Madison Kocian won her first individual world medal in an unforgettable manner. The 18-year-old was part of a four-way tie for gold in the uneven bars final at the 2015 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships Saturday afternoon in Glasgow, Scotland.
It marked the first four-way tie for first in the history of gymnastics world championships.
Kocian scored a 15.366, as did Russia’s Viktoria Komova and Daria Spiridonova, and China’s Fan Yilin. Glasgow marked Kocian’s second world championships. She won gold with the U.S. women’s team in both 2014 and 2015, competing on bars both years.
Kocian trains at WOGA in Texas, the former home of 2004 Olympic all-around champion Carly Patterson, 2008 Olympic all-around champion Nastia Liukin, 2003 world uneven bars champion Hollie Vise, 2009 world all-around silver medalist Rebecca Bross and 2013 American Cup champion Katelyn Ohashi. She is the seventh American to win the world uneven bars title, following in the footsteps of Marcia Frederick (1978), Shannon Miller (1993), Courtney Kupets (2002), Chellsie Memmel and Vise (2003), and Liukin (2005).
The win cemented Kocian as one of the favorites to make the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team.
Another favorite, 2012 Olympic all-around champion Gabby Douglas, finished just outside the uneven bars tie, in fifth, with 15.133. Douglas also finished fifth on bars in 2011, her only other individual final at a world championships. Earlier in the week, Douglas earned silver in the all-around competition after taking more than two years off from the sport.
Three-time world all-around champion Simone Biles took bronze in the vault final – with an average score of 15.541 – to earn her 12th world medal. She earned silver in the event the past two years. Russian Maria Paseka won the event with 15.666 and North Korean Hong Un-Jong, the 2014 world champion, earned bronze with 15.633.
Already owning the most world gold medals by a U.S. woman, Biles is one gold medal shy of the international record of nine shared by Larisa Latynina (Soviet Union), Gina Gogean (Romania) and Svetlana Khorkina (Russia). She has a chance to win two – floor exercise and balance beam – in Sunday’s event finals.
In the men’s still rings final, 2013 world rings bronze medalist Brandon Wynn was fifth and Donnell Whittenburg eighth, after Whittenburg also finished eighth in Friday’s all-around final. Alex Naddour was seventh on pommel horse.
Competition concludes Sunday with five more event finals. Danell Leyva, the 2011 world parallel bars champion, will compete in parallel bars and high bar, with Chris Brooks joining him in the latter. Whittenburg is entered in the men’s vault final. For the women, Biles is the sole U.S. athlete on beam and will be joined by Maggie Nichols on floor.