Five nations golden in Acrobatic Gymnastics at Kaohsiung World Games17/07/2009
Five different countries from three continents won gold in Acrobatic Gymnastics at the Kaohsiung World Games in Taiwan. The depth of the field was obvious - almost all of the competitors certainly had a chance to be on the podium. And on any given day, most could have been in a battle for the Gold. Eleven countries participated, with eight winning medals; an absolute proof that we are alive and growing, with high level Acrobatic Gymnastics taking place around the world.
The competition was expertly organised. It was great to share the event with the trampoline events and the audience benefited by having a spectacular show that combined the artistry of acrobatic gymnastics with the excitement of the trampoline events.
Most of the Men’s Pairs were closely matched mature men, with tops nearly the same size as the bases. Proving that significant size differences are not necessary to perform elements of unbelievable difficulty.
Once again, Mikola Cherbak and Sergei Popov (UKR) demonstrated their superiority. The current World Champions, they were perhaps the favorites going into the World Games, and they certainly met expectation. Their dynamic elements, with catches in one arm handstands, were simply amazing, appreciated by the spectators and the acrobatics community alike.
The Russian Men’s Pair made a few slight execution errors putting them into second place. But the caliber of their performances could not be denied. The choreography was excellent and their dynamic elements had a variety not seen in the Ukraine pair. The British Pair made a statement about the future in Men’s Pairs. They had the most difference in size and maturity and the lower artistry score made the difference on the podium.
The Gold medal in Women’s Pairs went to Tatjana De Vos and Florence Henrist from Belgium. Their risky, dynamic elements were equivalent to any skill performed in Mixed Pairs or Men’s Pairs, proving that it is possible for women to match the other events with elements of high difficulty. All six of the Women’s Pairs used similar types of balance elements. However the Belgium Pair was exceptionally solid with all positions almost perfect. Their choreography suited them perfectly and their energy, amplitude and enthusiasm were a joy to watch.
The Pair from AZE was a huge surprise. They are the ones who demonstrated the most improvement from the last time we saw them at the World Championships in Glasgow. In the final they finished just .01 behind the Pair from Belgium. The AZE Pair has been training in BLR sharing the same coach as the BLR Pair. A beautiful demonstration of the new found solidarity of the expert countries working with the less experienced countries.
The Bronze medal went to GBR. Interestingly, the three medalist Pairs were all tied in Artistry at 9.2. The slightly lower execution score for GBR was the difference on the podium.
The competition was close, and in the end it was the combined exercise of Kristin Allen and Michael Rodrigues that earned the highest marks, winning the first Gold Medal at World Games for the USA. The Pair is well matched with a maturity of performance that personifies the definition of “Mixed Pair”. Their combined exercise demonstrated character from the beginning to the end, with the tango theme being a perfect match.
The Silver medal winning Belgian Mixed Pair was especially outstanding in their Dynamic exercise with elements of difficulty not found in other performances. Although their exercises were all similar in character, the Pair seemed to be an audience favorite. All three of the British Pair’s exercises were solidly performed and their Bronze medal well deserved.
From the beginning it seemed apparent that there were two Groups fighting for the Gold Medal, China and Great Britain with the Ukraine and Bulgaria in contention for the Bronze. China and Britain brought different strengths to the competition. The well matched Group from China was superior in terms of artistry, delivering spectacular exercises that were crowd pleasing and exciting. The British Group was not as well matched with apparent differences in mass and maturity, hurting them in their Artistry scores. However, they delivered solid execution of all their group elements. Their quadruple salto, performed in the dynamic exercise, was especially noteworthy.
Artistry won the day, and the Chinese Men’s Four took the podium in first place with GBR in close second. The Bulgarian exercises were well performed and their choreography was both interesting and unique. Ukraine was better matched even if they were not as clear technically. Again, it was artistry that made the difference and Ukraine finished with the Bronze.
In an extremely close competition, it was challenging to predict who would make it to the Final and certainly no one could be considered a lock for the Gold Medal. The music selection and therefore the choreography for each Group was unique and told a different story. The audience was presented with a full range of themes and the result was a spectacular show.
But in the end it was the Russian Group who delivered and no one questioned who should be on top of the podium. The trio was perfectly matched in terms of body type, and they were superior in every other aspect of artistry. Moving in and out of elements of difficulty with originality and creativity, their exercises were a seamless combination of skills and choreography.
Ukraine had to accept a leotard penalty, moving them from what should have been a second place finish into third. Respect must be given to the British trio. They performed with consistency throughout the competition and without penalty in the Final.