After a shock victory in the all around at the World championships on Friday, 6 October, Florida commit Morgan Hurd of the United States added a silver medal on balance beam on Sunday, 8 October.
Hurd, who was second-last to go, had a much improved routine from the all around final, and scored a 13.400. She competed, among her numerous elements, a steady full-twisting back somersault, a BHSO + LOSO series, and a very difficult full-twisting double tuck dismount, with only a small step backwards. Hurd won silver, behind Germany’s Pauline Schaefer (13.533) and ahead of Schaefer’s teammate Tabea Alt (13.300).
It was a surreal weekend for Morgan Hurd. Not only did she win a surprise gold medal in the all around and a silver medal on beam at her very first World championships and only third international appearance, but after her all around victory, she was also congratulated by her favourite author, Harry Potter writer J.K. Rowling.
After the all around competition, Uncle Tim of the Gymcastic team contacted J.K. Rowling on Twitter and kindly asked her to congratulate Morgan on her victory. He wrote:
A huge Harry Potter fan named @morgihurd just became a World Champion in gymnastics.
Any chance you can congratulate her?’
The idea was enthusiastically welcomed by a large portion of the gymternet. A fan photoshopped a photograph of Morgan with a Triwizard Cup, while another added a Gryffindor scarf around her neck. We also hoped that Mrs Rowling would congratulate Morgan on our article about her all around victory on Saturday.
J.K. Rowling was up to the task, and she later tweeted: ‘@morgihurd Congratulations Morgan!’
THANK YOU, MRS ROWLING.
Morgan was overwhelmed with emotion when she saw the tweet, as shown by a video later poster on Twitter by her teammate Jade Carey (for the generations to come to cry over it)!
Morgan then replied to Mrs Rowling: ‘oh my god, thank you so much!!! Your writing has truly changed my view on the world and my life.’
And Mrs Rowling replied an ever more meaningful tweet: ‘I’m truly honoured to hear that from a real life hero in glasses’.
‘A true hero in glasses’ – I cried!
The exchange then triggered one of the best Harry Potter-related tweets. Kerry Monroe tweeted: ‘Morgan’s performance in beam finals will be dedicated to Dobby. We will throw socks at her from the audience.’ Unfortunately I did not see any socks during the balance beam final!
Morgan Hurd is a huge Harry Potter fan. In the past she posted pictures of herself dressed up as a Gryffindor pupil, as well as of the moment when she bought the new Harry Potter play script, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. She also said in an interview that she thinks of herself as a wizard while competing her floor routine! And actually, do you not think that in her ice-blue all around leotard Morgan looked like a pretty Beauxbatons pupil?!