© John Cheng

LONDON, Great Britain, Oct. 18, 2009 – Ivana Hong of Allen, Texas, won the balance beam bronze medal at the 2009 World Championships at The O2 Arena in London, Great Britain. The USA claimed a total of five medals (2 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze) at the World Championships, which concluded today.

“This has been a good week in London for many different reasons,” said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. “First and foremost, we are proud of our athletes. It has also raised the level of excitement for the upcoming Olympics in 2012. The British have been wonderful hosts and the crowds were fantastic throughout the week. We look forward to returning three years from now.”

Earlier this week, Bridget Sloan of Pittsboro, Ind., won the women’s world all-around title. Teammate Rebecca Bross of Plano, Texas, earned both the women’s world all-around silver medal and an uneven bars bronze medal. Kayla Williams of Huntington, W. Va., became the first U.S. woman to win a world vault gold medal.

“I am very pleased with their performance,” said Martha Karolyi, the women’s national team coordinator. “I could not have been more pleased when we got first and second in the all-around. In the year after the Olympics, we were able to pick up one of our former Olympians and Bridget did an excellent job. We also showed the upcoming generation is up to that level, which was proved through the second place finish of Rebecca Bross. We are excited about the vault gold medal, and Kayla is an excellent competitor. We have the material and the enthusiasm to continue our preparation to keep our supremacy in the world.”

Hong earned the fifth medal for the USA with a 14.550 for her beam routine, which included a double pike dismount. China’s Deng Linlin won the event with a 15.000.

“Going in to today I was getting a little nervous inside but I managed to get it under control and go out and do my routine,” said Hong, who was a member of the U.S. team that won the 2007 world team gold medal. “My routine wasn’t as perfect as I’d like it to be, but this medal wrapped up my Worlds for me, and I am very pleased with my performance today.”

Bross also competed in an event final today, successfully performing her floor routine that included a two-and-a-half punch Barani dismount. She earned a 14.125. Britain’s Beth Tweddle took the title with a 14.650.

“I probably could have done a little bit better on the landing on my last pass, but I am happy with how I did today,” said Bross, who competed in two event finals. “I am very proud of how I did at my first World Championships. I did the best that I could and I am very happy with how all of it went.”

Both 2008 Olympic silver-medalist Jonathan Horton of Houston and Danell Leyva of Miami competed in the horizontal bar final. Leyva just missed the medal stand, finishing in fourth place with a 15.600 and a routine that thrilled the crowd with a series of release moves, a jam hop, and a laid-out double-double dismount. Horton attempted a ramped up version of his Olympic high bar routine but missed a Kolman halfway through and shorted the laid-out triple double dismount to score a 13.250. China’s Zou Kai won the event with a 16.150.

“My nerves were really, really high today,” said Leyva. “This is my first world championships, and I was really excited. I controlled myself before I competed, and it obviously paid off. I had a great time here and I enjoyed myself a lot.”

Horton, who is the reigning U.S. all-around champion, said, “You learn something from every single competition. A rough meet this year is going to raise me to the next level of where I need to be, providing the motivation to train even harder and be more prepared next time. What happened here is a combination of how much I trained and how much preparation I’ve had. I always expect the best but sometimes this happens.”

While the men did not earn any medals, this is the first World Championships in a long time where four men advanced to the finals.

“It’s kind of a bittersweet, mixed bag of feelings,” said Ron Brant, the men’s national team coordinator who will join the U.S. Olympic Committee staff in the near future. “We are very close. If you look at 2005, we had one guy in the finals and didn’t medal to start that quad. This time we begin the quad with four guys in the finals, and three of them are at their first Worlds. Obviously we wanted to see a medal or two come through, but if you are not in the finals, you don’t have a chance of making a run at it. The depth of the program has increased, and we need to use this as our motivation, like we did last time. I give Jon (Horton) credit for getting out on the floor and being with us. He’s been a great leader for the team, and it was not easy to try and be ready in a couple of months.”

2009 World Championships
London, Great Britain
Oct. 18, 2009
Individual event finals

Men’s events

1. Marian Dragulescu, Romania, 16.575
2. Flavius Koczi, Romania, 16.337
3. Anton Golotsutskov, Russia, 16.287

Parallel bars
1. Wang Guanyin, China, 15.975
2. Feng Zhe, China, 15.775
3. Kazuhito Tanaka, Japan, 15.500

Horizontal bar
1. Zou Kai, China, 16.150
2. Epke Zonderland, Netherlands, 15.825
3. Igor Cassina, Italy, 15.625
U.S. finishes
4. Danell Leyva of Miami/Universal Gymnastics, 15.600
8. Jonathan Horton, Houston/Cypress Gymnastics, 13.250

Women’s events

Balance beam
1. Deng Linlin, China, 15.000
2. Lauren Mitchell, Australia, 14.875
3. Ivana Hong, Allen, Texas/WOGA, 14.550

Floor exercise
1. Beth Tweddle, Great Britain, 14.650
2. Lauren Mitchell, Australia, 14.550
3. Sui Lu, China, 14.300
U.S. finish
5. Rebecca Bross, Plano, Texas/WOGA (tied with Ana Porgras, Romania), 14.125