Bill May and Christina Jones (USA) won the first mixed duet gold in history

Kazan 2015 - SY

The dreams of male synchronised swimmers came true as mixed duet made its first appearance at the FINA World Championships in Kazan.

Bill May and Christina Jones (USA) were the favourites of the first technical routine before the start.
May is 36 years old. He is the most experienced and the most famous male synchronised swimmer in the world. He is actually the pioneer of this discipline. Back in 1998 Bill took part in his first international competition – the Goodwill Games, where him and his partner Kristina Lum competed with “ordinary” duets and lost only to Russia’s Maria Kiseleva and Olga Brusnikina.

Ten years ago May left sport for the Cirque du Soleil show but got back to synchronised swimming with one goal in mind, to grab the first world gold medal. And he did it!

Although May and Jones had very strong rivals from team Russia. Alexandr Maltsev and Darina Valitova with their dramatic war theme managed to win the preliminary round with 2 points advantage over the American mixed duet. But the foot tapping and sexy programme of Bill May and Christina Jones impressed the judges in the final more than in the qualification. Nevertheless their dominance was not overwhelming - 88,5108 against 88,2986.
The bronze medal went to Manila Flamini and Giorgio Minisini from Italy (86,3640).


Christina Jones and Bill May ©Giorgio Scala for Deepbluemedia

Quotes

Gold medallist Bill May (USA): “It’s unreal, a dream come true! I never thought this would happen because I retired from synchro ten years ago. So being able to do this has been a long time in the making. The sport is finally recognising men and it feels great. I have been stubborn and it has paid off. Allowing men to the programme will add athleticism to the sport and today truly showcased that men have their place in synchro swimming.”

Gold medallist Christina Jones (USA): “Kristina Lum-Underwood and Bill May are the real pioneers of the sport. They have shown the world that duet can be mixed at the World Championships. And here we are twenty years later, it’s a great honour.” 
Silver medalist Alexandr Maltsev (RUS): “We were underscored, and all others were clearly overscored. That's bitter, we are upset. 0,22 points of deficit from the first place - this is such a bit. If just one judge would have underscored us significantly, this could have affected the result of the whole competition”.

(on Olympic challenge of mixed duets): “Mixed duet combines men’s power and women’s grace and beauty. I would love to take part in the Olympic Games. I think there are all reasons to include this new discipline in the Olympic programme”.
Silver Medalist Darina Valitova (RUS): “Of course, it is disappointing that we only have placed second. We performed the programme much better today than in the preliminary attempts, but we were placed in the second line. Anyway it is nice to know that mixed events are finally included into the programme of the World Championships.”

Bronze medallist Giorgio Minisini (ITA): “At this point we couldn’t have pretended more than what we did simply because the others have such a high level. We have work for what we got, to be on the podium. We feel it is already an amazing result.
Mixed duet is already so popular within the younger generation in Italy and we’re very excited for this evolution.”