THE BEST OF 2009: Beth Tweddle
BETH Tweddle's dreams of a second World Championship gold looked to have flown away into the vast roof of the O2 Arena as she came crashing down, legs akimbo in the qualifying session for the uneven bars.
CHAMPION: Beth Tweddle celebrates winning her second world title - this time with a flawless floor exercise in London (Getty Images)
Shockwaves reverberated around the former Millennium Dome as it dawned on the crowd there was to be no way back for their home favourite to qualify for the final.
The Liverpudlian was one of the gold medal contenders in the competition back in October, three years after collecting her first world title in the event in Aarhus.
But it was in the floor final where the veteran gymnast, at the ripe old age of 24, surprised herself to the delight of the 10,000-strong crowd, who had paid a small fortune for tickets, with a faultless performance to claim gold.
More surprising perhaps, was the fact her success was all put down to indulging in a spot of retail therapy with her coach Amanda Kirby to recover from the disaster on the bars earlier in the week.
This was obviously the key factor missing in her previous two World Championship floor finals where she had failed to medal.
Or maybe it was the words of encouragement from team-mates Louis Smith and Dan Keatings, who won silver in the all-round competition, which really did the trick.
Following golds on the floor and bars at the European Championships in Milan and the World Cup in Glasgow, the World Championships topped a great year for the woman who is now Britain's most successful ever gymnast.
Tweddle's success earned her another place in the final of BBC's Sports Personality of the Year (she was third three years ago).
Despite being overlooked by the voting public, most of who were watching the X-Factor, she still had to don her sparkly leotard and perform in amongst the crowd of her sporting peers.
It's doubtful whether winner Ryan Giggs would have responded so willingly to a request for keepie-uppies across the Sheffield Arena.
But she will not be adding any Commonwealth medals to her collection next year after British Gymnastics made the decision earlier this month to pull all of its top competitors out of Delhi 2010.
Fears of contracting ‘Delhi Belly' seem to be too great a risk to Tweddle and co if they are to repeat their success at the Worlds later that October.
Despite playing her cards close to her sequined chest, Tweddle has hinted she is more than likely to be back at the O2 in three years' time, gunning for glory at London 2012 - but only if her body allows it.
Following some perfectly rehearsed answers even the American gymnasts would have been proud of, she tellingly let slip her desire to perform in front of her home crowd again.
"It's great we have so many talented youngsters coming through but they can't have 2012, because that's my spot," she said.
This year Tweddle underlined she is a proven medal winner with perfect poise and grace. We should all be hoping her body holds out on her long enough for another show-stopping performance at the O2 in 2012.
Read more 2009 memories from the Sportsbeat reporters who witnessed them: