Worlds Preview: Men's All-Around
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The shock injury to Japan's Kohei Uchimura during Monday's qualification at the world championships left a major void in the men's all-around final. For the first time in nine years, the men's all-around won't be the story of Uchimura vs. the world, but new history will be made regardless of who wins.

The thrilling showdown last summer in Rio between Uchimura and Oleg Vernyayev (Ukraine) was one of the greatest all-around finals in Olympic history, with Uchimura coming from behind to snatch the title by just .099. But tonight's all-around final should be just as exciting as ever, with Vernyayev, 2016 Olympic all-around silver medalist, and Cuba's Manrique Larduet, 2015 world all-around silver medalist, the obvious favorites. Larduet was the top qualifier in Montreal, but with no scores carrying over, everything begins from zero.

Based on projected Difficulty scores, Vernyayev has the advantage. But he has struggled to handle the difficulty, and his already legendary career features as many misses as victories. He's won back-to-back European all-around titles, but has yet to win a world all-around medal. He was just fifth in qualification after problems on floor exercise, but if he manages to take the title tonight, he will be the first world all-around champion for Ukraine since Lilia Popdkopayeva won in 1995. Vernyayev would also be the first male world champion for independent Ukraine, following in the footsteps of his compatriots Grigory Misyutin (1991), Igor Korobchinsky (1989), Boris Shakhlin (1958) and Viktor Chukarin (1954), who competed under the Soviet flag.

Larduet's silver at the 2015 Worlds made history for Cuban gymnastics. An injury forced him to withdraw from the all-around in Rio, and his performance in qualification shows he is ready to redeem himself. No gymnast has ever won a world championship gold medal for Cuba, and the world all-around title would also be a first for a gymnast from Latin America.

China's Xiao Ruoteng qualified second and had the best Execution scores of the group. (Armenia's Artur Davtyan, 15th, outscored the field in qualification based on Execution.) If he or teammate Lin Chaopan (sixth in qualification) take the title, it would keep the men's world title in Asia for a 13th consecutive year, going back to Hiroyuki Tomita in 2005, Yang Wei's streak from 2006 to 2008, and then Uchimura's dominance from 2009 to 2016.

Two-time Olympian David Belyavsky (Russia) had a great qualification meet, qualifying to three finals. He's been continually frustrated in the all-around competition, finishing fifth in London and Rio, and out of the medals in every world final (6th in 2011, 12th in 2013, 5th in 2014 and 11th in 2015). Teammate Nikita Nagornyy beat him at the Russian Cup in August, but had a dismal performance in qualification, finishing 11th. If he pulls it together tonight, six hit routines could put him on the podium.

Japan's Kenzo Shirai, known as a floor and vault specialist since his world debut in 2013, has made huge improvements in the all-around, and finished second to Uchimura at this year's NHK Trophy. If he hadn't fallen off high bar in qualification, he probably would have qualified first (he finished 1.002 out of first), and he can outscore everyone on not just floor but vault as well.

The men's field is so deep that any of the top 12 in qualification could take a medal. Head to IG's Facebook page for live commentary from the Olympic Stadium!

2017 Worlds: Qualification Difficulty and Execution

5.Oleg Vernyayev6. (13)
1.Manrique Larduet6. (6)
3.David Belyavsky5. (3)
6.Lin Chaopan6. (12)
4.Kenzo Shirai7. (8)
2.Xiao Ruoteng5. (2)
11.Nikita Nagornyy6. (17)
12.Jossimar Calvo5. (16)
14.Caio Souza5. (18)
9.Pablo Brägger5. (9)
7.Yul Moldauer5. (5)
8.Nile Wilson5. (4)
17.Philipp Herder5. (22)
19.Eddy Yusof5. (23)
10.Ahmet Önder6. (7)
13.Ferhat Arıcan5. (10)
16.Marios Georgiou5. (15)
18.Kevin Cerda5. (20)
23.Zachary Clay5. (21)
24.Joel Plata5. (24)
22.Bae Garam5. (19)
15.Artur Davtyan4. (1)
21.Robert Tvorogal5. (14)
20.Tomas Kuzmickas5. (11)


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