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World Championships 2017 Power Rankings

Worlds is over for another year (sigh).  While I'm still feeling nostalgic for Worlds, I'm going to recap the best and worst moments of the world championships with my Power Rankings.

Power Rankings are a feature I usually do during NCAA season, but it's still appropriate for an event that all roads lead to in elite.

For the "rankings" of the "power rankings" I'm going to rate an event on the basis of fail or win (occasionally and epic win or epic fail and the general moments of hilarity and heartbreakers.

Let's get started.

Win - Morgan Hurd's All-Around Win

Morgan Hurd kept the US winning streak alive at this world championships and being added to the list of legends of the sport including Kim Zmeskal, Shannon Miller, Shawn Johnson, and Chellsie Memmel just to name a few.

Morgan's win in and of itself is a triumph on so many levels. After having not the best P&G Championships, placing sixth overall, she went on to be named to the team, much to the chagrin of MANY. The Internet can be an extremely unkind place, to put it mildly. Morgan was the target of much vitriol. She did have her defenders of course and they tasted sweet sweet revenge when Morgan went on to win the whole meet. Mic drop, BOOM.

Morgan's win was extra special to the gym-nerd community because...drum roll please... SHE'S ONE OF US! She's commented on how she thinks Brooklyn Moors' Semenova turn is the most beautiful thing she's ever seen. She tweeted about her waking up at 6 a.m. to live blog and watch the worlds in China:

Win - Record setting and history making

This worlds was incredibly exciting for all the record breaking and historic firsts. Per Lauren from The Gymternet, a total 18 records were either matched or broken during this worlds. I can't mention all of them here, but I'll list a few of them, starting with Ellie Black's epic silver medal win in the all-around, the first for a Canadian woman.

Mai Murakami winning a gold medal on floor for Japan, the first time since 1954(for the women). Mai has been so close so many times and for her to finally get a medal, gold or otherwise, is incredible. Nina Derwael being the first Belgian woman to make an event final AND to medal. Pauline Schaefer's balance beam win, beating her own record from 2015 when she won bronze.

Fail - The Lights and equipment failures.

For some reason, the organizers felt that the arena needed theater lighting. Not just a spotlight, but lights that are as bright as the freaking sun. Yeah, you know your lighting is WAY, way, way, way, WAY too bright if people are blinded even when they are not physically present in the arena.

Seriously.  There is a fucking star system right above Maria Paseka.
The lights were a huge complaint from fans watching at home and everyone in the arena complained about them.

And this brings me to my next huge fail.

The floor breaking in the middle of men's qualifications on floor.  Gymnova provided brand new equipment for the world championships to compete on and train on. When new equipment is provided that hasn't been used, you don't expect it to randomly break in the middle of a competition. But since this worlds has earned the name of Trash Worlds this is OF COURSE what would happen. Bart Deurloo of the Netherlands noticed an anomaly in the floor during his routine and brought it up to the officials. Long story short, the floor was broken. They fixed it before the women's qualifications started. Everyone got to go again (Bart declined), more drama and conspiracy theories and there wound up being nine guys in the floor final. Essentially, it was due to fairness.

Fail - Everyone and their dog getting injured.

From start to finish, it seemed a new person got injured every single day of worlds. Injuries were part of the reason fans started calling this #TrashWorlds.

It seems fitting as the injuries were devastating and massively heart breaking.

Brazil's Rebecca Andrade withdrew before the start of the competition with an aggravated knee injury.

And then there was Larisa Iordache, who was heavily favored to win the all-around title since her biggest competition, Simone Biles, was not competing this year.  It happened so fast. Qualifications were about to start and Larisa was warming up on floor in the thirty second touch when she suddenly went down. She was taken out of the arena in a wheelchair. Later, it was revealed she'd injured her achilles. She posted this heartfelt sentiment on her Instagram account -

A post shared by Larisa Iordache đź–¤ (@larisa_iordache) on

If that had been the end of it, obviously I would end it here. But alas.

Another heartbreaking injury was Kohei Uchimura. Uchimura the six time world all around champion for the men, going for his seventh world all-around title and his eighth straight world/Olympic all-around title over all. The universe had different plans apparently. And it was the god damned vault that was his downfall, injuring his ankle during qualifications, causing him to withdraw from the competition.

