The 45th World Championships concluded with five individual titles awarded. The queen of the all-around, Simone Biles, again won the gold on the floor exercise as she did in Antwerp last year, and also won on beam.
Aliya Mustafina, the 20-year-old Russian, placed third on both of these events, and found herself unwittingly at the center of two controversial decisions where she somehow prevailed over the athletes who finished in fourth.
On beam, she was completely missing her acro series, yet she found herself 0.066 ahead of the Japanese gymnast Asuka Teramoto, who appeared cleaner and had higher difficulty. She was behind the Chinese gymnast Bai Yawen, who won the silver medal to the delight of the packed Guangxi Sports Center Gymnasium.
The gymnast from Moscow was again preferable on floor exercise, where she placed 0.033 ahead of the American MyKayla Skinner, who, while not beautiful in her artistry, had sported far greater difficulty. The Romanian Larisa Iordache was good to redeem her fall on beam with a performance second only to the martian Biles [note – this is meant as a compliment, with the alien reference meaning she’s so good she’s on another planet].
Vanessa Ferrari finished her sixth World Championships with fifth place on floor. The Lioness of Brescia was fatigued after her performances in qualifications, the team final, and the all-around final, but was nevertheless strongly determined, finishing 13 routines over seven days without error.
Unfortunately, she failed to add bonuses to her start value, missing the jump after the double layout in her second tumbling pass as well as the tuck out of her full-in third pass – and so she ended up just over half a point away from Biles and just 0.067 from the podium.
“I didn’t hit the connections,” says Ferrari in the mixed zone, with a smile on her face in spite of everything. “But the D-score was good and the routine went well overall, except for the step after the second tumbling pass.”
“Anyway, I’d prefer not to say anything more, because I wouldn’t sound very nice. It was clear how things would end up from the start, when we lined up in front of the judges,” she adds, unveiling her grudge against her eternal rival, Mustafina, who beat Ferrari in a tie-breaker for bronze in London in 2012, and who came third by just over 0.033 ahead of an excellent Skinner.
“I think fifth place is better than fourth – the wood medal,” she jokes, “because the latter always has the taste of mockery. But actually, it’s like I had placed fourth because the third place routine [Mustafina] should have placed far behind.”
“I was a bit tired…normal after competing the all-around three times in a week. But I really cared about this final. Now I’m going to prepare for the World Cup meets in Stuttgart and Glasgow. At least I hope to achieve satisfactory results there, considering how things ended up here.”
Italy was the only country along with the USA to have two gymnasts among the eight best floor specialists in the world, with Erika Fasana placing seventh in the final.
Her routine started like Ferrari’s, with an excellent double double, performed to the tune of the Toccata and Fugue by Bach. The 18-year-old from Brixia of Brescia lacks a fourth tumbling pass, which she has not been able to include in her routine due to a number of physical problems. She also showed some mistakes on her Memmel turn.
“Unfortunately, I didn’t complete the double pirouette,” Fasana from Como, Italy says excitedly, “but I’d say that the routine was good overall, including the tumbling passes. I was nervous and tired, but now I’m very happy. And Vanessa’s routine? I watched it on TV while I was warming up in the gym. It seemed her usual high-level routine!”
In conclusion, President Agabio reflects with satisfaction about the World Championships because, let us not forget, the team performed well and most importantly, they pre-qualified – and looked very competitive – on the road to Rio de Janeiro.
“For our mission, Nanning has been very positive. We have demonstrated that the team is ready to win a ticket to the Games of 2016 next year in Glasgow. Do not overlook the fact that, beyond the placement of the team, Italy has introduced two finalists, Ferrari and Fasana both in the all-around and on floor exercise. A medal would have been a cherry on top, but I’m sure Vanessa will build on this experience to try again in the future. Congratulations to all.”
Translation by Valeria Violi
Original from the Italian Gymnastics Federation