Russians Replace Ignatyev with Stretovich
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Ivan Stretovich has been called to replace Nikita Ignatyev on Russia's men's Olympic gymnastics team, it was announced Tuesday.

Ivan Stretovich has been called to replace team member Nikita Ignatyev on Russia's men's Olympic gymnastics team, it was announced Tuesday.

Stretovich, who traveled to Rio de Janeiro as team alternate, had been performing better in training, coach Valentina Rodionenko said. Both gymnasts are needed on pommel horse, parallel bars and high bar.

"We made a decision to put Ivan Stretovich on the team over Nikita Ignatyev," Rodionenko said. "They do the same three events, but Stretovich is at a higher level of performance, which was seen in training. The official replacement has already been filed."

According to Stretovich, the coaching staff arranged a mock meet in training with Ignatyev and Stretovich going head to head. Stretovich outperformed him and was chosen to compete instead.

Stretovich, 19, was a member of Russia's fourth-place team at the 2015 World Championships in Glasgow and fifth-place team at the 2014 Worlds in Nanning. Known for his classically elegant lines and form, the Siberian won parallel bars and high bar at the Russian Cup in July.

Ignatyev, 24, was an alternate to Russia's team at the 2012 Olympic Games, and competed at the world championships in 2011, 2014 and 2015. He was a member of Russia's first-place team at the 2014 and 2016 European Championships, and was third all-around at the 2015 European Games. He also contributes to the team on still rings, qualifying to the final at the 2014 Worlds. Like Stretovich, he hails from Novosibirsk. Despite his disappointment, he said on Tuesday that he plans to take a break after Rio, and then continue training "with renewed vigor."

Gymnastics competition begins Saturday in Rio de Janeiro with the men's qualification.

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