Sadly, the world championship has come and gone for another year, like a fleeting spurt from a stage-mounted flamethrower that you’re convinced is going to singe Max Whitlock in the everywhere. But it was a good one! From the delectably OTT pomp and circumstance of the event production, to the avalanche of live coverage being injected into our eye sockets all throughout each day (thanks USAG!), to Maurice Lardo, to that thing where that small fishing village won the bars final for some reason, this ranks as the most entertaining world championship in memory. Everyone’s memory. I tapped into all of them, so I know. And, frankly, you should be ashamed of yourselves.
A little wistful? A little wistful. So, now that we’ll never again get to ro-TAINT, ro-TAINT—which is what it sounded like, a bunch of children just yelling TAINT—or wait with bated breath to find out whether Glasgow is ready or not (I didn’t say I’d miss all of it), that means we have just two short months left to prepare with catlike compulsive licking for the upcoming NCAA season and for remembering that a 10 is, like, good and wobbles are, like, a problem. Freshman previews are around the corner, probably.
But there’s still one more day of competition to break down until it weeps for mercy, so let’s get into it.
-The big bad news is that Oleg Stepko did not acquiesce to wearing his I-just-had-sex-with-a-volcano lava-smear singlet from the European Games, but thankfully, he did remind us that just because you cut your hair with half a stolen blender, doesn’t mean you can’t be a star. Check your judgment at the door, you worthless moron.
-Oleg S’s hair and dystopian tattooscape carried him through to a bronze on pbars and a spot in the Olympics among an exceptionally high-quality pbars field that did this weird thing where all the routines were good and impressive, and the result came down to small things like hesitations in handstands and steps on landing. Almost like an event final, or something. Leyva had just a couple breaks in form, which was enough to shove him all the way down to sixth, and Nile Wilson had the gall to be just fine and got basically a 2.
-Speaking of exactly the opposite of that, beam. Let’s face it, that beam final was a steaming landfill covered in mayonnaise on a hot summer day. The people who fell were everybody. I fell during that beam final, and I was in bed. (I’m very talented.) Medals were awarded to the people who successfully completed routines, because of ACCOMPLISHMENT, minus Victoria Komova, who stayed on the beam but went Full Weeble on every acro skill, which was doubly disappointing because it both took her out of the medals and struck a devastating blow to the “Vika has no fight!” narrative because she kind of stayed on. BUT NOW WHAT WILL WE SAY WHEN SHE FALLS???? Oh right. Still that, because we’ll forget about this in 11 seconds and go right back to what we thought before. Yay, ignoring evidence.
-Pauline Schaefer and Sanne Wevers both had a number of wobbles and breaks, which means congratulations, you’re the best. Schaefer hung on for bronze, while Wevers spinderella-ed her way to silver. Meanwhile, the one competitor who hit a real routine without looking as though a ghost was passing through her center of gravity at every moment, one Dr. Biles, hopped to gold by a casual full point. The beam final was basically just The Simone and Nope Show.
-As for the men’s vault final, it managed the seemingly impossible this year as 16 legs entered the arena and 16 whole legs left a few minutes later. Sigh. I was hoping at least part of one measly little leg could fly off during a Tsuk Double A Million and lodge itself in the big screen, electrocuting the leg in the middle of a lightning storm, thereby turning it into the legendary sentient North Korean left shin that tried to take over the world. But not all dreams can come true. Instead, Ri Se Gwang is still a single composite human (for now), who won the vault title by scrunching himself into a little ball like an old to-do list and then going “Wheeeeeeeee!” over all the glens and moors of Scotland.
-Thankfully, not all was lost in the people-might-die-yo department during the vault final, thanks to a caffeinated jack-in-the-box named Marian Dragulescu. He catapulted his way back into the gymnastics world—and right to a silver medal—solely on the power of being a beautiful, lovable ham who understands that you can’t spell S-P-O-R-T-S without “I’m 7 and do airplane impressions.” After the vaults, Dragulescu pulled out a selfie stick to record his magical journey to put on his jacket and walk over to just, um, right there (THE MEMORIES) and managed to concuss six volunteers, take out a satellite, sweep Steve Butcher’s legs, and impale Hamish in the process (RIP). Marian gets it. Also, Whittenburg threw all his huge difficulty and landed it for a bronze, ending the US men’s troubling shutout and earning him his “I’m made of Olympics” ID card.
-In the women’s floor final, Simone. Obviously. After that, it was a clawing fight to the finish for the remaining medals, involving some really selective use of eyesight from the judging panel. Shang Chunsong got her quad spin downgraded, which was appropriate because she did maybe a 3 1/3 spins and then bunny hopped around the other 2/3 (I WIN!). That ultimately, and correctly, kept her out of the medals. Once again, however, Ksenia Afanasyeva performed her HBO standup special/floor routine (#KseniaattheApollo), which never ceases to make me laugh more than all the jokes in the world when she goes into the corner for the first time, “Byewn dewn down doo doo, BOO!” But today, she decided to wear heels for both her double turns, and still the judges went, “ALL THE D SCORES. RUSSIAN ARTISTRY.” Further evidence that as long as your cheekbones can cut glass and you may or may not be a hired assassin (he says with love), you can pretty much do just whatever you want.
-So, Afanasyeva came in second, and thankfully, in order to prevent me from bringing a SWAT team to FIG headquarters and shouting, “Get ’em, boys!” Maggie Nichols got a bronze for nailing all her passes and dance elements like a priestess for the third straight time. If Nichols had come out of these Worlds without an individual medal……
-As always, the day finished with men’s high bar, featuring a disgusting lack of Epke. Valiant Fabian competed in spite of being strapped into that hospital bed, and while he tried his best to fill the void by sending his legs on separate drone missions during his routine, it just wasn’t quite the same. Similarly, Bretschneider tried to help by joining the space race with his Everything Twisting All Of It Kovacs that actually adds a year of life to anyone who watches it, but then he went Full Tipsy Scheder Walk on his dismount and got arrested for high barring under the influence. Chris Brooks also has made a point of entertaining the world during these championships by leaving the high bar in all the silliest ways. For instance, in podium training:
And again today:
-Thank you for the effort, Chris. We do appreciate it. But really, this came down to Kohei reminding everyone that he can hit high bar while making his legs do charity work at the same time, Danell getting his silver for a glorious routine that gave everyone the tingling, and Manrique finally punching his ticket to the Olympics with a bronze. Good to see Manrique sneak a ticket to the Olympics at the very last second after having such a lackluster, unmemorable event up until that point………………..
-So there we have it. Everything in its place. Everything wrapped up as it should be. All the awards handed out. All the competitions done. All the screecaps captioned. All the apology alpacas distributed. All the jokes about the apparatuses turning into animals/geological phenomena more than exhausted. Hope you’ve had as much fun reading these as I’ve had writing them. Now get on the NCAA train!