Highs And Lows Of The 2018 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships

Relive some of the most exciting and the most heartbreaking moments of the 2018 artistic gymnastics World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

HIGHS

+ Simone Biles Making (More) History

Biles competed at her fourth world championships less than a year after returning to the sport. This feat on its own is impressive—the fact that she was able to return to this level of competition and make the world team when gymnastics in the U.S. is so competitive. But as you surely know by now, she wasn’t there to just make the team. She showed why she’s arguably the greatest gymnast of all time—she won a medal in every single final including four golds, three of which were individual medals, setting the record of the most world titles (gold medals) in history. 

Biles also tied with Svetlana Khorkina’s record of the most world medals overall. Finally, she became the only woman in history to win four world all-around titles. She also got a new vault named after her, one which she is probably the only woman in the world who can compete right now, lead team USA to defend their team title, and did this all with a kidney stone. #GOAT

+ USA Women Proving Dominance

The U.S. gymnasts didn’t let the turmoil within USA Gymnastics affect their performances, and they won the team gold by 8.766 points, the largest margin in history at a world championships or Olympic games. USA posted the highest team score on each event and despite the intense pressure in a three up three count situation, they hit all 12 of their routines.

+ Sam Mikulak Earning First Individual Medal

One of the most talented gymnasts in the world, Mikulak has a history of just missing out on a medal and until this year, he had never earned an individual world medal. This changed on the final day of competition, in his last event, when he won the bronze on high bar.

+ Artur Dalaloyan Winning Gold All-Around

Just two days after Russia barely missed out on the team gold, Dalaloyan became the first Russian man in 19 years to earn a medal in the world all-around final. And it wasn’t just any medal, he took the gold medal in a tiebreaker, beating the reigning all-around champion China’s Xiao Ruoteng (more on that in a minute). 

+ Canadian Women On The Rise

The Canadian women had a superb competition, making a statement to the world that they’re a team on the rise. Even though they just missed out on a team medal, finishing fourth in the team final, the disappointment was surely sweetened but the fact that it was their best-ever finish in world championship history. Ellie Black went on to finish 12th in the all-around final followed by Brooklyn Moors in 24th. But the most exciting days for the Canadians were in the event finals when Shallon Olsen captured silver on vault, second to Simone Biles, and Ana Padurariu, in her first-ever world championships, took silver on beam, second to China’s Liu Tingting. 

LOWS

- Beam Final Falls

The beam final had its shining moments, with Tingting taking gold, Padurariu earning silver, and Biles grabbing the bronze, but the rotation also featured heartbreaking falls. China’s Zhang Jin had two falls and finished eighth with an 11.5. Reigning Olympic beam champ Sanne Wevers had a fall and finished in seventh with a 12.666. And USA’s Kara Eaker fell on her very first skill in the routine, ending with a 12.833 for sixth place. 

The falls also raise the question: Would gymnasts be able to perform better in event finals if they were allowed a one touch in the competition arena, like they are for qualifications, team, and all-around finals?

- Sam Mikulak's All-Around Final Disappointment

Mikulak qualified for the all-around final with the third-highest score from qualifications, proving he has what it takes to take a medal. On the day of the final, with the scoring slate wiped clean, he was having a fantastic competition until the very final event. He was slightly off in multiple skills of his high bar routine, and while he was able to fight through it, he finished with a 12.366, pushing him to finish fifth. His narrative of not being able to hit when it counted was reinforced in this final, along with his trend of just missing out on a medal in fourth or fifth place. 

- Tiebreakers

The never-ending debate of tiebreakers in gymnastics was refueled at this world championships when reigning all-around world champion Xiao Ruoteng posted the highest score in the all-around final, but was given the silver medal due to a tiebreaker. In the all-around final, the tiebreaker is determined by dropping the gymnasts’ lowest event score, and determining who then has the highest five-event score. In effect, this gives the gold medal to the gymnast who had the worst performance on a single event. Later in the week, Xiao ended up taking the pommel horse gold, also due to a tiebreaker, but this time determined by his higher execution score. 


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