Sofia’s airport was still bustling on Monday with gymnasts, slowly everyone headed home and it’s time to evaluate a 36th Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships. Very RG nerdy things follow. Thank you for the week, the hospitality and memories to Sofia, Bulgaria! What a ride it was!
Streaks and medals
12 in a row:
Russia won the medal table for the 12th time in a row – from 2002 to 2018 it was always their delegation being the most successful. Actually, it could have been 14 in a row, but after Alina Kabaeva and Irina Tchachina failed doping control in 2001, their Madrid medals were taken away, so Ukraine won the medal table.
The last Worlds medal table which featured a full field without retroactive bans and was not won by Russia was in 1998 (groups, Belarus) and 1997 (individuals, Ukraine).
Italy as a second power? More on this later, but Italy are runners-up on the medal table for the sixth time between 2009 and 2018 – out of eight. Getting in front of Bulgaria on the table in a Worlds hosted in Sofia is huge achievement for them. Six medals mean an absolutely amazing Worlds for the Italians – this is the first time since 2005 that any country (apart from Russia) was able to win more than five medals.
“Grand Slam” for Bulgaria and Italy: the Bulgarian and Italian group won the gold medal they lacked in the 2010s. Bulgaria already collected the AA title (2014) and the mixed gold (2011), but not the single apparatus gold, which they won now for the first time since 2005. Italy won the all-around twice in the 2010s (2010, 2011), the single apparatus twice (2015, 2017), but they did not win the mixed title until now. Their last gold with mixed apparatus before Sofia was from 2009.
Dina breaks into the top 10: Dina Averina broke into the top 10 all-time most successful individual rhythmic gymnasts ever. She has now 7 individual gold and 2 individual silver medals (plus she has one title from the team competition). In this Olympic cycle she can overtake Yana Kudryavtseva for the second position, but she’d need to win 5/5 in Baku for that. Evgenia Kanaeva is out of reach for the moment.
The long wait: the last time any non-Russian gymnasts won an individual World Championships title was 2013 (Anna Rizatdinova, Ukraine, hoop). Bulgaria last won a Worlds individual gold in 2001 (Simona Peycheva), Belarus in 1996 (Larissa Lukyanenko).
It is a century! Russia is the first nation in the history of RG to pass the 100 gold medal mark (they’ve won 7 in Sofia, that makes it 105). They can make their whole medal collection to 200 in Baku 2019.
The Magnificient Seven. Seven nations won a medal in Sofia: Russia, Italy, Bulgaria, Israel, Belarus, Japan and Ukraine. This is in line with the trends of the 2010s World Championships, the medal winners’ number was always between 5 and 8 in this decade.
Highest scores in individual per apparatus:
Hoop: Aleksandra Soldatova 21.275 (all-around, individual top score of the Worlds)
Ball: Dina Averina 20.650 (all-around)
Clubs: Dina Averina 20.800 (all-around)
Ribbon: Aleksandra Soldatova 19.900 (qualification) As expected, ribbon was the only apparatus in which nobody could break the 20 point barrier. Sasha’s 19.900 is quite simply statistically a shocker, it is 0.900 better than the second best ribbon routine of the World Championships.
Average individual apparatus scores (Qualification + apparatus finals, AA not yet included):
Ribbon: 13.442 Poor ribbon.
Highest scores in groups per apparatus:
5 hoops: Bulgaria 23.300 (final)
3+2: Russia 23.050 (all-around)
There were 3 scores over 23: Russia for both routines in the all-around and Bulgaria for the final 5 hoops gold winner routine.
Highest individual D score:
Dina Averina, clubs, 12.100 (qualification). She outscored the clubs qualifiers 72nd-110th placed gymnasts with only the D score!
Highest group D score:
Bulgaria, 5 hoops, 14.700 (final). That would outscore the total score of 9 groups.
Some special awards
Best newcomer of the World Championships: Vlada Nikolchenko (Ukraine, 4th in AA)
Best all-around individual performers from outside Europe:
Asia: Kaho Minagawa (Japan, 12th)
Americas: Laura Zeng (USA, 8th) (Special mention: Rut Castillo Galindo, Mexico, 31st – best Latin American)
Africa: Habiba Marzouk (Egypt, 59th)
Oceania: Alexanndra Kiroi-Bogatyreva (Australia, 76th)
Best group performers from outside Europe: Asia: Japan (5th) Americas: Mexico (9th) Africa: Egypt (26th) Oceania: Australia (29th)