They call him the “Flying Dutchman.” Again, everybody saw why on Sunday night.
The Netherlands’ Epke Zonderland won his third straight global championship on high bar with the most exciting routine of the World Gymnastics Championships in its final event.
“My own routine was so flawless,” he said. “I don’t know if it could have been any better at this stage.”
Zonderland wowed the Nanning, China, crowd with release moves before nearly sticking his landing. His difficulty score (7.7) was the highest of any routine in any event, men’s or women’s. As was his total score — 16.225.
Zonderland improved on his 2013 World Championships-winning score of 16. He scored 16.533 to win the London Olympics (video here).
Here’s his routine from the 2013 World Championships:
High Bar Gold: Epke Zonderland (NED) — 16.225 — 2012 Olympic champion; 2013 World champion; 2009, 2010 World silver medalist
Silver: Kohei Uchimura (JPN) — 15.725 — 2011, 2013 World bronze medalist
Bronze: Marijo Moznik (CRO) — 15
4. Nile Wilson (GBR) — 14.766
5. David Belyavskiy (RUS) — 14.733
6. Nikolai Kuksenkov (RUS) — 14.533
7. Zhang Chenglong (CHN) — 14.366 — 2010 World champion; 2011 World silver medalist
8. Jossimar Calvo Moreno (COL) — 13.3
Those lines came from Shiffrin’s father, Jeff — the mantra instilled in her and older brother Taylor, also a young ski racer at the time.
After Jeff died on Feb. 2, Shiffrin regularly remembered the question that Jeff posed years ago: “What are the golden rules?”
Be nice. Think first.
When the Shiffrin siblings were old enough, Jeff added the third rule.
“He felt like we could understand that having fun wasn’t just about going and doing whatever you want because it’s instantly gratifying,” Shiffrin told NBC Sports’ Alex Azzi in an On Her Turf interview. “Fun is doing something well and the satisfaction you get from sticking to something.”
She plans to race all season with the golden rules sticker on her helmet, right next to ABFTTB.
Shiffrin detailed more about her prep for a very different World Cup campaign, in conjunction with a new fund in honor of her late father, in this On Her Turf report.