Day 1 of the event finals at the 2018 World Championships was held in Doha, Qatar on 2 November.
It was a great day for Simone Biles, who won the first world title of her career and her first world uneven bars medal. She now has a medal on all apparatuses! It was also a day of records for Nina Derwael who won the first ever gold medal for Belgium on bars, for Alexa Moreno, who won the first ever medal for Mexico, a bronze on vault, and for Shallon Olsen, who won Canada’s first ever silver medal on vault. It was also, finally and much belatedly, Elisabeth Seitz‘s time to shine: the German won bronze on bars.
Simone Biles won so much in her career that some may have forgotten that she is the current Olympic champion on vault, but she never was a world champion on this apparatus. Well, she now is! Simone did not compete the Biles after sitting it down during the all around competition, and went for a solid Cheng. Her block was still a bit off and she had to take a big step forward, but she landed it solidly for a 15.266. Her second vault, the Amanar, was for me the highlight of the competition: strong, high and with an excellent block, she scored a 15.466. The average of 15.366 was more than enough to win her her first world vault title. Well deserved!
Behind her, Alabama freshman Shallon Olsen of Canada got rid of her shaky Amanar in favour of a Cheng. It is not super high, her legs are crossed and her chest is down on landing, but she gets it round, and we saw worse Chengs win gymnasts world gold medals in the past. Shallon scored a 14.600 for that vault, and a 14.433 for a strong DTY. I hope she will compete it in the NCAA this upcoming season. She won a very well-deserved silver with a 14.516. What a championships for Canada!
It was finally the year of dreams coming true for Mexico’s Alexa Moreno, who won bronze, after consistently finishing seventh in all previous world finals she had competed in. She scored a total of 14.508. She shed more than a few tears when she was confirmed a medallist, a touching moment that shows that it is not all about the gold after all!
Legend Oksana Chusovitina of Uzbekistan finished fourth after a low landing in her first vault (14.300). Newcomer Yeo Seojeong of South Korea was fifth (14.233), Liu Jinru of China was sixth (14.150), Ellie Black of Canada was seventh (14.116) and Pyon Rye Yong of North Korea was eighth (13.616), after crashing her attempt to an Amanar.
The new queen of the Belgians, Nina Derwael, won her first (and Belgium’s) world title, after two European titles and a bronze at Worlds last year. Words are not enough to explain the difficulty, intricacy and beauty of Nina’s routine. Yes, her feet are at times flat, but that is the price to pay for connecting all those transitions together – and it is well worth it. Nina even stuck her dismount for a huge 15.200/6.5. Here comes the queen!
Behind her, Simone Biles won her first ever uneven bars medal in her first world bars final in five years (the previous and only one was in 2013). Simone always was a clean performer on bars, but the new additions to her routines – the Shaposh half and the double double dismount – really upped her difficulty and made her a medal contender. 15.700/6.2, impressive!
And third was Elisabeth Seitz of Germany – FINALLY!!! Elisabeth was there before and was the groundbreaker for Sophie Scheder, Pauline Schaefer and Tabea Alt. She witnessed all of them win world and Olympic medals before her, always supportive, always with a smile. And now, finally, her time has come too. I am truthfully delighted! 14.600/6.2.
Luo Huan of China was fourth (14.500/6.0), which means that she hit all of her routines at these championships – well done! The Queen (because she still is the queen) Aliya Mustafina was fifth with a flawless routine (14.433/5.8). She was delighted with that! Morgan Hurd was sixth with another solid performance (14.433/6.1). It was instead a sad day for Great Britain’s Ellie Downie (13.333) and for Sweden’s Jonna Adlerteg (13.133), who both had falls. They were devastated, hopefully the love and support of their families, friends and fans will make them feel better!