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Competition Reports

Written by Admin    Monday, 29 October 2018 06:45    PDF Print
Can The Japanese Men's Team Go Back-To-Back?
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

The Japanese men’s team are the defending World Champions, having won the 2015 Worlds in Glasgow, Scotland.

Years ago they won five consecutive World Championships: 1962 (Prague), ’66 (Dortmund), ’70 (Ljubljana), ’74 (Varna) and ’78 (Strasbourg).

Japan also won five straight Olympic Games: 1960 (Rome), ’64 (Tokyo), ’68 (Mexico City), ’72 (Munich) and ’76 (Montreal). They also won the team title and the 2004 Olympics in Athens. That’s quite a dynasty.

Read the complete coverage of the 2018 World Championships in Doha, Qatar, in the December issue of International Gymnast.

To subscribe to the print and/or digital edition or to order back issues of International Gymnast magazine, click here.

Written by Christian Ivanov    Sunday, 28 October 2018 13:46    PDF Print
Field for Finals Set as Qualification Concludes
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

Top contenders in day two of qualification, Russia and China, posted the highest team scores of the day 165.497 and 165.196 to join the US (174.429 in day one) as the top three qualifiers into the team final.  The Russian team was particularly impressive in their opening rotation on floor, where both Angelina Melnikova and Lilia Akhaimova tumbled full twisting double layouts and double layouts and both qualified to the floor final.

On their second event, vault, Russia however had issues where Angelina Simakova scored a zero for her crashed front handspring Rudi.  Fortunately for them the score didn’t affect the team’s total as countries are allowed to drop one score on each event in their qualification competition.

In addition to the two floor finals, the Russian team qualified Aliya Mustafina to the bars final with the sixth best score - 14.433/5.8.  “I am very happy to be back.  I missed the emotions, the competition, the events, my opponents and all the girls who I know.” Mustafina reflected after the meet.  Hitting four-for-four, Melnikova and Irina Alekseeva qualified to the all-around final with the 5th and 12th best scores.

Despite not performing their absolute best, especially on beam, China was able to qualify Liu Tingting and Zhang Jin to the final there.  Liu Jinru and Luo Huan qualified to vault and bars finals, respectively.  The Chinese presence in the all-around final will be Luo and Chen Yile.

Led by Ellie Black Canada was a pleasant surprise of the day posting the fourth highest team score overall.  In addition, the team earned five individual event finals.  Shallon Olsen (Cheng and Yurchenko double full) qualified with the second highest average on vault and will be joined by Black in the final.  Black and Ann-Marie Padurariu (side aerial to layout-layout) will be present in the beam final.  While Brooklyn Moors will repeat as a floor finalist from last year for her artistic routine which now features a Podkopaeva (double front half twist).  Black and Moors will also repeat as all-around finalists.

Brazil and France both had strong days and made their first team finals in 11 years.  Melanie dos Santos (France) and Flavia Saraiva (Brazil) qualified to all-around and floor finals, while their teammates Lorette Charpy (France) and Jade Barbosa (Brazil) will join them in the all-around final.

Due to four shaky beam performances Great Britain just missed on the team final placing 9th. Beckie Downie’s 6.2 bar routine earned a 14.4, which was just enough to get her in the finial.  She plans to compete her original routine in the final, which is valued at a 6.6 difficulty.

Mexico’s Alexa Moreno made the vault final with two strong vault landings (front handspring Rudi and Tsuk double twist).

