Mai Murakami wins world title and announces resignation as gymnastics worlds are over – OlympicTalk


May Murakami won an Olympic medal and two World Cup medals in less than three months – and then retired.

The 25-year-old Japanese gymnast announced that she had retired after winning a medal in both women’s finals on Sunday, the final day of the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships.

At the Tokyo Olympics, where she won bronze in floor exercise, and the Worlds in Kitakyushu, she ended up with some of her greatest successes in her home country.

Murakami, who was world champion on the floor in 2017 and world champion in the all-around competition in 2018, added the balance beam bronze and another floor title to her résumé before calling it a career.

Eighteen-year-old Olympic team-mate Urara Ashikawa won the bar gold with a score of 14.1, followed by Germany Pauline Schäfer-Betzwho had won it four years earlier with 13.8 and Murakamis 13.733.

American Leanne Wong, the all-round silver medalist at the start of the meeting, was fourth 0.4 off the podium. All-round bronze medalist Kayla DiCello was eighth.

Murakami later won Floor Gold in the final with a score of 14.066 and the greatest difficulty, 15.8. All-round world champion Angelina Melnikova, who represents the Russian Gymnastics Federation while Russia is excluded from World Cup events, took silver (14.0) for her third medal in Kitakyushu, while Wong also returned to the podium with a score of 13.833. DiCello finished fifth (13,633).

Carlos Yulo won the first men’s final of the evening and added a gold medal to its 2019 floor. The Filipino’s victory was the first of his nation to jump. His average of 14,916 double jumps exceeded that of Japan Hidenobu Yonekura (14.866) and Andrey Medvedev (14,649) from Israel, both won their first world medals – the latter at 31.

China Hu Xuwei then won the last two men’s world titles, the first of his career, and became the only two-time world champion in 2021.

His practice on parallel bars scored 15.466 points, ahead of Yulos 15.3 and Shikong‘s 15,066. American Yul Moldovan, who was fourth in the all-around competition, finished fifth with 15.0.

Hu’s high bar score of 15,166 beat the Olympic all-around winner Daiki Hashimoto (15,066) and 21 years old Brody Malone of the United States (14,966), who won a tiebreaker over fourth place Carlo Macchini from Italy.

Hashimoto leaves worlds with all-round silver and high bar silver after winning gold and team silver at both events in Tokyo.

Malone, a relatively unknown before this year, will end his long campaign in 2021 with the NCAA all-round, horizontal bar and team titles, US championships in all-round and vault victories, all-round and high bar victories at Olympic Trials, in fourth place high bar at the Olympic Games in Tokyo and now a world medal on the device.

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