2014 Worlds Championships News

Written by John Crumlish    Thursday, 16 October 2014 17:10    PDF Print
Hambüchen: 'I Will Be Back Next Year!'
(5 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

German star Fabian Hambüchen told IG that, despite his less-than-perfect performance at the world championships that concluded Sunday in Nanning, he looks forward to future successes.

Hambüchen during the all-around final in Nanning

Hambüchen, who placed eighth all-around in Nanning, said the absence of 2012 Olympic all-around silver medalist Marcel Nguyen motivated rather than disheartened him and his German teammates. Nguyen tore his right ACL last month.

"It affected us in a positive way because we had a great atmosphere in our new young team, and everyone did his best," Hambüchen said. "We made the team final, which was very unexpected, and the guys were pumping me up."

Hambüchen was the 2013 world all-around bronze medalist, his third world all-around medal after finishing third in 2006 and second in 2007. Although Hambüchen did not qualify for any apparatus finals in Nanning, he said he is optimistic about his chances going forward.

"Of course I wanted to make the high bar final," said Hambüchen, who was second on high bar in the 2013 Worlds. "But nobody is perfect, and this time I had a little mistake in qualifications. But I will be back next year!"

Hambüchen said he will be busy competing in the coming months.

"I have some Bundesliga competitions coming up, two tournaments in Switzerland, and the two World Cups in Stuttgart and Glasgow," he told IG. "So a lot to do till Christmas, but I'm very happy about that, and especially about competing at the American Cup again next year."

Read more about Hambüchen's performance at the 2014 World Championships in the November 2014 (world championships special issue) of International Gymnast magazine. To take advantage of the limited-time special discounted subscription rate for digital and/or print editions of International Gymnast magazine, click here.

Written by Amanda Turner    Sunday, 12 October 2014 10:59    PDF Print
World Championships Draw to a Close in Nanning
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

The 2014 World Championships concluded Sunday in Nanning with the second day of apparatus finals. Pictured: Oleg Vernyayev won parallel bars, the first world championships gold medal for Ukraine since 2006.

The 2014 World Championships concluded Sunday in Nanning with the second day of apparatus finals.

Women's all-around champion Simone Biles (U.S.) won two more gold medals, taking titles on both balance beam and floor exercise with hit routines. Biles now owns six world championship titles, putting her ahead of Shannon Miller as the most successful U.S. gymnast at the world championships.

Nanning's own Bai Yaiwen, in her first world championships, hit a beautiful exercise on balance beam (featuring a textbook Yang Bo leap) to win the silver medal in front of the home crowd.

Russia's Aliya Mustafina picked up bronze medals on both balance beam and floor exercise to bring her total world championships medal haul to 11. (Compatriot Svetlana Khorkina, in the stands in Nanning, holds the most for a female with 20.) Mustafina committed a major error on balance beam after  her consecutive front aerials turned into a front aerial, front walkover combination (costing her .5 for having no required acro series). But with major mistakes from most of the other competitors, Mustafina surprisingly held on to a medal. On floor exercise, she upgraded her first pass, adding two whips before her Arabian double front, to take another bronze medal.

Romanian star Larisa Iordache lost her chance to win the balance beam title after falling on her usually consistent ff, tucked full. The all-around silver medalist took another silver on floor exercise behind Biles.

In the men's competition, Ri Se Gwang matched female North Korean compatriot Hong Un Jong by winning the men's vault title. Ri managed to land the two vaults he invented — the piked Dragulescu and full-twisting Tsukahara double back — which were also the two most difficult vaults of the finals valued at 6.4 Difficulty). Ri stood up both vaults despite injuries to his ankles that required him to be carried off the podium again by his coach.

Igor Radivilov, third on vault at the 2012 Olympics, picked up the silver medal, the first world medal for Ukraine since Alexander Vorobyov won the bronze on still rings at the 2009 World Championships. U.S. team member Jake Dalton won the bronze with two clean vaults.

Two-time world champion and 2012 Olympic champion Yang Hak Seon (Korea) fell on both his vaults. Yang, who has been suffering from injury, attempted a new, 6.4-Difficulty vault, a 3 1/2-twisting Tsukahara, but sat down. He also fell on his namesake vault, the triple-twisting front handspring layout front.

