ODENSE (DENMARK), NOV 27 ; Russia and China split the first four titles as finals began at the 2015 Trampoline Gymnastics World Championships here on Friday evening, watched by the Crown Prince of Denmark himself, reports International Gymnastic Federation (FIG).
Odense must be a lucky city for Russians: The country had not won a World team title in Men’s Trampoline since 2001, the last time the World Championships were held here. By a hair — or more precisely, 0.04 — the Russian team (Sergei Azarian, Andrey Yudin, Dmitrii Ushakov et Mikhail Melnik) managed what had seemed unthinkable the day before: depriving the formidable Chinese team (2012 Olympic champion Dong Dong, 2014 World champion Tu Xiao and redoubtable competitors Gao Lei and Xiao Jinyu) of gold.
Slightly less bouncy than he had been in qualification Thursday, Gao Lei lost precious thousands of a point in Time of Flight as he anchored the team, turning to silver what was expected to be gold.
Even more so than the Russians, first place appeared to be in Japan’s grasp for a moment, but a fall by veteran anchor Yasuhiro Ueyama ended their dream of winning. Belarus, with young star Uladzislau Hancharou, veteran Mikalai Kazak, Aleh Rabtsau and Artisom Zu — leapt to the occasion in taking bronze.
The Russian upset came a few hours after Azarian and Melnik combined to give the top performance in Men’s Synchro Trampoline qualifications, passing reigning World champions Tu and Dong, who were less than perfect in their exercises.
Chinese women on high again
By the time Liu Lingling stepped up to anchor China in the Women’s Team Trampoline final, all she had to do was complete her routine to assure her country the gold. No problem: as He Wenna and Li Dan had before her, reigning World champion Liu performed flawlessly, bringing gold back to China four years after its previous victory in the team event.
Not everyone was so fortunate. Canada was knocked out of contention after a botched routine from three-time Olympic medallist Karen Cockburn, who appeared in pain as she walked away from the Trampoline. Pamela Clark followed suit with a fall shortly after to cut 2013 World champion Britain’s title defense short.
Belarus (Maryia Lon, Palina Badyhina, Hanna Harchonak and Tatisana Piatrenia), third two years ago in Sofia, happily moved up a spot in the rankings, while Russia (Nadezhda Glebova, Victoria Voronina, Anna Kornetskaya and Yana Pavlova) claimed their first World medal in women’s team competition since 2009.
A royal visit from the Crown Prince of Denmark
In the city of fairy tale author Hans Christian Anderson, it was indeed a prince charming who awarded the first gold medal. The Chinese women, who won the World title in Women’s Tumbling, had the royal pleasure of receiving their medals from Prince Frederik of Denmark, who attended the competition Friday evening. “This is an important event for our country, as well as for the city of Odense, which is the reason I came for the final,” said the Danish prince, who has been a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) since 2009. For Prince Frederik, Gymnastics is close to performance art: “These are athletes, but also artists,” he observed.
Women’s Tumbling: Three in a row for the Chinese
With the hardest tumbling pass being competed in Women’s tumbling today, two-time individual World champion Jia Fangfang banked China’s third consecutive World team title in Tumbling. Jia, Yang Yujie, Cai Qizi and Chen Lingxi finished half a point above the British (Lucie Colebeck, Rachel Davies, Ashleigh Long et Yasmin Taite), which recorded their best result since winning the World title in 2003. Russia, led by ageless two-time World champion Anna Korobeinikova (with Anastasiia Isupova, Natalia Parakhina, Viktoriia Danilenko) took bronze.
Men’s Double Mini-trampoline: Russia, who else?
After placing four men — Aleksandr Odinstov, Mikhail Zalomin, Alexander Zebrov et Andrei Gladenkov – among the top seven in the individual Double Mini qualification, Russia’s title in Men’s Double Mini was more of a confirmation than a matter of suspense. That didn’t make the final jump of two-time World champion Zalomin, which gave Russia a golden margin of 8.4 points, any less spectacular: With a brilliant stuck landing to a combination with a seemingly infinite number of twists, the grand master of Double Mini sealed the deal for his team.
The United States (Austin White, Austin Nacey, Alex Renkert and Garret Waterstradt) and Canada (Kyle Carragher, Denis Vachon, Jon Schwaiger and Douglas Armstrong), bolstered by excellent final passes from White and Schwaiger, respectively, tied for silver.