The breakout event of Jessica Gadirova’s flourishing career culminated in one of her greatest achievements as the 18-year-old closed off the women’s competition by becoming world champion on the floor exercise for the first time.
After playing a defining role in Great Britain’s team silver medal and then taking bronze in a tense, high-quality all-around final, she finishes her first world championship with three medals, one of each colour. In an incredibly successful event that has underlined Great Britain’s arrival at the top of the sport, GB’s gymnasts leave Liverpool with six medals.
Of the four individual medals won by British gymnasts, a gold for Gadirova was always the likeliest outcome. Although Gadirova has been one of the best floor workers in the world for a while, winning two European titles, last year the difficulty rating of her routine was insufficient on the global stage. She finished the Olympic floor final in sixth despite achieving the highest execution score.
She arrived in Liverpool having significantly upgraded her routine, inserting an extremely difficult full-twisting double layout as her second tumbling pass. Throughout the competition she has performed it exquisitely and had earned two of the top three scores on floor ahead of the final.
Despite struggling with ankle pain that forced her to withdraw from Saturday’s vault final, she entered the floor final as the last competitor and performed exactly as she has done throughout – navigating her two incredibly difficult tumbling passes, her double-twisting double back and the full-twisting double layout, with just a small hop on each landing, while complementing them with precise, high-octane choreography.
“I have been struggling with a little bit of pain after the all-around final. I just tried to push through and I’m so relieved that it was worth it,” Gadirova said. “I’m so proud of myself to keep fighting. I tried to focus on my own individual performance and I didn’t listen to anyone else’s score. I just did it with my heart.”
Her score of 14.2 completed a dominant victory. The only gymnast capable of matching her combination of artistry and difficulty was the Brazilian all-around champion Rebeca Andrade, who gave away vital tenths with her landings and an incomplete spin. Andrade finished tied in third place with Jade Carey, also of the USA, with a score of 13.733. Jordan Chiles, Carey’s compatriot, took silver with a score of 13.833. Jennifer Gadirova, Jessica’s twin sister, finished seventh with 13.166.