Oleg Vernyayev performed a flawless routine on parallel bars, ending with an absolutely nailed double front-half dismount. He is the first world champion for Ukraine since Irina Krasnyanskaya won balance beam in 2006.

2011 world champion Danell Leyva (U.S.) also performed the routine of his life for silver, while Japan's Ryohei Kato won the bronze medal.

The competition ended with Dutch star Epke Zonderland (The Netherlands) defending his world title on high bar. Superstar Kohei Uchimura (Japan) took second behind Zonderland, and Croatia's Marijo Možnik placed third to win his first world championships medal. Uchimura, who extended his dominance to five consecutive world all-around titles in Nanning, is now the most decorated Japanese gymnast at the world championships. Uchimura now owns 16 world championship medals, surpassing Eizo Kenmotsu 15 medals won from 1970 to 1979. Vitaly Scherbo (Belarus) remains the all-time record holder with 23 world championship medals.

The world championships return to Europe next year, taking place Oct. 23-Nov. 1 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Click here for full results from the 2014 World Championships

Written by Amanda Turner    Saturday, 11 October 2014 10:07    PDF Print
Yao, Liu Mine More Gold For China in Nanning
(10 votes, average 3.90 out of 5)

China's Yao Jinnan and Liu Yang won two more gold medals for the host nation in Saturday's apparatus finals at the 2014 World Championships in Nanning. Pictured: An ecstatic Yao Jinnan won her first world championship gold.

China's Yao Jinnan and Liu Yang won two more gold medals for the host nation in Saturday's apparatus finals at the 2014 World Championships in Nanning.

Yao, who owned individual silver and bronze medals from the 2011 World Championships, finally won her first world gold on uneven bars. Yao edged her teammate, defending world champion Huang Huidan for gold, 15.633-15.566. Russia's Daria Spiridonova won the bronze medal with 15.283.

Yao, the final competitor, was overjoyed with her winning routine and went for a quick sprint across the arena to hug her teammates and coaches. (Though Yao nailed her 6.9-Difficulty routine, she did not wear her competition bib, which should have incurred a .3 neutral deduction.)

Huang, who also nailed her routine, cried in disappointment but was consoled by Yao.

"When I saw Huang Huidan crying, I really thought that she did better than me," she said. "So it's just a feeling that I don't know how to express."

Liu won the still rings title, defeating reigning world and Olympic champion Arthur Zanetti of Brazil. Liu's routine in the team final helped China take its sixth consecutive team title earlier this week in Nanning.

Liu had the top execution score of the still rings final, 9.033, but said he still has work to do.

"I still have a long way to go, so I still need work hard," Liu said of his routine.

Teammate You Hao tied Russia's Denis Ablyazin for the bronze medal after the Chinese successfully submitted an inquiry to increase his Difficulty score from 6.9 to 7.0.

North Korea's Hong Un Jong, the 2008 Olympic gold medalist, beat all-around champion Simone Biles (U.S.) for the women's vault title. Both gymnasts competed Amanars as first vaults, but Hong threw a Cheng as her second vault and Biles vaulted a layout Popdkopayeva. U.S. gymnast MyKayla Skinner won the bronze (Cheng; double-twisting Yurchenko).

Ablyazin won the gold medal on floor exercise, the first world championship gold medal for the Russian men in 15 years. Ablyazin hop small hops on all his tumbling (Randi; layout double-double; front double full to double front; layout Thomas; piked Arabian double front; 2 1/2 to front full; triple twist; 7.1 Difficulty) but was otherwise clean.

Defending world champion Kenzo Shirai (Japan) had the highest D-score with 7.4, but had a large step and went out of bounds on his 2 1/2 to Randi pass. He successfully performed his eponymous skill, the quadruple twist, as his dismount. The step out of bounds was enough to drop him to silver, however.

2005 and 2007 world champion Diego Hypolito won the bronze, his fifth world championship medal. Hypolito had originally been the alternate for Brazil in Nanning, but replaced teammate Caio Souza (foot injury) after podium training.

