UK twins Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova win major world championships at home and help team qualify for Paris 2024

The first person to see this British artistic gymnast Jessica Gadirov won floor gold at her home World Championships in Liverpool on Sunday (November 6) was not that woman; it was the twin sister Jennifer Gadirov.

Jen had already competed in the finals, eventually finishing seventh, and kept a close eye on the scoreboard after Jess was the last of the eight finalists.

While her siblings removed the support tape from her sore ankle, which prevented her from participating in the jump final the previous day, Jen watched the result without blinking.

Seeing 14,200 on the screen, Jen burst into tears and hugged her sister, who then mirrored her emotions as her first ever world title was confirmed.

The crowd was delighted – Jess defeated the American Jordan Chiles who won silver with 13,833 and Brazil Rebecca Andrade and a compatriot of Chiles Jade Careytied third at 13,733.

When Jess jumped onto the podium with the British flag, it was Jen who made sure the flag was pointed in the right direction before stepping back and applauding her siblings.

Jess also won a bronze in the all-around and the duo also helped earn a runner-up spot in the team event, and with it a berth at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

So who are these two who seem to be heading towards the world of rhythmic gymnastics Paris 2024? Olympics.com caught up with them in August.

TO READ: How to Qualify for Rhythmic Gymnastics Paris 2024

twin set

When rhythmic gymnast twins Jess and Jen Gadirova went through the rite of passage familiar to many 17-year-olds in the UK – passing their driving test – their experience was a bit different.

“While we were at the test center, one of the examiners recognized us for our performance at the Olympics and asked if we could have a photo, so that was really cool,” Jess told Olympics.com. interview with Jen ahead of the European Multisport Championships in August in Munich, Germany.

The achievement Jess refers to is the team bronze medal won by Great Britain in Rhythmic Gymnastics at Tokyo 2020 (in 2021), ahead of US silver medalists and ROC gold medalists. It was Britain’s first medal in the women’s gymnastics team event for 93 years; men won the country’s first Olympic medal in a century in front of a rowdy home crowd in London in 2012.

Next door in Japan Alice Kinsella and Amelie Morganthe quartet had just overtaken Italy for last place on the podium in joyful scenes.

“We both couldn’t believe it when the result came in and it turned out to be such a dream come true,” said Jess. “I think most people have this as a goal and I think making it happen is just… it was mind-blowing and the first thing I thought was just to look at my sister because we’ve both been on this journey together and we’ve both achieved this what we wanted.”

“I just didn’t know what to do,” Jen said. “I wanted to look at everyone, smile, hug everyone and just share this wonderful moment with everyone.”

Simone Biles inspiration

When Olympics.com spoke to the twins ahead of Tokyo 2020 earlier, Jess mentioned she was smitten with the gymnastics legend Simone Biles, she wasn’t sure she’d be able to say anything to the four-time Olympian and 19-time World Championships medalist. So did they manage to talk to the GOAT?

“Yes,” said Jess, who was warming up for the finale, when the American approached her. “I was just waiting for my turn and Simone Biles came up to me with her trainers and asked, ‘So how do I tell the two of you apart and what are the little things you can see between each other? ‘ And I think I told her I had this and Jen had that. (Biles said) “I think I can tell the two of you apart, but just knowing which name goes with whom is just wrong.”

So how do do you see the difference between you?

“I have a small freckle in the middle of my forehead, but from a distance it looks like this: ‘How do I see it? I can not see it!” Jess said. “So I guess from what other people say our faces are shaped a bit differently or we smile a bit differently or our eyebrows are a bit different but it’s hard for me to tell when I look at her all the time.”

“I think the more you know us, the more you can see the difference between us,” Jen said.

Interestingly, the Italians, who won GB to team gold in European cups, also have twins in their squad. So can the Gadirova tell the difference between Alice and Asia D’Amato?

“I think I struggled at first,” Jess said, “but I think I got it pretty well now.”

“I can tell they are different,” Jen said. “Just now you know what name goes with what face.”

Welcome to our world!

Alice and Asia D’Amato Italy rhythmic gymnastics

Photo from 2021. Getty Images

Bond girls

Following their Olympic success, the two enjoyed several celebratory moments such as being invited to the premiere of James Bond It’s not time to die.

“We always train at the gym in our leotards or other workout clothes, so being able to put on a dress and change and look pretty is just a lot of fun,” Jen said.

The couple are big fans of Marvel movies. If they had to choose a superpower, Jen would choose time travel or invisibility while Jess would choose flying.

“I know you fly gymnastics,” she said, “but imagine flying even higher and never touching the ground again.”

I make a splash

Jess burst onto the international scene at last year’s European Championships in Basel, Switzerland, winning medals in every color. She won a bronze in the all-around, a silver in the vault, and after the dance floor performance, she was so busy waving at the camera that she didn’t notice she had won gold.

When she recorded what she had done, her automatic reaction was as if she had turned to her twin to celebrate, but Jen wasn’t there as she had withdrawn from the team due to an injury. The couple soon spoke to each other on the phone.

Jen told Olympics.com last year, “Seeing her score pop up and just say ‘1’, I thought I was at a loss for words. I was so shocked and very happy. And then I was on the phone, and then hearing them scream and scream with happiness, I just burst into tears.”

Jen had her breakthrough moment in her senior debut at the 2020 America’s Cup in Wisconsin. She finished fourth (with relegation) behind the 2017 World All-Around Champion. Morgan Hurdand soon to be the 2021 all-time bronze medalist Kayla DiCelloand Japan Hatakeda Hitomi, and achieved the highest scores in floor exercise (13.700) and jump (14.566) while on it.

Both Gadirovs are known for their expressive floor routines with very hard falls that excite gymnastics fans, so the world gold winner by Jess, who is only 18 years old, maybe shouldn’t be such a big surprise. Doing it under pressure from home supporters with an ankle injury just makes it a more impressive feat.

Competitive nature

When asked if they have any individual interests apart, there is a pause. Long break.

“It’s a very difficult question because we’re together 24/7 and we don’t really like doing things without each other,” Jess said. “It’s nice to have our separate moments, but she’s my best friend, she’s with me all the time, so I don’t like doing things without her. But I think time alone is important for everyone, but we’re as one, so we’re together.”

This may be so, but when we ask who is the best driver, their competitive advantage comes to light.

“I like to think I am,” Jess said. “I think we’re pretty good and I think we’re pretty much the same in riding, but I had five (mistakes) in the test and she had two, so I give her the crown.”

Jess rolled her eyes and Jen sighed in satisfaction before they turned to each other and giggled.

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