GLASGOW • China grabbed their first gold at the world gymnastics championships on the penultimate day of competition as Fan Yilin shared an unprecedented four-way tie on the uneven bars.
The 16-year-old from Beijing claimed her first major title.
However, she had to share the glory with three other gymnasts - American Madison Kocian as well as Russian duo Viktoria Komova and Daria Spiridonova.
It made me laugh to see four gymnasts with the same score but I'm happy for all of the other gold medallists.
All scored 15.366 points to the amazement of the spectators at the Hydro Arena.
According to the International Gymnastics Federation, it is the first four-way tie for gold in world championships or Olympic history. But five shared parallel bars silver back in 1922.
"I was nervous when I was waiting for their scores," admitted Fan, who was the first of the four to showcase her acrobatic routine between the bars, and had a tense although amusing wait for the scores.
She was followed by 2011 champion Komova, who had fallen off her signature apparatus during the women's team final in which Russia finished fourth.
This time, the 20-year-old made no mistake dismounting cleanly as intended - only to see she had earned the same score as Fan.
TOO CLOSE TO CALL
I am personally shocked. It's the first time judges were having such hard time deciding on the champion on bars.
Both then stood side by side watching expectantly as next Kocian and then Spiridonova performed, only to see the same mark appear on the scoreboard to gasps of disbelief and laughter.
"I am personally shocked," said Komova. "It's the first time judges were having such hard time deciding on the champion on bars."
The scores are divided into difficulty and execution.
Fan's performance was the most difficult while Kocian and Komova scored highest for execution.
However, when the scores were added together, they all came to the same mark.
"It made me laugh to see four gymnasts with the same score but I'm happy for all of the other gold medallists," said Fan, who also got a silver with China in the team event.
No silver or bronze was awarded with America's Gabrielle Douglas, team gold and all-around silver medallist, finishing next best with 15.133 in the eight-woman field.
All four hugged and kissed each other and the flags of the three countries were marched out onto the presentation stage.
And for the first time in the 112-year history of the championships, the Chinese, Russian and American national anthems were duly played one after the other.
"It's definitely crazy," said Kocian, 18, of her third world gold after retaining the team title with the United States.
"I wasn't sure if they were going to do a tie-breaker but I knew that my execution would be a little better based on qualifications so I knew, either way, I was going to have a medal."
For Fan, the gold broke China's title drought in Glasgow after their men, the reigning six-time champions, lost their team title to Japan.
Defending rings champion Liu Yang had to settle for bronze on the apparatus on Saturday, with team-mate You Hao taking silver behind Greece's Eleftherios Petrounias.