9,000 spectators in the Munich Olympic Hall were completely enthusiastic: Elisabeth Seitz as European champion on the uneven bars and Emma Malewski with gold on the balance beam ensured the crowning glory at the home European Championships after winning the bronze medal in the team. The German record champion Seitz from Stuttgart won her first international gymnastics title on Sunday after numerous unsuccessful attempts with 14.433 points. Then the 18-year-old Malewski from Chemnitz created a big surprise with 13.466 points and victory in her first European Championship singles final.

With the medals around their necks, the two new European champions announced a party evening. “When you think about bed and going to sleep, it’s a pleasant feeling. But I think my body has to go through it today, because you can’t leave the gold medal today and the bronze medal yesterday without partying,” said 26-year-old Seitz. “Pauline (Schäfer-Betz) and Sarah (Voss) whispered in my ear that I deserved it and that they are very proud of me and that we will definitely celebrate today,” said Malewski.

Under the guidance of national coach Gerben Wiersma, who only took office in mid-February, the women achieved the best EM record for the German Gymnastics Federation (DTB) in decades. “I joked that I should stop now because it’s not getting any better,” said the Dutchman with a laugh, adding: “But seriously, that’s unexpected. I have to commend the coaches and the athletes for a job well done. We should cherish and accept this moment and be happy with it.”

Elisabeth Seitz kept looking at her medal in disbelief and would not let go of it. “Now I stand here and look at the medal all the time. It really happened. I’m European champion,” said the 26-year-old. Often enough she missed out on the success she had hoped for at major events.

With the tailwind of team bronze the day before, the first European Championship team medal ever for a German women’s squad, Seitz and Malewski gymnastics through their finals as if liberated. “The team medal definitely gave me wings. It was just as inspiring that the whole team was still together the whole time and that not everyone did their thing after this success, but on the contrary: we did everything together as if it had been a team final again today. That’s how it felt,” said Seitz.

Away from the limelight, the tears of joy had briefly given way to those of melancholy among the German gymnasts the day before. The happiness and pride about bronze was offset by the pain of parting that Kim Bui’s career end triggered. “I don’t even want to think about what it’s like without Kimi,” said her best friend Elisabeth Seitz, who spontaneously burst into tears and hugged her.

Kim Bui, 33, also used a handkerchief to dry the tears that were rolling down her cheeks. During the competition, she was still holding back her feelings when the announcer announced her final floor routine. Together with Seitz, Malewski and Schäfer-Betz (Chemnitz) as well as Voss (Cologne), Bui ensured the medal novelty.

“It’s one of the nicest feelings to know right now that we’ve achieved this together as such a great team. We carried ourselves through this competition together,” said Bui. With 158.430 points in the four-way battle, the DTB squad was only beaten by Italy (165.163) and Great Britain (161.164). In the apparatus finals on Sunday, Kim Bui finished fifth on the uneven bars with her last exercise before retirement, as did Schäfer-Betz on the balance beam.

From the DTB quintet, only Sarah Voss missed a singles final. The woman from Cologne, handicapped by an injury in her right calf, shone in the all-around team competition. On the last apparatus, the vault, she was the last to compete and knew that the medal depended on her score. In contrast to the qualification, she dared a more difficult jump. When she then repaired it perfectly, luck was perfect.

The German all-around champion screamed her joy on the podium. “I think you saw it, I felt everything at once: it was relief, it was joy, it was excitement, it was everything. From the first step to landing, I felt like my team was yelling at me, floating me over the table. It was such a special moment, it was all the feelings you can have,” said Voss.