With just over 20 months to Paris 2024, the picture for rhythmic gymnastics is getting clearer as six teams (three men and three women) have earned trips to the Olympics in 2022 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Liverpool, England.
As the chalk dust clears Liverpool, we look back at what the competition has taught us and what it means for Paris.
READ MORE: Look at the final medal table.
October 29 – November 6
Rhythmic Gymnastics | Olympic qualification | World Cup | Liverpool
American women still rule
The women of Team USA have put aside any doubt that they are still a force to be reckoned with in the gymnastics world by easily winning their sixth straight team gold medal.
That they didn’t do it with a seven-time Olympic medalist Simone Biles or Tokyo 2020 all-around gold medalist Sunia Leeboth of whom have yet to reveal their future competitive plans, was all the more impressive.
Their victory came from a mix of veteran Olympic champions Jade Carey, team silver medalist Jordan Chiles and all-around 2021 world silver medalist Leanna Wongand world debutants Shilese Jones and Skye Blakely.
“This is just the beginning of Team USA,” Chiles told Olympics.com in an exclusive interview after the jump final. “We will continue to go out there, staying strong, striving and growing for the many things I know we have within us. So it’s definitely going to be huge when 24 comes around.”
The battle for the women’s silver, bronze team will be fierce
The women’s team final in Liverpool was a tight battle for second and third place behind the dominant Americans.
Ultimately, Great Britain and Canada stood on the podium, but several teams were only a few routine matches away from the medal podium.
Let’s take Japan for example. They seemed almost certain of a bronze until their last contestant on the uneven bars went off camera twice.
Italy also had its own consistency issues with the team leader Martina Maggio suffering surprising dips in their trading opening on uneven bars.
The Brazilians, who finished fourth, were hampered by an injury to the two-time Olympian Flavia Sarajwa in the qualifying round which limited her to just uneven bars in the team final.
All in all, this means a very bright and interesting future for the women’s team competition as Paris approaches.
Never enumerate the People’s Republic of China
After a difficult performance during the qualifying round in Liverpool, it looked like the men’s final could be an escape for Japan.
Instead, the People’s Republic of China far outperformed its first day results when Japan collapsed.
It was a gold medal reminiscent of their victory at the 2012 London Olympics, where the team finished sixth in the qualifiers, only to dominate the medal round by four points.
Lesson learned: never count them down.
Rebeca Andrade just keeps getting better
Seven years after the Brazilian gymnast Rebecca Andrade made her debut in the senior national team, she continues to create the history of her nation.
Her gold medal in the all-around was the first for Brazil and only the second at the World Championships (Jade Barbose won bronze in 2006).
The 23-year-old made sure she was the best gymnast in the world before the competition and succeeded when it mattered most. This is her last moment to make history after winning Brazil’s first gold medal in women’s Olympic gymnastics last year in Tokyo 2020, winning the vaulting title. She was also the first South American to win an Olympic medal in the all-around when she took silver behind American Sunisa Lee.
Andrade’s triumphs come from tremendous struggles as the perennially talented gymnast tore her ACL in 2015, 2017 and 2019.
Hashimoto and Zhang win the next chapter of the competition
Before the worlds, many were hoping for an exciting battle between the reigning Olympic all-around champion Daiki Hashimoto21, Japanese champion and 2021 world all-around champion Zhang Boheng22, the People’s Republic of China.
The duo did not disappoint in what is shaping up to be one of the most fascinating rivalries in sport in history.
A year ago at the World Championships in Kitakyushu, Zhang prevented Hashimoto from adding world gold to his Olympic title by just 0.017 in a thrilling final.
At Liverpool, it was once again an intense affair with Hashimoto winning the gold medal by less than half a point.
Look for it back and forth to continue until 2024.