The women’s all-around final was thrilling from beginning to end, with the fight for the podium not over until the very last rotation. Going into the final, Simone Biles of the U.S. was the heavy favorite to win her fourth World all-around title, leading the competition by around four points after qualifications. Morgan Hurd of the U.S. was the silver medal favorite, followed by a plethora of other major contenders, such as Mai Murakami of Japan, Angelina Melnikova of Russia, Ellie Black of Canada, and Nina Derwael of Belgium.

The Women’s All Around podium at the 2018 World Championships Photo: John Cheng

The competition was fierce from the very beginning, with Biles making things very interesting by falling on her extremely-difficult vault right out of the gate. Hurd and Murakami both hit very strong Yurchenko double fulls, taking advantage of the fall from Biles and taking the lead after the first rotation.

Both Americans hit their bar routines in the second rotation, with Biles then taking over the top spot and Hurd following close behind. A fall from Ellie Black took her down in the standings, and Derwael took advantage of her prime event with a huge 15.100 score to move into third at the halfway mark.

The top group moved to balance beam in the third rotation, and Biles shocked everyone with her second fall of the day. Her extreme difficulty allowed her to stay in the lead heading into her final event, but the margin was much closer than anticipated. Hurd had a major mistake as well, putting her hands down and grabbing the beam, dropping to fourth in the standings.

A super-clean and elegant routine from Derwael allowed her to move into second, just .1 behind Biles heading into floor. Melnikova followed right behind after a hit routine, with the top five all within a point heading to floor.

Simone Biles closing out her all around competition on floor Photo: John Cheng

Melnikova and Derwael started out the rotation on floor, with Melnikova relying on her difficulty and Derwael on her gorgeous execution. Derwael edged out Melnikova by just .001, with the drama only continuing as Murakami went up and just edged out both of them with a huge 14.0 on her best event.

Hurd finished off her competition with a hit floor routine, but it was not quite enough to get her ahead of Murakami, taking her into second with just Biles left to go. Despite an out-of-bounds error on her first pass, Biles’ floor routine was more than enough to give her her fourth World all-around title, making her the first ever female gymnast to earn four World golds in the marquee final. The competition was thrilling from beginning to end, with the second-sixth place athletes all separated by less than two-tenths, a testament to the depth and competition in elite gymnastics at the moment.

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