By Christy Sandmaier

Worcester’s Stephen Nedoroscik made history Saturday in Kitakyushu, earning the United States its first-ever pommel horse World Championships gold.

Nedoroscik, who was competing in his first Worlds, finished more than three-tenths of a point ahead of silver medalists Weng Hao of China and Kaya Kazuma of Japan. Teammate Alec Yoder was fifth. Nedoroscik is only the third American to medal on pommel horse at a World Championships, joining Kurt Thomas (silver, 1979) and Alexander Artemev (bronze, 2006).

The gold medal represents a story of redemption for Penn State graduate Nedoroscik, a pommel horse specialist, who was left off the team for Tokyo. He wasn’t deterred by the disappointment, but used it as motivation to keep training and earn his spot to Worlds. Prior to leaving for Kitakyushu, Nedoroscik was ill and took almost a week off of training. He arrived in Japan so late he missed podium training and had no chance to test the equipment in the arena before the qualifying competition. It was a setback that could unnerve any athlete, but especially at their first World Championships. One again, Nedoroscik would not be deterred, placing second in the Qualifications round.

Today, he was the sixth of eight competitors and stepped up to the plate when others left the door open. He swings with ease and freedom and flew through his scissors to circles and beautiful one arm swing and a reverse for 15.266 and the gold. The joy on his face when he finished his routine told the story of a moment that was finally his.

Hao and Kazuma each posted a 14.900 – earning the same difficulty and execution scores – confirming the tie for the second position stood. Yoder posted a 14.766 – the same score as Kazakhstan’s Nariman Kurbanov – but was edged out of fourth place by the tie break. On floor, Italy’s Nicola Bartolini took the top spot with a 14.800, while China’s Lan Xingyu topped the field on rings with a 15.200. 

For the women, Olympic vault champion Rebeca Andrade of Brazil continued her storybook 2021, claiming the gold on vault with a 14.966 for an absolutely beautiful sky-high Cheng and Yurchenko double full. Andrade also captured silver on bars where China’s Wei Xiaoyuan won gold with a 14.733.

Tomorrow’s competition includes USA’s Yul Moldauer on parallel bars, Brody Malone competing on high bar, and All-Around silver and bronze medalists Leanne Wong and Kayla DiCello on beam and floor. We’ll also see Rebeca Andrade on beam, new crowned World All-Around champion Angelina Melnikova on beam and floor, and in what could be their final competition, Murakami Mai on floor, and the greatest of all-time Uchimura Kohei on high bar. 

For complete results, click here!

The final day of competition will air live on Olympic Channel beginning at 4:25 p.m. local time (3:25 a.m. ET).

Look for more on Stephen Nedoroscik coming soon on InsideGym.com and in Inside Gymnastics magazine.

Photos by Filippo Tomasi; Lloyd Smith for Inside Gymnastics

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