Status: 10/24/2021 3:11 p.m.
When Pauline Schäfer-Betz had safely landed her exit, she threw up both arms, threw her head back and clenched her fists.
At that moment, the 24-year-old from Chemnitz could not have known that she would win silver at the gymnastics world championships in Japan and thus her third world championship medal on the balance beam.
Gymnastics World Championships in Japan: The summary of the finals on the balance beam
October 24, 2021 3:52 pm
“I have no words for this.”
But after a clean presentation and 13.80 points, the German, who started fourth in the field of nine, had a good chance of another podium after winning the title in 2017 in Montréal and bronze at the 2015 World Cup in Glasgow.
A little later, on Sunday (October 24th, 2021), the native Saarlander dropped a lot of pressure. “I’m super happy and proud,” commented Schäfer-Betz happily on her second place in the virtual mixed zone of the “General Gymnasium” in Kitakyushu in Japan. “I have no words for this.”
“I’ve got my set of medals full”
The Japanese Urara Ashikawa alone achieved a higher value with 14.10 points on the ten centimeter narrow bar. The team mate of the new world champion, Mai Murakami, finished third with 13.733 points and later secured gold on the floor. The leaders after the preliminary fight, Luo Rui from China and all-around world champion Angelina Melnikova from Russia, did not do their exercises without a fall.
“I have my set of medals full, but the value of this medal is a little higher than that of the others,” said Schäfer-Betz. The past year was a “challenge”.
In November 2020, the athlete made public allegations against her long-time trainer Gabriele Frehse. There was talk of psychological violence and drug abuse. The athlete emphasized that she was still exposed to hostility. “During the weeks and months of preparation, I tried to hide it all and concentrate on myself. I think the result speaks for itself,” she reported.
Gabriele Frehse had denied the allegations several times. The Labor Court in Chemnitz ruled that the extraordinary termination by the Olympiastützpunkt Chemnitz is ineffective and the 61-year-old must continue to be employed. In the opinion of the court, there were insufficient reasons for the termination.
“Briefly a little pulse”
Schäfer-Betz, who was the only German gymnast to return to Japan just two months after the Olympic Games in Tokyo, also had to show strong nerves in the decision. Before she could start her freestyle, there was a longer break due to an objection by the Chinese against Luo’s ranking, and she got off the podium again. At the beginning she struggled, “I had a little pulse for a moment,” said the high school graduate, “even more than before.”
After her exercise, in which, as in her third place in the preliminary fight, she only achieved 5.4 points in difficulty despite other plans, but showed the best execution in the field with 8.4, she had to tremble and wait for five more gymnasts. Schäfer-Betz is now aiming for the European Championships in Munich and the World Cup in Liverpool in 2022.