Kyla Ross performs her floor exercise routine at the gymnastics world championships… (Julien Warnand / EPA )
On the final day of the 2013 World Gymnastics Championships in Antwerp, Belgium, Team USA won a gold, two silvers and a bronze to bring its medal tally to 12 (three gold, six silver and three bronze), a record for the United States at a single world championships.
On Sunday, Simone Biles of Spring, Texas/Bannon's Gymnastix, won the floor exercise gold medal, along with the balance beam bronze. Kyla Ross of Aliso Viejo/Gym-Max, claimed the beam silver medal, and Steven Legendre of Port Jefferson, N.Y./Team Hilton HHonors (University of Oklahoma), garnered the vault silver medal, the U.S.' first men’s vault medal since 1979. John Orozco of the Bronx, N.Y./Team Hilton HHonors (U.S. Olympic Training Center), was the parallel bars bronze medalist.
Heading into the final day of the championships Team USA had already won seven medals: Biles, all-around gold and vault silver; Jake Dalton of Reno/Team Hilton HHonors (University of Oklahoma), floor exercise silver; Ross, all-around
and uneven bars silver; McKayla Maroney of Long Beach/All Olympia
Gymnastics Center, vault gold; and Brandon Wynn of Voorhees, N.J./Team Hilton
HHonors (Ohio State University), still rings bronze.
This year’s 12 medals surpass the mark set in 2005 of nine medals (four gold, four silver and one bronze).
In the men’s vault final, Legendre performed two vaults — a handspring, double front with a half twist, a Dragulescu, for a 15.266, and a Tsukahara double pike, for a 15.233 – to earn a 15.249 average and the silver. Korea’s Yang Hak Seon won the vault title, with Kristian Thomas of Great Britain rounding out the top three.
“I am ecstatic,” said Legendre. “It has been an elusive medal, to say the least. This is my fourth World Championships and I’ve been in the finals every year. This is the first medal I have gotten and it feels great. Neither of my vaults was perfect, but I put my feet down pretty well and that turned out to be enough.”
Ross extended her silver streak to three with the balance beam. With elegance and precision, she was nearly flawless. She performed a switch ring leap, a front flip to wolf jump and an acrobatic series with confidence to score a 14.833. Biles delivered another hit routine for the Americans, working the beam with a front aerial to split jump and a back handspring, layout step-out series. Her 14.333 gave her the bronze medal. Russia’s Aliya Mustafina won the title.
“It was one of my best beam routines, and although it hurts a little bit to come up short, I am proud of my overall performance,” said Ross. “This World Championships has exceeded my expectations. I didn’t really know what to expect with my first World Championships, and I was just excited to be here and have the opportunity to compete in the all-around. To win that silver medal and be here with Simone, McKayla and Brenna (Dowell) has been so much fun, and I wouldn’t want to change anything about that.”
Orozco began his parallel bars routine with a piked front flip to handstand. After executing a piked double salto between the bars, he stuck his dismount to post a 15.533 and take the bronze medal. Wynn, who scored a 14.266, had a solid routine other than an error on his Healy turn-in, which put him in seventh place. First and second place went to China’s Lin Chaopan and Japan’s Kohei Uchimura, respectively.
“I am really proud (to get this medal),” said Orozco, who was a member of the 2011 men’s bronze-medal World Championships Team. “I didn’t think my routine was going to hold up for third, but it did. I have a lot of things to work on, but this has given me some confidence as I go back to training.”
In the floor exercise final, Biles once again displayed her trademark tumbling that seems to hang in the upper deck. Her mount was a double-twisting, double back in the tucked position. Her high energy routine, performed to “Get Up,” tallied a 15.000 and the gold. Ross closed out her competition on floor, with perfect landings on her first two passes: an Arabian double front to stag leap and a full-twisting double back. She earned a 14.333 and sixth place. Italy’s Vanessa Ferrari was second, and Romania’s Larisa Iordache was third.
“It’s amazing to get a second gold medal,” said Biles. “It is such an honor to represent the United States. We came here to do a job, and we did it!”
Sam Mikulak of Newport Coast/University of Michigan, who tweeted Sunday morning he was looking for redemption on the high bar, was first up in the horizontal bar final. He delivered a clean routine in which he executed four release elements that included two full-twisting double saltos over the bar. His 15.566 put him just shy of the medals in fourth. The Netherlands’ Epke Zonderland won the high bar title. Fabian Hambuechen of Germany took second, with Uchimura in third.