© John Cheng

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (July 17, 2022) – On the final pass of the final gymnastics competition at The World Games, Kaden Brown took his tumbling to the next level, winning a spectacular gold medal Sunday at BJCC Legacy Arena.

After scoring a 27.600 on his first finals pass, two-time World individual tumbling bronze medalist Brown (Herriman, Utah/Wasatch Trampoline & Tumbling) advanced to a winner-take-all second finals pass in the second spot behind Rasmus Steffernsen of Denmark, who posted a dominant 29.500. In his second run, Steffensen opened the door for Brown when he scored just 23.900, losing half of his difficulty score for repeating a skill from his first pass. Alex Duriez of France responded with a 27.800, putting the heat on Brown as the last of four competitors.

What Brown delivered in the next moments was a career-making performance. An execution score of 18.900 was further elevated by his difficulty score of 10.400 – a full 1.300 points higher than Duriez. After completing his high-flying pass, Brown burst into a spontaneous, beaming smile, followed by equally spontaneous tears.

Brown’s tears of joy became pure joy when his score of 29.500 flashed on the screen, moving him past Duriez into the gold-medal position.

“I can’t believe I did that. It’s surreal – a dream come true, honestly,” Brown said of his performance after receiving his gold medal. “I’ve never heard an audience get so loud before. I couldn’t help but burst into tears. Just to see it (the score) flash on the board made it official and made me really emotional.”

Brown’s gold is the first in men’s tumbling for the U.S. at The World Games since John Beck won his second of two straight golds in 1993.

Also in competition on Sunday, Tristan Van Natta (Marysville, Ohio/Integrity Athletics) had a strong and consistent day in women’s double mini. She was sixth in qualifying with a cumulative score of 50.800, scoring 24.800 on her first pass and 26.000 on her second. In the final, she once again upped her game garnering a 26.400 on her first pass – the fourth-highest score of the round. Portugal’s Diana Gago posted a matching 26.400, and although Van Natta earned the highest execution of all eight athletes in the field (19.200), Gago claimed the fourth and final spot in the medal round after difficulty score, where Gago had the advantage, 7.600 to 7.200, was used to break the tie. Melania Rodriguez of Spain went on to win the competition with a 26.600 on her second finals pass.

U.S. gymnasts finished The World Games with one gold, two silver and one bronze medal.