final. Berki knew that too, which is why he accept-
ed his victory for what it was. “I had no expecta-
tions, as all eight gymnasts in the final are so good,”
he said. “So I’m very happy that today I’m world
champion, even though it’s no guarantee for any
Smith had hoped for a different result. “When I
hit my routine today, I was praying to go into first
place, but still I’m happy with the silver,” he said.
Ayear ago 2008 Olympic rings champ Chen Yibing opened the door for teammate Yan
Mingyong to take the world title on rings. Chen had
caught his leg on the rings cable during his dismount in prelims and finished 11th.
Winner of the worlds in 2006 and ’07, Chen
regained his throne in Rotterdam, posting a leading
15.966 in prelims and a winning 15.900 in the
final. In each, Yan was a distant second, scoring
15.700 twice while matching Chen’s 6. 8 D-score.
Both 25-year-olds are rings masters, but Chen,
born in Tianjin, was steadier, cleaner and opened
his layout full-out dismount. The thinner Yan
opened with a back roll to Maltese, planche, lower
to lever, bounce to Maltese, but he picked up swing
later on and that was enough to keep him second.
“I feel like this medal belongs to me, I worked so
hard for it,” Chen said. “I got injured last year and
… only had a few moments of doubt if I could come
back, but they passed quickly.”
Third went to Matteo Morandi, 29, who also
won bronze in 2003 and ’05. Perhaps the differ-
ence between him and third-seed Koji Yamamuro
was their layout full-out dismounts. Morandi stuck,
Yamamuro didn’t. “It’s been five years since I won
a medal, so this is great,” Morandi said. “In those
years they changed the rules a lot, so I had to work
on changing my routine. I’ve mostly worked on the
precision … rather than adding new elements.”
WITH Dragulescu out, and Ri Se Gwang (the phenom with two 7.2 vaults) eliminated via
the two-year ban to North Korea for falsifying
Hong Su Jong’s birth dates, vault medals came at a
big discount. The usual challengers didn’t mind.