The curse of the Montreal worlds injuries continued to the day of the women's all-around final. Minutes before it was set to begin, news came down from USA Gymnastics that Ragan was withdrawing due to, you guessed it, AN INJURY. Turned out, she'd rolled her ankle during warm ups on vault. Ugh. It's especially heartbreaking since she had qualified to the all-around in second just hundredths of a point behind Mai Murakami. Ragan was heavily favored to win and many speculate that she would have won, if the injury didn't bring her down. She was taken to the hospital for X-Rays, which revealed she had a ligament tear. Sigh. We will never know what could have been.

Then the curse extended to the event finals. The second and final day, two more injuries popped up. Prior to the men's vault final, top qualifier Yang Hak Seon withdrew due to a hamstring injury he sustained during the warm-ups.

Just when we thought we'd seen the last of the injuries, the women's floor final happened. The last athlete up was Italy's Vanessa Ferrari. Ferrari started her routine, complete with epic "Carmina Burana" floor music. Oh how fateful that she chose that piece of music for her floor music (I posted a video below with the music and the vocals). On her second pass she fell. Of course, it was expected she'd get back up and keep going, but she stayed down, indicating she'd been injured. Medical staff and her coach came right over to examine her. Ultimately, like Larisa Iordache, she was wheeled out of the arena. Later, we learned that like Larisa, she'd torn her achilles. She's already torn her Achilles and came back this year, but, it seems she re-injured it. Now the "Carmina Burana" seemed like a fateful choice of floor music.  If you're not sure what I am talking about, read the first couple stanzas of the poem (in original Latin and translation).

O Fortuna
Velut luna
statu variabilis
semper crescis
aut decriscis

O Fortune
Like the moon
you are constantly changing;
ever growing
and waning

Maybe the lights were to blame?

I'm tired of talking about fails, so I am going to talk about wins.

Win - Epke Zonderland's Epic High Bar Save -

During his routine in the high bar final in Rio, Epke missed his Covacs and fell, costing him the Olympic medal. Epke was determined not to make the same mistake again. Fate had plans, but so did Epke.  During his routine in high-bar finals, his hand slipped on the re-grasp after his Covacs. Determined not to fall, Epke held on with his remaining arm like his life depended on it and wound up just doing a one armed giant and re-grabbing the bar with his missed hand. He wound up with a silver medal after all was said and done.

This brings us to another awesome and hilarious win - Bart Deurloo's reaction to Epke's high bar routine

Really, this is best being shown rather than me telling it.


His reaction caused Nastia, John Rothlisberger and Tim to erupt in a fit of laughter on the broadcast. That's how epic it is.

Bittersweet - Catalina Ponor retiring

Catalina Ponor didn't have the best meet at this worlds. She fell on beam and didn't make it into either floor or beam finals, which fans certainly expected she would.

During her interview (and via her Instagram), she stated that she was a bit disappointed, of course, but, she's had a long and illustrious career and she's proud of her accomplishments. Thus stating that she's not continuing through 2020.  So sad, it's not a fail, per say... It's bittersweet. But, Romania needs to start rebuilding after their 2016 Rio qualification disaster... And I understand that Catalina wants to start exploring her life outside gymnastics. But still, it's sad.

A post shared by Catalina Ponor Official (@catalina_ponor) on

Win - Diana Varinska  - a New Hope for Ukrainian Women's Gymnastics

I wanted to end on a positive note here. While Romania is struggling to reclaim their past glory and rebuild their program, Ukraine seems to be doing exactly that. Diana Varinska ended years of drought for the Ukranian women. She qualified to the all-around final, the first since 2007. Then, their highest finish was 24th in the all-around. She qualified to the uneven bars final, the first since event final since 2006 for Ukraine. She didn't win any medals, but what she did in Montreal is possibly more valuable than a medal. Just qualifying to these finals is Ukraine's best results in over a decade. This means more funding for the program and it means that baby Ukrainian gymnasts will see what she did and be inspired to be like her. You see, what Diana has given the Ukrainian women's' gymnastics program is priceless. She gave them hope.


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