Team standings after qualifications (top 8 teams advance to the team final, while the top 24 advance full teams to the 2019 World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany):

1. USA 174.429

2. Russia 165.497

3. China 165.196

4. Canada 163.897

5. Brazil 162.529

6. Japan 162.180

7. France 161.629

8. Germany 161.071

9. Great Britain 160.964

10. Netherlands 159.029

11. Belgium 158.970

12. Italy 156.830

13. Romania 153.763

14. Korea 153.237

15. Australia 153.231

16. North Korea 152.796

17. Hungary 152.395

18. Spain 152.364

19. Mexico 152.197

20. Ukraine 150.329

21. Switzerland 149.865

22. Poland 149.671

23. Argentina 149.603

24. Czech Republic 147.396


All-Around Finalists:

1. Biles - USA - 60.965

2. Hurd - USA - 56.465

3. Murakami - Japan - 55.632

4. Derwael - Belgium - 55.564

5. Melnikova - Russia - 55.465

6. Black - Canada - 54.999

7. Dos Santos - France - 54.798

8. McCusker - USA - 54.765 (will not qualify due to two per country rule)

9. Luo - China - 54.131

10. Saraiva - Brazil - 53.999

11. E. Downie - Great Britain - 53.532

12. Alekseeva - Russia - 53.532

13. Chen - China - 53.499

14. Teramoto - Japan - 53.466

15. Simm - Great Britain - 53.099

16. Hatakeda - Japan - 52.932 (will not qualify due to two per country rule)

17. Visser - Netherlands - 52.832

18. Seitz - Germany - 52.798

19. Golgota - Romania - 52.765

20. Barbosa - Brazil - 52.733

21. Moors - Canada - 52.632

22. Zhang - China - 52.266 (will not qualify due to two per country rule)

23. Mori - Italy - 52.199

24. Kovacs - Hungary - 52.165

25. Charpy - France - 52.165

26. Perez - Spain - 52.132

27. Klinckaert - Belgium - 52.074


Individual event finalists:



1. Biles - USA - 15.666

2. Olsen - Canada - 14.550

3. Yeo - Korea - 14.483

4. Moreno - Mexico - 14.466

5. Chusovitina - Uzbekistan - 14.2

6. Pyon - North Korea - 14.133

7. Black - Canada - 14.124

8. Liu - China - 14.116


Uneven Bars:

1. Derwael - Belgium - 15.066/6.5

2. Biles - USA - 14.866/6.2

3. Seitz - Germany - 14.566/6.2

4. Luo - China - 14.466

5. Hurd - USA - 14.466/6.1

6. Mustafina - Russia - 14.433/5.8

7. Adlerteg - Sweden - 14.433/6.2

8. Beckie Downie - Great Britain - 14.4/6.2


Balance Beam:

1. Biles - USA - 14.8/6.4

2. Eaker - USA - 14.466/6.4

3. Zhang - China - 14.1/6.0

4. Wevers - Netherlands - 14.033/5.4

5. Padurariu - Canada - 13.966/6.1

6. Derwael - Belgium - 13.766/5.2

7. Black- Canada - 13.733/5.5

8. Liu Tingting - China - 13.733/6.0


Floor Exercise:

1. Biles - USA - 15.333/6.7

2. Murakami - Japan - 14.1/5.8

3. Melnikova - Russia - 14.033/5.9

4. Hurd - USA - 13.933/5.5

5. Saraiva - Brazil - 13.9/5.5

6. Dos Santos - France - 13.9/5.6

7. McCallum - USA - 13.8/5.5 (will not qualify due to the two per county rule)

8. Akhaimova - Russia - 13.6/5.7

9. Moors - Canada - 13.5/5.4

To subscribe to the print and/or digital edition or to order back issues of International Gymnast magazine, click here.

Written by Christian Ivanov    Saturday, 27 October 2018 21:52    PDF Print
Biles and the US Dominate Day One of Qualifying
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

Simone Biles and the U.S. team were the highlight of day one in the women’s qualifying. Biles debuted her new vault, a Yurchenko half-on double-twisting front layout off, and scored an imposing 15.966 for it. Her second vault was a sky high Amanar for an average that was more than enough to take the lead in that event’s qualification. The new vault will be called “the Biles” as she is the first person in the world to perform it successfully at an international competition.

