GLASGOW (Reuters) - Fan Yilin, Viktoriia Komova, Daria Spiridonova and Madison Kocian shared an unprecedented four gold medals at the gymnastics world championships on Saturday when the judges could not decide between their asymmetric bars routines.
China’s Fan was the first to be awarded 15.366 points for her gravity-defying routine that involved travelling between the two bars while executing a number of difficult elements.
Next up was 2011 champion Komova, who fell from her signature apparatus during the women’s team final earlier in the week.
When she nailed her dismount she looked pleased to have avoided any drama and then looked bemused at drawing the same score as her Chinese rival.
From then on, the gymnasts kept bursting into laughter as first American Kocian and then Komova’s fellow Russian Spiridonova also joined the 15.366 gang.
With the giant television screen confirming that there were indeed four champions from the eight-woman final, the gold medallists stood with their arms around each other in a straight line as the crowd gave them a standing ovation.
“It’s definitely crazy. I wasn’t sure if they were going to do a tie-breaker but I knew my execution would be a little better based on qualifications, so I knew either way I was going to have a medal. I was just hoping it’d still be gold,” Kocian said after earning her second gold in Glasgow following the success of the American women in the team competition.
The Russians were still in shock after a prolonged medals ceremony featured three national anthems being played and the master of ceremonies making four announcements starting with “Winner of the gold medal and the 2015 uneven bars champion is....”
Organisers also had to abandon the flag-raising ceremony as there was no room for three flags on the same horizontal pole.
“I’ve never seen anything like this and I didn’t think anything like this would even be possible. It’s great that we are in this together and we will share the victory,” Spiridonova said.
Komova added: ”It was hard to deal with the nerves after they started to announce the results. I am personally shocked. It’s the first time the judges had such a hard time deciding who the champion was on bars.”
While so many gold medals have never been given out in one event before, there was a five-way tie for silver at the 1922 championships on the pommel horse.
Saturday’s final also featured 2012 Olympic all-around champion Gabby Douglas but she missed out on stepping on to the crowded top podium with 15.133 -- the second highest score of the competition.
Editing by Clare Fallon