On pommel horse, Olympic champion Krizstian Berki (Hungary) recaptured the world title he had lost in 2013. 2008 Olympic silver medalist Filip Ude (Croatia) won the bronze over France's Cyril Tommasone.

Competition concludes Sunday with the final day of apparatus finals.

Click here for full results and start list for apparatus finals.

Written by Amanda Turner    Friday, 10 October 2014 09:31    PDF Print
Biles Defends World All-Around Title
(20 votes, average 4.00 out of 5)

American Simone Biles successfully held off Romanian Larisa Iordache to win her second world all-around title Friday at the world championships in Nanning, China.

Biles won the gold medal with 60.231,with scores of 15.866 for her booming Amanar, 14.533 on uneven bars, 14.766 on balance beam and 15.066 on floor exercise (double-double; double layout-half; double layout; full-in).

Biles is the first female gymnast to win back-to-back world all-around titles since Russian legend Svetlana Khorkina won in 2001 and 2003. Teammate Kyla Ross won the bronze medal behind Iordache.

Simone Biles (United States)

After Romania just missed the bronze medal in the team competition, Iordache looked determined to break into the medals on Friday. Iordache put pressure on Biles, with 15.066 on vault, 14.866 on uneven bars, 15.100 on balance beam (beautiful ff tucked full and RO, ff, triple twist dismount for the highest score of the day) and 14.733 on floor exercise. Ioradche went full bore on floor, tumbling a double-double; tucked full-in; triple twist and piked full-in dismount. Iordache stumbled out of bounds on her tucked full-in second pass, but her 6.5 Difficulty score was the highest of the day on floor. Though Biles was expected to win easily, Iordache's total of 59.765 was just half a point behind.

Iordache is the first Romanian woman to win a world all-around medal since 2007, when Steliana Nistor took second all-around.

Ross, the silver medalist behind Biles at the 2013, appeared to be out of the medals after three events. Ross trailed Russia's Aliya Mustafina and China's Yao Jinnan as the top group went into floor exercise. Ross scored just 13.933 on floor exercise, but held onto third place as Mustafina sat down her Arabian double front mount (13.433) and Yao touched down on her double tuck dismount. Yao attempted to do a cartwheel out of the double tuck, but the judges were not fooled and handed her a 12.833.

Yao had the best score of the day on uneven bars with 15.533 with a brilliant routine. Yao, who qualified for finals on uneven bars and balance beam, still has a shot at her first world championship gold.

2006 world champion Vanessa Ferrari finished sixth again, repeating her rank from 2013. Russia's Alla Sotnitskaya placed seventh ahead of Venezuelan veteran Jessica Lopez. Lopez, whose previous best was 10th all-around in 2010, again gave Venezuelan gymnastics its best result in history.

Canadian Olympian Ellie Black finished ninth, just .001 behind Lopez, after a fall on vault. Commonwealth Games champion Claudia Fragapane (Great Britain) rounded out the top 10.

Japan's superhero Kohei Uchimura — who won an astonishing fifth consecutive world all-around title on Thursday — and Yao won the Longines Prize for Elegance.

Competition continues Saturday with the first day of apparatus finals.

Click here for full results and start list for apparatus finals.

Written by dwight normile    Thursday, 09 October 2014 11:39    PDF Print
Uchimura Claims Fifth World All-Around Title
(7 votes, average 4.43 out of 5)

Max Whitlock (silver), Kohei Uchimura (gold), Yusuke Tanaka (bronze).

With a brilliant six-event performance in Nanning during the men's all-around final, Kohei Uchimura etched another indelible mark on the sport with his fifth consecutive world title. And it came only two days after his Japanese team finished a tenth short of ending China's team dominance that began in 2003. Yes, he smiled and fist pumped after each hit routine, but the 25-year-old from Nagasaki would surely have traded his individual gold for team glory.

