After almost exactly 10 years, the IRV returned to Chicago, this time for the Team World Championships. Although many former participants were returning to Chicago, this time as coaches or judges, there were also a number of “firsts”.
For example, it was the first time for the IRV to organise a Team World Championship for juniors, with participating teams from Germany, Israel, Switzerland and the US. The gymnasts in this junior team event showed excellence at a very high level. In particular, the double twisting straight back somersault vault performed by Uri Porat (Team Israel) and the extremely difficult and high scoring spiral routine of Ella Köhler (Team Germany) are worth mentioning. The top three teams all managed to set their jokers at the “right” time, thus maximising the number of points for the team in the selected round. The competition was not decided until the final round, with the Gold going to Team Germany, closely followed by Team Israel in Silver medal position, Team Switzerland with Bronze and Team USA in 4th place.
After a break and a short warm up for the senior teams, it was time for the senior team championships. This year, the teams qualified to compete came from Austria, Germany, Japan and Switzerland. Team Japan opened Round 1 by setting their joker from the start, and their participant Ryuichi Goto lived up to expectations. 8 points for Japan in vault and Japan led the competition into the second round. The next 3 rounds were won by Switzerland with reigning world champion Simon Rufener obtaining the highest score in Rounds 2 and 3 for his straight-line routine to music and his spiral routine respectively. The second Swiss straight-line routine to music – performed by Leonie Botta – was also flawless and earned Switzerland the top position in Round 4 too. Unfortunately, Team Switzerland had not chosen to set their joker on any of these impressive routines, while in Round 5, both Switzerland and Austria played their jokers, but Germany’s Kira Homeyer came in with the highest score for her new straight-line routine to music. A double twisting straight back somersault vault by Germany’s Malte Schröder in Round 6, boosted by a joker, was decisive for Team Germany to secure Gold. Switzerland won Silver, Japan Bronze, while Team Austria took 4th place.
A very entertaining and exciting competition day was over. Before the award ceremony, we were treated to a cheerful show by a US Cyr wheel performer and US Special Olympics Team in colourful and glittering costumes.
Another first for these team championships was the first use of the New Code of Points (affectionately known as “CoP 2023+”) in an official IRV event. The judges were well prepared, positive, motivated and did an excellent job. Congratulations to everyone!