Rising star Son Yeon-Jae (KOR) won bronze in the individual hoop event, becoming the 1st Asian competitor to win an individual medal in Worlds history. (Note: North Korea, Japan, and China had all previously won medals in the Group event). Then, Israel won a silver medal in the Group club event, marking its first ever Worlds medal in any women's gymnastics event. The gold in that event went to Spain, marking the only non-Eastern European gold medalist throughout the tournament's 9 events.
Those glimpses of diversity came at a tournament in which Russia very well could have - and maybe should have - swept all possible medals, until the clubs event in the Group competition. A rare mistake there dropped them not only out of the clubs final, but out of the Group All-Around podium as well. That is a big shock for the nation that's won a Group All-Around medal the last ten times, including 5 straight golds starting in 2009. Their mistake there opened the door for Bulgaria to return to gold in the event for the 1st time since 1996.
As expected, Yana Kudryatseva provided the star-power to lead Team Russia. In winning the All-Around title, she became the youngest-ever to repeat as All-Around champion, and that after winning 4 gold and one silver in the team and individual apparatus events. Impressive hardware to go along with her 5 medals from the 2013 tournament. She led Russia to a complete sweep of their possible medals up until that Group competition, with the Team gold, gold in all individual events (including a double gold in the ball apparatus) and all individual silvers available to top the overall medal table with 12.
Having Korea and Israel make 1st-ever podium appearances, along with Spain and Italy (silver in the Group All-Around) to break up the Eastern Europe monopoly is certainly a welcome breath of fresh air in the sport. Hopefully, those competitors can continue to grow and inspire Asian and Western nations to continue fighting for a place. But in the meantime, Russia is far and away leading the charge of rhythmic, and in competition where reputation and subjectivity often gives one a strong start, is still the team to beat after their performance in Izmir. Let's see what happens over the next couple of years to Rio.