Igor Radivilov became second in the vault final, losing to Kenzo Shirai just by 0.001. He doesn’t yet have a World or Olympic vault gold, but after the not-so-successful Olympics in Rio which he left without medals, this year has been going great for Radivilov. He won bronze on rings at Euros, silver in the team final at the Universiade and now silver at Worlds.
Radivilov gave an interview to Sport-Express in which he talked about Worlds and his plans for the near future:
Q: The Ukrainian team competed in one of the first qualification rounds and your placement on both rings and vaults could easily go lower. Were you worried about not making the final?
A: I was 100% sure about making the vault final because I did my vault pretty well in qualification and my score should have been enough to make it into the first 8. But one of my most long cherished desires was to get into the rings final at Worlds, and that was not a given. But then someone made a mistake and only before the last qualification group it became clear that I won’t be edged out of the first 8. Regarding my performance on rings in the final, I made certain conclusions for myself. I now know my mistakes and realize what needs more work. Generally, I’m pleased with these Worlds because I won a medal. This is a big success for me. One-thousandth or one-millionth – this is all matter of chance. That means I don’t deserve to be first just yet. We’ll continue working.
Q: When your result appeared on the screen and you lost to the Japanese gymnast by one-thousandth, there was a wry smile on your face, what did it mean?
A: It’s just becoming ridiculous what they’re [the judges] doing. Although, really, at that moment, I didn’t care. The important thing was that I earned a medal already. Then people start coming to me, upping the tension: “What happened? By one-thousandth?! But you vaulted better!” You watch the video and think – maybe I indeed was supposed to be in the first place? But nothing can be done already, we can’t vote for World champions via text messages. I’ll repeat it – I’m happy! I have a Worlds medal and before that, I got one at Euros. This season went well for me!
Q: You were competing 6th in the vault final. Were you watching your competitors or tried to ignore everything?
A: I was in the warm-up gym, I only looked at my competitors from time to time. But, honestly, I was very calm that day. I just knew I’d do it and that’s it. I wasn’t even nervous.
Q: How would you be able to get a higher score: by performing the Dragulesku cleaner or by not taking a step on the landing on your Tsukahara vault? Or the problem wasn’t you and there’d still be this one-thousandth difference?
A: Maybe there would be, it’s hard to say now. Yes, I could’ve done the second vault a bit better. But you’d need to look at the deductions, the vault composition, the difficulty (mine was higher), you’d have to take all that into account. I’m not blaming anyone. Whatever happened happened. It means that I needed to execute my vaults better.
Q: When did you learn that the two champions from the last Olympic Games – Ri Se Gwang (Rio 2016) and Yang Hak Seon (London 2012) won’t be in the final?
A: The competition on vault is so high that anyone from the top 8 or even the top 15 could’ve fought for the medals. Everyone’s very strong right now and at about the same level. I was actually more worried about the reserve athlete [Artur Dalaloyan] who replaced Yang Hak Seon in the final. The South Korean came to the Worlds injured and ended up having to scratch. He could’ve competed not so well in the final, while the younger guys are all striving to win. It might actually be harder to compete with them. It doesn’t matter who you were three years ago. Today you’re a World champion and tomorrow some 17-year-old guy will do better than you. That’s why it’s necessary to keep working, upgrading, and adding.
Q: Don’t you think that the difficulty level on vault was lower at these Worlds compared to the last quad and not just because the two Koreans weren’t there?
A: You know, every competition is different. Sometimes you go to a competition – and everyone hist their vaults. And sometimes you see – one fell, another fell but you went and hit – and here’s your medal. There’s no reason to chase the difficulty. I could’ve added a new, more difficult vault. But I have to be rational. I could’ve added it and I’d fall and would be the last, who needs that? Vault is the kind of an apparatus that no matter how hard you work, it’s always a 50/50 hit chance. But there results is always that the one who won [on that day] is the best.