Uchimura defeated runner-up Max Whitlock, 91.965-90.473. Whitlock was a late replacement for his British teammate Nile Wilson, who had been bothered by a sore wrist. The bronze went to Uchimura's teammate Yusuke Tanaka (90.449), while Ukraine's Oleg Vernyayev finished a frustrated fourth with 90.298, having touched a hand on his rings dismount in the second rotation. Second-seed David Belyavsky of Russia was in the mix until high bar, where his low-difficulty set (6.3) left him in fifth (89.765). Third-seed Deng Shudi, armed with the highest combined Start Value of the field, broke on pommels (muscled a scissor handstand) and could never recover. He finished sixth (89.732).

Uchimura began his meet with the top floor routine of the meet (15.766), sticking each landing to perfection. But he trailed Whitlock, who absolutely nailed his 7.4-pommel horse to lead the event with 16.00. But after the second rotation, where Uchimura swung a silky 15.133 on pommels, and Whitlock notched only 14.466 on his weakest event, rings, the four-time defending champ took the lead.

Uchimura continued his hit parade on rings, where he stuck his double-double like a dart, a landing he repeated on vault after a handspring-randi. The wide grin on his face after that stick was priceless; as though he had impressed even himself.

With a comfortable lead over an ever-changing field of contenders in his wake, Uchimura finally cracked a bit on parallel bars, where he did a low peach and needed a hop on his double pike dismount. He still scored 15.200. Last up on high bar, Uchimura did not hold back, throwing a Cassina and linking a half-Takemoto to Kolman. And while he needed another small hop on his dismount, his body language revealed a deep satisfaction for going clean for the third time in Nanning. As in prelims, which he won by 1.417, he was the only gymnast to score at least 15.00 on each event. He won the all-around final by 1.492. In comparison, ranks 2-7 finished .908 apart.

For Whitlock, silver seemed good as gold, and he matched fellow Brit Daniel Keatings, who placed second in 2009 for Britain's first world all-around medal.

Whitlock had been upgrading his routines since the London Olympics, and the final product proved effective in Nanning. Beyond his pommel horse upgrades, he learned a triple-twisting Yurchenko, which he nearly stuck here (great block off the table). He hit is relatively low-value routines on p-bars and high bar, but closed with a 6.7-set on floor, which included plenty of sticks. Under the circumstances, he could not have had a better meet.

"It was amazing to come second to Kohei Uchimura," said Whitlock, 21, who is coached by Scott Hann. "When you're up against such a strong field, you've just got to go all out."

Tanaka avoided the big error that he had in the team final (p-bars), and his clean execution paid off with the bronze. Trailing Uchimura in D-score by 1.3, he posted the top high bar routine (15.500) and second-best p-bars set (15.883).

With a 0.5 edge in difficulty over Uchimura, Vernyayev settled for fourth, which was quite a comeback after falling on his rings dismount. His p-bars (stuck barani-out) garnered the highest score of the meet on any event (16.033), and his Dragulescu was the second-best vault.

After Deng was an impressive Sergio Sasaki (Brazil) in seventh. German veteran Fabian Hambüchen, the defending bronze medalist, climbed from 24th place after rotation one (pommels for him) to finish eighth, closing with strong routines on p-bars, high bar and floor. (The top eight are eligible to compete in the World Cup.) Russia's Nikolai Kuksenkov and Colombia's Jossimar Calvo completed the top 10 in order.

In place to win silver a year ago, American Sam Mikulak finished 12th. He took a zone deduction on his Lopez vault, and fell from p-bars on a peach. His high bar suffered, as well, although he did post the third-highest floor score and the fourth best on rings, which used to be a weak event for him.

Mikulak's younger teammate Donnell Whittenburg, 17th, earned the top rings score (15.266, layout double-double), but touched down on his Dragulescu and struggled on p-bars (peach sequence). But he took it all in stride.

"It was definitely a great experience to be on the same floor as the best guys in the world," said Whittenburg, 20. "It was definitely an eye opener. I didn't have the best day, but that happens in this sport."

For Uchimura, winning a world title in China may have softened the team final blow a bit. And since there is no guarantee Japan will overtake its nemesis anytime soon, he might as well enjoy the streak he's been on since his first world title in 2009. His third in 2011 was a first for a male gymnast, his fourth last year was historic for the entire sport. So what do we make of his fifth? Nothing right now. Apparently, he's not finished breaking his own records.

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