05 Oct Hashimoto Goes Back To Back; Richard Wins First All-Around Medal in 13 Years
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Hashimoto Goes Back To Back; Richard Wins First U.S. All-Around Medal In 13 Years
In case there were any doubts, Hashimoto Daiki is the best men’s gymnast in the world. The 22-year-old clinched his second consecutive World All-Around title (86.132) Thursday night in Antwerp at the 2023 World Championships, while Ukraine’s Illia Kovtun found himself back on the podium (84.998) – upgrading his bronze from 2021 to silver in 2023 – and the United State’s Fred Richard grabbed the U.S. men’s first World All-Around medal in 13 years with the bronze (84.332).
Hashimoto Daiki was favored to win his second consecutive World All-Around title coming into Antwerp, but the pathway wasn’t as clear as most probably would have anticipated. After a mistake on pommel horse during the Qualification round, Hashimoto finished third behind two of his teammates, meaning he would not advance to the All-Around final due to the two-per country rule. The Japanese team made the decision to switch out Kaya Kazuma for Hashimoto – and he didn’t disappoint.
Although Hashimoto didn’t get the beset start on floor in rotation one (13.466), he was as clean as could be through the remaining five, including a stellar stuck Kas double (15.000) leaving no doubts that he deserved the top spot once again.
Illia Kovtun had a phenomenal day, the highlight coming on parallel bars with a 15.166. It’s Kovtun’s second time on the World All-Around podium and the second World medal of his career.
For Fred Richard, the history continued just a few days after the U.S. men won the bronze medal – the first World team medal for the U.S. men in nine years. Richard took an early lead after stellar routine on floor (14.633) in rotation one and remained in the medal mix until the very end. At least a silver medal looked to be in his grasp, until a fall on his sixth and final event on high bar.
Richard’s medal chances looked to be over, but after China’s Sun Wei had two falls on pommel horse and Japan’s Chiba Kenta had a fall on high bar, the door swung wide open.
“It’s not a good feeling waiting,” Richard said after the meet. “In your head you’re just thinking, ‘You know what? I’m going to just go back to the gym and train as hard as I can.’ I think the universe knew that I was going to do that anyways, so to give me the gift of the medal while still letting me go back to the gym and train… I’ll take both of those!”
Richard’s bronze is the first U.S. men’s World All-Around medal since Jonathan Horton won bronze in 2010. Richard is now also the youngest individual World medalist in U.S. history and the first American person of color to medal in the Men’s All-Around.
The future is certainly bright for Team USA and Fred Richard. And he’ll be in this position again. Count on it.
“We can get to the first place podium,” Richard said. “I have no doubt about it. I don’t know how long it’ll take, but we’re going to push every day of our lives to get there and there’s a lot of young people like me coming up, so bright future for us. That’s all I can say.”