Additionally, the three-time world all-around champion posted the top scores on beam and floor, and the second highest mark for the day on bars. Biles’ all-around score tallied at astounding 60.965, which was four points higher then teammate and defending world all-around champion Morgan Hurd, who is currently holding the second-highest total. “I give myself a 7 out of 10,” she reflected after the competition in her usual bubbly attitude. Hurd performed strongly on all four events, and admitted herself that it was the best competition of the year for her. Hurd’s solid performances could land her in the bars and floor finals in addition to the all-around.  Kara Eaker performed a near error-free packed difficult routine on beam for 14.466/6.4, for the second-best mark on the event behind Biles.

After the first six subdivisions, Japan is in second place, over 12 points behind the U.S., but the team looks strong to make the top eight and get into the team final. Mai Murakami performed solidly on all four events and is in third place in the all-around behind Biles and Hurd, and second on floor behind Biles.

Competing in the very first subdivision, Belgium’s Nina Derwael hit her incredible 6.5 bar routine (toe-on layout Tkatchev, Stalder- Tkatchev-half to Yezhova to Stalder Shaposhnikova to full-twisting Pak salto) and leads qualifications there with a 15.066. Derwael’s clean all-around performance ranked her in fourth place currently behind Murakami.

Netherland’s Sanne Wevers hit cleanly her trademark beam set. Despite leaving some difficulty out her 14.033/5.4 should be plenty to put her in the final. Oksana Chusovitina (Uzbekistan) landed her front handspring front-full and a Tsukahara 1½ and is currently in third place for the vault final.

Yeo Seojeong (Korea), daughter of Olympic silver medalist Yeo Hong-chul, performed a good front handspring Rudi and a Yurchenko-double twist, and her average is currently second best on the event, just behind Biles.

Led by Elisabeth Seitz, Germany had a strong day of competition and is currently third in the team standings, just behind Japan.  Seitz has a good chance to make the bars final where she posted 14.566/6.2 for third-best of the day. Sweden’s Jonna Adlerteg, twice-European silver medalist on bars, hit her routine for 14.433, which might be on the border for the final there depending on day two of competition.

Ukraine’s Diana Varinska, all-around and bars finalist from last year's worlds, had a disastrous bar routine and will likely miss the all-around final this year.

To subscribe to the print and/or digital edition or to order back issues of International Gymnast magazine, click here.

Written by dwight normile    Monday, 20 August 2018 07:17    PDF Print
Biles Wins AA And All Four Events At USAs In Boston
(4 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Simone Biles, coached by Laurent and Cecile Landi at World Champions Centre, won her fifth national title at the TD Garden Center in Boston, held from August 16-19. She broke Joan Moore Gnat's record of four national titles (1971-74).

She also won every event. The last time a gymnast won the all-around and all four events was in 1994, when Dominique Dawes accomplished that rare feat.

Her first event was uneven bars, where she performed a Shaposhnikova, counter swing to Tkatchev. She also did a Maloney-half and a clean tucked double-double dismount.

Biles only mistake was a wonky wolf turn on beam, but otherwise she made her incredible gymnastics look easy. The rest of her routine was solid and she almost stuck her tucked full-in.

She mounted floor exercise with double-twisting double layout, but she takes off without twisting and then wraps a quick double twist. Like she did on Friday, she bounced out of bounds on her stag jump following her Biles.

Her last event was vault and she did a roundoff half-on, layout rudi (Cheng) and a 21/2-twisting Yurchenko (Amanar). Both vaults were clean, high and traveled well past the table.

"It feels really special (winning a fifth national title)," said Biles, whose teal leotard was in honor of the survivors. Asked what grade she would give her performance, she said "I'd give it a B-plus." Yikes!

Morgan Hurd (First State Gymnastics) hit all eight routines over the two days, and maintained her second place finish from Friday.

Her vault was a double-twisting Yurchenko with a big hop backward. On bars she performed deep inside-Stalders, a Ricna to Pak salto and a full-twisting double back that was close the bar. On beam she hit her full-twisting back tuck, flip-flop layout layout and performed a roundoff double pike instead of the full-in she's capable of.

