Mixed Pairs Finals
LAKE BUENA VISTA (USA), FIG Office, April 18, 2012: To the delight of the many Belgian fans who decked themselves out in team colors and applauded wildly throughout the competition, Laure de Pryck and Nicolas Vleeshouwers delivered a gold medal in the mixed pairs final, living up to the reputation for drama and elegance the duo earned throughout the competition.
Though the duo only recently moved to the senior level, they are no stranger to big titles, having won gold at the Junior European Acrobatics Championships earlier this year. For their first World Championships, de Pryck and Vleeshouwers said they didn't know what to expect, but it wasn't to have the amount of success they did.
De Pryck and Vleeshouwers earned the highest total during the qualification round, though their combined exercise score was below that of defending World silver medalists Tatiana Okulova and Revaz Gurgenidze of Russia in the preliminary round.
In the final, however, the dramatic Italian opera performance of the Belgian pair outscored the equally drama-infused electric violin performance of the more experienced Russians. Though the Okulova and Gurgenidze earned higher marks for execution (9.250 vs. 9.150 for the Belgians) and difficulty (10.003 to 9.970), de Pryck and Gurgenidze won the judges over with their artistry, which earned a whopping 9.400, enough to assure them the gold. Final scores were 28.520 for the Belgians to 28.453 for Russia.
Ukrainian pair Inna Batuyeva and Denys Iasynskyi, who began their competition with a major mistake during their dynamic exercise, danced their way to a bronze medal finish in the final, where all prelim scores were wiped out. Their moving rendition of "El Tango de Roxanne" earned them 28.308 points and carried the highest difficulty score in the final.
In earning bronze, the Ukrainians displaced China's Yunyun Shen and Qi Liu in bronze medal position. Shen and Liu, who tied the Ukrainian duo for the highest difficulty score, fell off slightly in artistry and settled for fourth (28.158). They were followed by duos from Kazakhstan, Portugal, Great Britain and the United States.
De Pryck and Vleeshouwers said they are looking forward to preparing for the World Games in Cali (COL) next year, where they will almost certainly be among the favorites.