for falling on his landing from the rings. Moldauer sat at 22nd in the standings after rotation 1.
By the mid-way point of the competition, Caio Souza had taken the lead, followed by Hashimoto and Zhang who had both struggled with falling off the pommel horse. Canada’s William Emard sat in 9th place.
Entering into the last few rotations of the all-around final, the competition really intensified as there was no gymnast yet that was clearly going to be the winner. There are times when an athlete is leading by such a great margin that it’s practically a done deal, but this was not the case on Thursday night when the leaderboard changed with every single rotation. 18-year-old Illia Kovtun of the Ukraine and Caio Souza of Brazil were two of the athletes who were consistently rising and dropping in the standings. By the end of the competition, however, Souza had struggled in the last two rotations with a step out on floor and a fall off the pommel horse, causing him to end the competition in 13th place. Kovtun managed to clinch a bronze medal position just above Moldauer’s 4th place finish. Although it was a tight competition between Hashimoto and Zhang for the gold, Zhang beat out Hashimoto by just 0.017 of a point! After his all-around gold medal at the Tokyo summer Olympics, Hashimoto was anticipated to be the winner of this event, but Zhang, in his first ever World Championships appearance, took the victory. It was truly such an exciting and close competition. Even more exciting is that fact that the three medal winners are all 21 years of age and younger, showing a very promising future for fans of men’s artistic gymnastics.
The women’s all-around final took place the next day, and although there were some great displays of gymnastics, the scoring was not quite as close as the men’s final. The competition started off with Kayla DiCello of the United States in first place after rotation 1. DiCello scored an impressive 14.600 on vault. By the halfway point of the event, Russia’s Angelina Melnikova stood in first place, followed by USA’s Leanne Wong in second. DiCello had moved out of a medal position into 4th place after a fall off the uneven bars. As we entered into the back half of the competition, Melnikova maintained her first place spot. After winning gold with Team Russia at the summer Olympics and bronze in the all-around, all eyes were on Melnikova to win this event. Wong also held on to her 2nd place position. The battle for the last spot on the podium alternated between DiCello and Urazova throughout the competition, as each athlete moved into and out of 3rd place during the course of the night. The American women hoped to move into first place in order to maintain a U.S. win streak that has been going since 2011 in this event. Ultimately, they were unsuccessful, as Angelina Melnikova took home the gold after delivering outstanding performances on each apparatus. The last non-American woman to win the gold in the World’s all-around final was the esteemed Russian gymnast Aliya Mustafina in 2010. Following Melnikova in the standings was Leanne Wong, who was 0.492 of a point behind, earning her a silver medal. DiCello managed to secure a spot on the podium over Urazova with the bronze.
The Artistic Gymnastics World Championships wrapped up with the individual apparatus finals over the weekend, concluding a week of fun, intense, and exciting competition! For gymnastics fans, getting to watch the Olympics and Worlds in the same year was a huge treat. We look forward to seeing the growth of these gymnasts and the new faces to senior competition at the 51st World Championships that is set to be held in Liverpool, Great Britain in 2022!