LIVERPOOL, England (AP)Brody Malone won the first world championship on the high bar by an American men’s gymnast in 43 years on Sunday when he edged world and Olympic all-around champion Daiki Hashimoto of Japan in a close event final.
The 22-year-old Malone, a two-time U.S. champion, led off the eight-man final and posted a score of 14.800. Hashimoto’s bid to earn a third gold to go with the team and all-around titles he captured earlier in the meet fell just short when he scored 14.700. Arthur Mariano of Brazil took the bronze with a 14.466.
Malone’s triumph was the first by a member of the U.S. men’s team on the high bar since Kurt Thomas in 1979.
”It’s pretty incredible, especially going up against a field like that,” Malone, who is from northwest Georgia and competes at Stanford.
Jessica Gadirova gave host Britain a gold medal on floor exercise against a final field that included her twin sister Jennifer, reigning world all-around champion Rebeca Andrade of Brazil and 2020 Olympic gold medalist Jade Carey of the U.S. Jessica Gadirova scored a 14.200, well ahead of American Jordan Chiles in second at 13.833 and Carey and Andrade, who tied for bronze at 13.7333.
”When I focus on the dance, it takes my mind away from the crowd and the tumbles and the leaps, and it makes me feel alive,” Jessica Gadirova said. ”That’s what I am. I love to perform and floor is one of my favorite pieces to do. It gives me such an amazing feeling.”
The medals for Carey and Chiles gave them three each for the meet. They both won a team gold last week, with Carey earning gold on vault on Saturday and Chiles taking silver in the same event.
”I just did what I know I can do, whether I got a medal or not,” Chiles said. ”Getting the silver makes me really proud. I could cry again.”
Hazuki Watanabe of Japan edged Canadian star Ellie Black and teammate Shoko Miyata for gold on balance beam. Watanabe’s score of 13.600 was just ahead of Black (13.566) and Miyata (13.533).
The silver medal was the first at a world championship for the 27-year-old Black, a three-time Olympian and the silver medalist in the all-around at the 2017 world championships in Montreal.
”To go out and hit a good beam routine and end up on the podium, I’m just so proud of the performance and for showing what Canadians can do,” said Black, who helped the Canadian women claim a surprising bronze in the team competition.
Zou Jingyuan of China posted the highest score of the meet in any final with a 16.166 in the parallel bars. Lukas Dauser of Germany took the silver at 15.500, with Carlos Yulo of the Philippines winning the bronze at 15.366.
Yulo also earned silver on men’s vault after finishing runner-up to Artur Davtyan of Armenia. Davtyan’s two-vault average of 15.050 edged Yulo’s average of 14.950. Igor Radivilov of Ukraine captured the bronze at 14.733.
Radivilov said the Kyiv-based Ukrainian team has been forced to train during daylight hours due to what he called ”difficulties” over the availability of electricity in the evening because of Russia’s ongoing conflict with his country.
”Ukrainian gymnastics is always going to flourish,” Radivilov said. ”We’re doing everything we can to bring the Ukrainian flag as high as we can on the international stage. … Everybody in the world knows what is happening, and what kind of difficulties we have.”
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