The host nation couldn’t have started the final day of competition any better as Dom Cunningham pulled out the upset victory on floor exercise to take gold ahead of a number of his higher-D colleagues.
Cunningham’s 6.1 D may have seemed to put him at a disadvantage, but his routine was noticeably free of the major OOB errors that befell the medal favorites and their 6.4 Ds. Top qualifier Artem Dolgopyat went out with both feet on his first pass, a 0.3 neutral deduction that took him down to second place, with Nikita Nagornyy suffering the exact same result on his opening triple back, putting him in 4th place. Both finished less than three tenths behind Cunningham.
Artur Dalaloyan did not go OOB but did have a major stumble back on a front double pike that gave him the lowest E score of the top four finishers, nonetheless still good enough for bronze based on difficulty and lack-of-OOB-ness.
Alex Shatilov went through cleanly but wasn’t quite as crisp in the landings to take fifth place, which obviously should have been first place because Shatilov. He and Nguyen had to settle for 5th and 6th, while the two who fell, Zapata and Onder, occupied the bottom positions.
We can officially crown our new king of pommel horse as Rhys McClenaghan hit his super-difficult routine for 15.300 to pretty much bury the rest of the field, deservedly receiving both the highest D score and highest E score of the final. It wasn’t close.
The big surprise of the final was the mistake from Max Whitlock, who didn’t so much fall at first, just lost his rhythm and had to stand atop the pommel horse looking down at it like a stern father who isn’t mad at the pommel horse, just disappointed.
“Sigh. I just thought we taught you better than that.”
Also I’m pretty sure there’s a statue of that exact image in a Florentine piazza somewhere.
Whitlock’s miss opened the door for some of our old stalwart pommel horse specialists from the world cup circuit, and both Robert Seligman and Saso Bertoncelj took advantage. They were able to just outpace Belyavskiy (the other presumed medalist with McClenaghan and Whitlock) on execution and were appropriately rewarded for their pristine and minimalist form and broomstick-straight body positions.
This means I’m going to have to learn to remember the difference between them, doesn’t it?
You guys, we only had one fall in the pommel horse final, and it came from Whitlock. I don’t know where I am anymore.
Was also a final.
The podium went primarily as expected, with Eleftherios Petrounias just moving so smoothly and maintaining such sound vertical and horizontal positions to make himself once again uncatchable. He’s doing underwater ballet while everyone else is doing a PSA about constipation.
Perhaps the only surprise was Ibrahim Colak taking silver and Courtney Tulloch taking bronze, swapping places from their qualification performances despite Tulloch’s higher D. Tulloch has a new straight-arm pull up to Victorian, which is bonkers but also ends up in a fairly deduction-y position, and you wonder if that skill will continue being worth it.
Also interesting on rings was 1) that poor Dennis Goossens dismounted to here…
…and 2) the neutral deduction situation. We’re now seeing a bunch of rings gymnasts slapped with 0.3 NDs as a result of the use of SmartRings technology, a method to electronically determine hold time. You can read about the details of the system from when it was originally being tested and discussed four years ago here.
It wasn’t exclusively 0.3 deductions, though. Andrei Muntean sadly lost all use of his arms halfway through his routine, resulting in some horizontal handstands and the small miracle that he made it to the end of his routine at all despite being little more than an animated ghost wisp at that point. He received a 0.8 neutral deduction. Ouch.
Nobody died! Ri Se Gwang’s dust-ankle is like, “I’ve never been less proud.”
The vault final did bring our first whiff of controversy regarding the results, with Artur Dalaloyan just outpacing Igor Radivilov for the gold medal. I would have gone the other way around. Radivilov’s Tsuk double pike was the best vault from anyone in the final—it received the same score as Dalaloyan’s TTY—and I didn’t think the bounding forward on Dalaloyan’s handspring double pike was appropriately represented in the 9.200 E score he received for it.
The race for bronze also proved a tight one, with Dmitri Lankin just beating Loris Frasca on execution despite Lankin’s lower D. Frasca too executed his vaults well, but he stepped out of the area landing each one, which made the difference.
Top qualifier Andrey Medvedev struggled on his landings to drop down to fifth, though I did think the 8.433 E score he received for his deep and forward landing on a Tsuk double pike was comparatively low because it’s men’s vault and you basically have to take your shorts off in midair and land in a swimming pool to get below a 9 E-score.
Well, that was a bizarre final. The big performance came from Artur Dalaloyan, who completed his three-medal day with yet another gold here, bringing his total for the games to three golds and a bronze.
Dalaloyan was the class of the field in this final, defeating his more-favored teammate David Belyavskiy primarily because Belyavskiy had a couple minor struggles at the very beginning of his routine, with a hand adjustment and a couple rushed handstands. That gave Belyavskiy an E score a few tenths lower than Dalaloyan’s despite the second half of Belyavskiy’s routine being actually perfect.
Otherwise, the story of the PBars final was…it’s been a long meet. This was a tired final with falls, rail-straddling, and “did you even do your whole routine?” a-plenty. Poor Ahmet Onder fell on both his routines in event finals after also missing on his final three routines of the team final. Only four of the eight competitors hit real sets, which meant that bronze came down to a fight between Oliver Hegi and Nils Dunkel, won by Hegi on account of his superior difficulty.
Execution won the day on high bar with Oliver Hegi getting his second medal in a row, this time gold, taking the title despite giving away a whole five tenths to Epke Zonderland on difficulty. How that happened: Hegi was clearly the cleanest of the competitors, while not skimping on difficulty himself considering his successful journey to Def town and back.
Zonderland did Zonderland things to rack up a massive 6.7 D score, performing the usual phenomenal parade of difficult releases caught comfortably that should always be worth a gold medal just by default. The releases were all fantastic, but he did go over the wrong way at one point, which probably cost him the gold, along with the usual legs on his Rybalko that could finely dice an onion in five seconds flat but maybe aren’t ideal when trying to attain a high execution score. The performance was still worthy of silver for Zonderland, the only medal for the Dutch men at these championships in their only finals appearance.
Bronze also came down to execution, with a three-way tie broken in favor of Noted Tall David Vecsernyes, who nearly brushes the mat on giants and is only like four inches shorter than me and therefore family. His smart composition, crisp form, and stickable dismount came through for him with an 8.333 E score. His total tied him with Taha Serhani and James Hall, Hall showing the second-highest D of the day with 6.4 but really struggling to hit vertical on his Tak skills at the end of the routine, which gave him a E score in the 7s.
And there weren’t even any falls in this final! Kuavita came closest, but even his mistake was a rest against the apparatus, not a fall. I’m figuring no one placed a bet on parallel bars and floor being the finals with the most falls today.