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Biles, Hurd lead Team USA to gold at World Gymnastics Championships

Rudy Martinez
ANALYST
News
223   //    30 Oct 2018, 21:07 IST

2018 FIG Artistic Gymnastics Championships - Day Six
2018 FIG Artistic Gymnastics Championships - Day Six

Team USA Gymnastics once again stood as champions at the World Gymnastics Championships in Doha Tuesday evening. Both Simone Biles and Morgan Hurd as world champions carried the team to victory for the gold in the women’s team final at the Aspire Academy Dome. Russia took home the silver medal with China making a massive comeback to secure the bronze.

Biles made her return to the sport after a year off to be the big factor in Team USA rise to glory once again. After making a statement at the US Classic and winning the US Championships, the 21-year-old made her way back to Worlds with the intention to get into the groove for 2020. Her presence gave Hurd a real chance at winning the team final standing as for last year’s all-around champion. With just three women able to compete, it gave the United States a lot of leverage to come out on top with two world champions in the competition.

They started the competition off on the vault where Biles and Hurd put down the best scores. The Olympic champion made her vault easier than her signature style that scored a 15.6. With Hurd’s 14.633, they stood three points ahead of the Russians who faltered on the same apparatus. China ended up getting ahead of Russian who scored 41.966 while on the uneven bars.

The US moved to that apparatus where Hurd started things off displaying a smooth routine that ended with her taking a hop on the dismount but scoring a 14.433. Teammate Riley McCusker scored a 14.506 edging Hurd by just a hair but the anchor remained as their best shot at keeping them in first. Aliya Mustafina of Russia who made her return to action after giving birth to her daughter set the score high on the bars making her routine look so easy.

She got her team a 14.500 but it wouldn’t stand out as the high score with Biles going next. The American had every level of difficulty in her skillset scoring 14.860. The margin was almost five points with Russia getting back in front of China with Mustafina being the major factor after the second rotation. 2017 floor champion Mai Murakami of Japan scored which helped her team have the highest score of the discipline so far.

McCusker started the United States on balance beam getting her team started with a 13.733 not carrying a high difficulty in her routine. Kara Eaker topped her with a 14.333 having a balanced routine where she finished it with a back-spring two and a half rotation dismount. Mustafina’s routine shined with her tremendous poise on the two and a half inch wide apparatus but only got a 13.433.

Biles had a rare mistake during her beam routine grabbing the beam with her hands. It gave her a 13.733 which left her very disappointed even though they remained well in control of first place by almost seven points. She still made an inquiry about her score Brazil climbed into third with China falling to seventh after their time on the floor.

Mustafina started the final rotation while on the floor against the United States where the 24-year-old got a 13.066 that helped Russia clinch the silver medal. Hurd opened up the final event for Team USA but her first combination had her landing with a foot out of bounds taking a three-tenths deduction. She suffered another stumble that ended her with a 12.966 but didn’t take her out of the running for the all-around or the event final.

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Jade Barbarosa was Brazil’s hope of staying in third on the uneven bars but she stalled during her routine that ended things with a 12.233. It left the door wide open for everyone else to try and get into bronze medal position with China, France, Canada, and Japan in the hunt. The score killed the team’s chance to securing what would have been their first worlds medal.

Grace McCallum helped out with Hurd’s score with a great routine scoring a 13.633 with Biles left to complete the competition. She scored a 14.766 that was highest of the day to give the team an overall score of 171.629. They stood well ahead of the Russians by more than eight and a half points. The Chinese barely edged the Canadians for third with a score of 162.396 that almost got them into silver.

Rudy Martinez
ANALYST
A writer with eight years experience in sportswriting. He specializes in the National Hockey League, WTA Tennis and both summer and winter Olympic sports.
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