Russia Dominates Inaugural FIG Junior World Championships

The FIG Junior World Championships took place this past weekend, from Thursday, June 27, to Sunday, June 30. This competition was the first ever Junior Worlds competition and took place in Gyor, Hungary. No matter what happened at this competition, gymnastics history was to be made.

During the team and all-around final, Russia was clearly in the lead the entire competition. The Eastern European squad took first place with a huge 111.654, landing far ahead of second place. Winning the gold for their country were Viktoriia Listunova, Vladislava Urazova, and Elena Gerasimova. 

China followed more than two points behind, taking silver with a 109.497. The USA took third, only a bit behind China with a 109.380. Although Russia was in a clear lead through almost the entire competition, the battle for second and third was tight. During the competition, many different countries had a chance at one point or another, especially in the beginning.

The all-around competition was dominated by Team Russia as well, with Russian gymnasts taking first and second place. Listunova snagged the gold with a 55.323—despite counting a fall on beam during her front handspring front tuck, shown here at 5:25—and Urazova took home the silver with a 55.298. To win the bronze, Ou Yushan scored a 54.931 for China, just beating out American Kayla DiCello by 0.166 of a point.

Team USA performed well but did not have the best showing compared to the other teams. Although the U.S. women did not come home with any all-around podium spots, they still took third place as a team and each scored well. DiCello had the highest all-around score with a 54.765. Sydney Barros was a bit behind her with a 53.974, and Skye Blakely followed with a 53.407, giving Team USA a 109.380 total. 

After the team and all-around finals came the apparatus finals on the last two days of competition. Saturday began event finals day one, where the women competed vault and bars. On vault, Kayla DiCello pulled through for the U.S. team, taking first on the event with a 14.166, after combining vault one’s score of 14.600 with vault two’s score of 13.733. Jennifer Gadirova from Great Britain took the silver, and Urazova claimed bronze. They scored a 14.133 and a 14.116 respectively, making it a close competition for the podium spots.

On bars, Russia took the top two spots once again. Urazova took first on this event, followed by teammate Listunova in second place. Third was filled by Wei Xiaoyuan from China. Urazova took first by more than two tenths, scoring a 14.433 over Listunova’s 14.200. Xiaoyuan scored four tenths behind with a 13.800, narrowly edging Blakely off the podium, who tied with Ou Yushan for fourth place with a score of 13.766. DiCello came in fifth place with a score of 13.500. 

Sunday concluded the competition with the second day of event finals, where the women competed on beam and floor. Beam was won by Gerasimova of Russia by a large margin. Gerasmiova scored a 14.200, over second and third place’s tied score of 13.733. Silver went to Wei Xiaoyuan from China, and bronze was given to Kayla DiCello from the U.S. 

On floor Russia nearly swept the podium again, taking both first and second place. Listunova took home the gold with a score of 14.166, while Gerasimova won silver with a 13.833. Third place went to China and was won by Ou Yushan, who scored a 13.533. 

After four days of competition, it is clear to see that many nations have strong upcoming gymnasts, especially Russia, which won every gold medal besides vault. Keep an eye out for these juniors in the future, as they improve and have other intense international competitions under their belts. 

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