”I definitely think my execution could have been a little bit better, basically everywhere,” said Hurd, who is coached by Slava Glazunov, who was Coach of the Year. (Hurd was named Athlete of the Year). “But I’m really happy because I felt like I hit eight for eight.”

Coached by Maggie Haney at MG Elite, Riley McCusker also hit all eight routines, but her highlight was definitely bars. (She lost to Biles by 0.10 on bars.) She performed a Ricna to Pak salto to Stalder-half to the top bar. She also stuck her tucked barani-out from elgrips.

”I’m really proud from how far I’ve come from last year,” said McCusker, who received Sportswoman of the Year honors. “I feel like day one was like shaking off some nerves and getting into it. Tonight I wasn’t as nervous as day one.”

Grace McCallum (Twin City Twisters) placed fourth and had a great meet. She mounted beam with a smooth triple wolf turn followed by a double wolf turn. She performed a side aerial to layout and a roundoff double tuck dismount. On floor she stuck her tucked double-double as well as the next two passes.

For full results, click here.

Defending champion Ragan Smith (Texas Dreams) had another off night with a fall on a Jaeger on bars and, on floor, she touched down on an underrotated triple twist. She finished in 10th place.

Read the full story in the September issue of International Gymnast. To subscribe to the print and/or digital edition or to order back issues of International Gymnast, click here.

Written by dwight normile    Sunday, 19 August 2018 06:39    PDF Print
Mikulak Wins Fifth National Title
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

Sam Mikulak (USOTC) won his fifth U.S. Championships, tying Blaine Wilson with the most titles. Frank Cumiskey and George Wheeler also won five national titles. The event was held at the TD Garden Arena in Boston, August 16-19.

Mikulak avoided the falls he had on day one (pommel horse and high bar) and hit all six routines. He also had three stuck landings: tucked double-double off rings; tucked barani-out off parallel bars; double-twisting double layout off high bar.

"This is the favorite U.S. championships I've won so far," said Mikulak, who won floor exercise, parallel bars and high bar. Later he proclaimed, "It's time for me to go and get what I want."

Perhaps a sixth national title?

Athlete of the Year Yul Moldauer (Oklahoma) climbed from sixth on Thursday to second place. He fell on floor during a flair sequence but hit a clean pommels set. On rings he performed a Yamawaki to Jonasson and he stuck his tucked double-double. He might have been underscored on parallel bars, and he performed a clean high bar set but dismounted with a full-twisting double layout instead of the triple version on day one.

"Obviously on Thursday I wasn't prepared enough," said Moldaur, whose coach, Mark Williams, was Coach of the Year. "I knew if I could start well (on Saturday), just keep that flowing and keep the energy high. Today was fun. There were more people here, the guys were good and I was with my teammates."

Allen Bower (Oklahoma) finished third, the same rank he held on Thursday. He's definitely known for his consistency.

"I just try to stay within myself," he said. "I am pleased with [the result] but I know I can do better."

Alec Yoder, coached by Rustam Sharipov at Ohio State, finished fifth and he won pommel horse, where he performs a full kehre and full stockli. Considering that the men's program is often weak on that event, perhaps he could be added to the 2018 Worlds team. Those worlds are breaking the tradition of a six-member team and lowering it to five. Eight gymnasts will go to a training camp at the USOTC to select the team.

Sportsman of the Year Akash Modi, who is coached by Thom Glielmi at Stanford, had a couple of mishaps, the biggest being a fall on a Bhavsar on his best event, parallel bars, and on high bar he went the wrong way on a Takemoto. After placing second on Thursday, he dropped to sixth on Saturday.

For full results of the U.S. Championships, click here.

Read the full story in the 2018 September issue of International Gymnast. To subscribe to the print and/or digital edition or to order back issues of International Gymnast, click here.


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