MONTREAL, Quebec, Canada, Oct. 8, 2017 – To most athletes, missing out on a first World Championships individual medal after putting all your focus into winning one would be crushing.
Alex Naddour doesn’t see it that way.
The pommel horse specialist missed out on the podium in the pommel horse after finishing fourth to Olympic champion Max Whitlock of Great Britain.
Naddour has won team medals before but had been very transparent in warning World foes he wanted an individual victory in Montreal after dominating the P&G Championships back home.
Disappointment must have been coursing through his veins following the result.
“Not really. No, not at all,” Naddour said. “I’m not upset. I did what I could and it didn’t happen and that’s alright.
“This is my fourth final. Any one of those guys can medal basically – it just depends on who is on that day and today I wasn’t fully on my game so I didn’t end up with a medal. A hit set is a hit set and I’m happy with it.”
Naddour had to sit through all seven opponents after scoring 14.750 on a routine where he opened with scissor to handstand before moving smoothly into a full Kehr, finishing with a clean handstand dismount.
The 26-year-old Arizona-native watched as Russia’s David Belyavskiy (15.100) and China’s Xiao Ruoteng (15.066) surpassed him before Whitlock sewed up his second-straight Worlds gold with a 15.441 to seal his fate.
“I would have loved to go later but it didn’t make that much of a difference,” said Naddour, who couldn’t secure the first U.S. medal on the event since 2006. “I wanted to go out and hit that routine a little better and hit about a 15.100 or 15.200, but it didn’t happen.”
Naddour, the Olympic bronze medalist, has won a pair of Worlds bronze in the team competition but has been shut off the podium in the individual.
“I went out and I did the best routine I could,” he said. “I did a lower start value and a clean set and it was still fourth best in the world and that’s pretty good for a not good routine for me.”
Now comes a greater question for Naddour: continue as a specialist or look at developing his all-around game for next year’s team Worlds?
“For me to do more events and help the team, I need to train more days and to do that I need to stop working,” Naddour said. “If it makes sense for my family, I will continue on and if it doesn’t, I’ll look at that specialist possibility.”
Whitlock would be disappointed if he didn’t see Naddour out on the pommel horse.
“It would be a blow. Every competition you want your best to be there,” the British champion said.
Naddour saw encouraging signs for the team going into Doha next year after Yul Moldauer came away with a bronze in the floor exercise for the men’s lone podium finish. Sam Mikulak, Donnell Whittenburg, Marvin Kimble and Eddie Panev all failed to challenge for medals, with Whittenburg the only other athlete to reach a final (6th, floor).
“We did better than we planned on doing. We came in here with a young team wondering what we could do and we had quite a few finals. Our hit percentage – we were hitting routines throughout and that is really good.”