Going in to the all-around final we knew Zhang Boheng and Hashimoto Daiki would be the two favorites for the title, but I don’t think we expected this final to be as close as it turned out to be.
The top group began on floor where both Hashimoto and Zhang showed superb landings with great twisting execution combined with high degrees of tumbling difficulty.
However things started going awry (as they normally do) on pommel horse after Zhang fell on his travel. Things quickly shifted in favor of Hashimoto to win the title.
Until Hashimoto also fell on his travel…
The battle for the title had evened out with Hashimoto and Zhang battling for gold, while the opportunity for bronze seemed to be wide open. Caio Souza, Yul Moldauer, Illia Kovtun, Adem Asil were all trading off and battling for the third place position throughout the competition.
One of my personal highlights came during the fourth rotation with Noah Kuavita’s high bar: Kuavita’s risk and virtuosity on each of his elements kept the crowd on the edge of their seats throughout the routine. He capped things off with a stuck triple pike high bar dismount, the hardest dismount being done at these Championships.
Going back to the battle for gold, Hashimoto and Zhang were poetry in motion on parallel bars. Both showing elegance and finesse throughout their routines with risky releases, floaty transitions, combined with masterful handstand positions.
Rounding out the last rotation, Zhang was able to generate a very small margin over Hashimoto, and high bar would be the determining factor to who would win the title.
Illia Kovtun did a clean routine and showed consistency and cleanliness throughout the entire competition solidifying a bronze medal, the second all-around medal for Ukraine ever.
Zhang’s nail-biting routine made the heart’s of the spectators skip a beat for every time he let go of the bar especially since he caught by his fingertips for nearly every release, showing he was taking every risk in order to maximize his score. Zhang did take a pretty large step on his dismount, potentially opening the door.
Hashimoto, the 2020 Olympic high bar champion needed a 15.150 to pass Zhang. Hashimoto proved why he was the Olympic Champion by showing everything you have ever hoped and dreamed for in a high bar routine: risk, elegance, control, entertainment for crying out loud! However he did have a sizeable hop on his dismount, landing slightly short.
In the end Hashimoto was rewarded with a 15.133, 0.017 behind Zhang Boheng in one of the closest all-around finals ever. Despite falls, Zhang and Hashimoto demonstrated their resilience and willpower by improving throughout the competition. Both men went nearly 88 in the all-around with falls!
Each of the competitors showed their strength and resilience, from Yul Moldauer finishing fourth despite a fall on his rings dismount, Zhang and Hashimoto coming back from their falls. The level of gymnastics and quality sportsmanship demonstrated by each of the athletes made for an unforgettable, one-of-a-kind final.
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