On October 4, the first qualification competitions for the 2019 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships began in Stuttgart, Germany. 90 countries were there competing, but only the top 8 teams and top 24 individual gymnasts got to compete for the chance to medal, and qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The women’s team final was the first medal competition and took place on October 8. The United States team, made up of Simone Biles, Sunsia Lee, Jade Carey, Grace McCallum, Kara Eaker and MyKayla Skinner, qualified in first with China and Russia qualifying in second and third respectively. The other qualifying teams were France, Canada, Netherlands, Great Britain and Italy. Even with a fall on the beam and slight problem on uneven bars, the US pulled through and won the gold by a whopping six points, Russia won silver and Italy bronze. This is the United States women’s fifth consecutive world team title, and the team is officially qualified for Tokyo 2020. The men’s team, made up of Sam Mikulak, Shane Wiskus, Akash Modi, Yul Moldauer, and Trevor Howard qualified for the finals with Russia, China, Japan, Great Britain, Switzerland, Taiwan and Ukraine. The finals on October 9, were tough, and no team was without mistakes, but ultimately Russia won gold with 261.726 points. China won silver and Japan garnered bronze. The United States came in fourth, but still qualified a spot for Tokyo 2020.
On October 10, the arena was packed. Spectators from all countries in all parts of the world had come to watch their best female gymnasts compete in the all-around final. Each of the 24 gymnasts heard a large cheer upon their entrance, but when Simone Biles entered the arena, the cheer was deafening. 22 year old Simone is widely regarded as the best gymnast ever, and throughout training in Stuttgart, got two extremely difficult elements named after her. The competition ended with Simone as the all-around champion for the fifth year in a row. The silver medal went to Tang Xijing of China, and Angelina Melnikova of Russia won bronze. Sunsia Lee, the United States’ other competitor won eighth. With this win, and winning five out of six possible golds at these world championships Simone Biles has become the most decorated gymnast ever with 25 world championship medals.
October 11 brought the men’s all-around, where there was intense competition from all sides. Russia brought defending world champion Artur Dalaloyan and 2018 Bronze medalist Nikita Nagornyy. China and Japan also brought their top competition, and US gymnast Sam Mikulak came to play. Mikulak finished seventh, with Nagornyy taking home the title, and Dalagoyan close behind.
Although the 49th annual Artistic Gymnastics World Championships have come to a close in Stuttgart, Germany, many people are now getting fired up and ready for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Gymnastics will be a major sport, and the United States, women especially, will be the team to beat heading into Tokyo.
By Eliana Sauer