Russian gymnast expertly survives hair malfunction during floor routine at world championships

Ryan Young
Yahoo Sports Contributor
Even with her hair coming loose in the middle of her routine, Russian Angelina Melnikova still posted the third best score of the day in Germany. (Marijan Murat/Getty Images)

Russian Angelina Melnikova was in the middle of her qualifying floor routine on Saturday when the unthinkable happened: Her hair came loose.

Melnikova started out her routine at the world championships in Stuttgart, Germany, with her hair up in a bun, like most gymnasts do. Yet after a tumbling pass early in her routine, her hair popped out of the bun — and could be seen repeatedly hitting her in the face and swirling around her head throughout the rest of her routine.

“Actually, when I was coming up to floor, I checked my bun and thought about whether I should re-do it, but I decided not to,” Melnikova said. “On the second pass, it came undone, and the rest of the floor routine I was just thinking about my hair, that it didn't get in my eye or anything because I know how much it can bother you.”

Somehow, it didn’t bother her one bit.

Melnikova still posted the top qualifying score at the time, receiving a 14.1 from the judges.

Her score, though, didn’t hold. American Sunisa Lee later posted a 14.2, and then Simone Biles came through and grabbed a dominant lead with a 14.833, sending Melnikova to third.

Still, surviving the routine after what could have been an extremely distracting hair malfunction is impressive nonetheless.

“Of course, if it was in training, I would have stopped and changed it,” Melnikova said, “But here I couldn't stop, so I was just thinking about it. I hoped it wouldn't get in my eye.”

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