Highs And Lows Of The 2017 Gymnastics World Championships

The 2017 World Championships in Montreal was one of the most exciting international competitions we've witnessed in recent years. The week-long competition led gymnastics fans through a flurry of emotions as they witnessed devastating injuries, surprise wins, historical performances, and even broken floors. We've recapped some of the highs and lows of the competition below.

High: Ellie Black Makes History On Home Turf


Canada's Ellie Black put up a fantastic performance in her home country. She managed to qualify to the all-around final and two event finals (vault and beam). She was also slated in to the floor final following Ragan Smith's injury, meaning she competed in every final except bars.

Not only did Black qualify to several finals, but she walked away with an all-around silver medal, making history for Canada. Check out this interview with Black where she talks about her historic worlds:


Low: Kohei Uchimura And Ragan Smith Sustain Ankle Injuries On Vault, Pull Out Of Competition


Unfortunately, there were a lot of injuries at this worlds, and one of the early ones came during men's qualifications with reigning world champion Kohei Uchimura from Japan. Uchimura sustained the injury on vault, and pulled out of the competition before high bar. The injury is a partial rupture to the anterior talofibular ligament in his ankle which will require two to three weeks of recovery. Uchimura pulling out the competition ended his streak of winning every world all-around title since 2009. He is considered by many to be one of the best (if not the best) male gymnast of all time, so it was a shame that we did not get to see him compete this year.


On the women's side, Smith made it through qualifications and was slated to compete in the all-around and floor finals, but suffered an ankle injury herself, also on vault, during warmups. The injury occurred just minutes before the women's all-around competition was due to start, and Smith, who was a favorite to win the gold medal, had to pull out of the competition. Following X-rays, USA Gymnastics confirmed that Smith's injury was a right ankle ligament injury, which meant Smith would also not compete in floor finals.

High: Morgan Hurd Takes The All-Around Gold Medal At Her first Worlds


After her teammate got injured minutes before the competition was due to start, Morgan Hurd was the only remaining American in the all-around competition. The pressure was on for her, not just for her own personal goals, but to continue the streak of American women having won the all-around title every year since 2010. Hurd, who was not an obvious choice even for the USA's Worlds team, put up a tremendous performance and ended up capturing that top podium spot. Check out Hurd's final routine of the evening -- her gorgeous floor routine:


Video via USA Gymnastics

Low: The floor Breaks During Men's Qualifications


Another low point during men's qualifications was an issue with floor exercise. In the final subdivision, a rod came loose in the floor, causing a dead spot which naturally affected some of the gymnasts' performances. The Netherlands' Bart Deurloo actually pointed this out to an official after he fell on a tumbling pass as a result of the wonky floor. The FIG investigated and confirmed the broken floor, allowing all the gymnasts who had competed in that subdivision to go again.   

High: Epke Zonderland Makes Incredible Save During High Bar Final, Deurloo Reacts


One of the highs of the competition came during the men's high bar final. Always a thrilling event, Olympic gold medalist Epke Zonderland from the Netherlands put up one of the most exciting performances of the evening when he managed to save a release that would have caused many other gymnasts to fall. Zonderland performed a Kovacs and actually caught the high bar with one arm, missing his other hand. Incredibly, he managed to recover immediately and swung through a giant to continue his routine, and he even captured the silver medal for his performance. 

Check out the video below of Zonderland talking through what happened:



And, of course, his teammate Deurloo's reaction is priceless:


Low: Larisa Iordache And Vanessa Ferrari Suffer Achilles Injuries On Floor


Although there were a multitude of injuries at worlds this year, one of the more notable ones was Romania's Larisa Iordache. Iordache has been stellar in competition over the past few months, and many thought she had a good shot at the all-around title this year. She sustained the injury during warmups on floor before qualifications, when she tore her Achilles tendon. She has already had surgery back at home and is in good spirits.


Another injury occurred on floor later on in the competition, during the floor final. Italy's Vanessa Ferrari, who made an incredibly quick comeback this year to be named to the worlds team, was last up to compete on floor on the last day of competition. She went on to compete her second tumbling pass, a whip to full twisting double back, which she under-rotated. Her injury was unfortunately also an Achilles tear. Following surgery, Ferrari intends to make her return to gymnastics, which she posted about on Instagram recently.

High: History Is Made


One of the most interesting things about this world championships is that so many records were broken, with multiple countries winning medals for the first time in years.

  • Black became the first Canadian woman to win an all-around medal at worlds by capturing the silver medal. 
  • Belgium's Nina Derwael became the first Belgian woman to not only qualify to an event final at worlds, but also to medal, when she won the bronze in the bars final. 
  • Germany's Pauline Schaefer captured the country's first gold medal on balance beam in history. 
  • Japan's Mai Murakami became the country's first female gymnast to win the gold medal on floor, and only the second in history to win a worlds medal on any event.


Related:
Vanessa Ferrari Plans Return To Gymnastics After Achilles Repair
Larisa Iordache Undergoes Achilles Repair Surgery, Positive About Recovery
Five Event Finals Close Out 2017 Gymnastics World Championships With A Bang
Epke Zonderland Makes Epic One-Arm Save At Gymnastics World Championships
RECAP: Five Winners Crowned On Event Finals Day 1, 2017 World Championships
RECAP: Morgan Hurd Captures 2017 World All-Around Title In Close Battle
Ragan Smith Injured, Out Of AA Final At 2017 Gymnastics World Championships
RECAP: Heartbreaks & Triumphs Of Women's Quals At 2017 World Championships
Larisa Iordache Injured, Out Of 2017 Gymnastics World Championships
Floor Breaks In Men's Qualifications, Nine Gymnasts Allowed In Floor Final
RECAP: A Dramatic Men's Qualification Round At 2017 World Championships

USA Gymnastics Announces Athlete Task Force

Press release via USA Gymnastics.

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