Men's Gymnastics

The man who tamed the triple double

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Simone Biles’s casual video drop of two stellar new tumbling passes Tuesday casts the spotlight on one of the hardest skills done in gymnastics: the triple twisting double back.

Up to now, the triple double has gotten short shrift in women’s gymnastics. Unlike some other triple things -- hi there, triple twisting Yurchenko! -- the gymworld hasn’t held its collective breath to see who would be the first to perform one. It was always kind of assumed that someone would get around to it at some point, and that that someone turns out to be Biles, the greatest gymnast of all time, is really no surprise at all.

Still, to look at the thing is just spectacular. Biles’s special ability is in the fact that she makes it look easy -- so easy that at first glance it looks like a double twisting double, which the 22-year-old Texan already does to great effect at the end of her floor routine. (And most gymnasts, if they do a double double at all, do it at the beginning of the routine.)

The triple double has been competed by several men, but the pioneer was the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s Ri Jong Song, who debuted it at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. The element is actually named the Ri Jong Song in the men’s code of points, though unfortunately for him, triple-double is a catchier term.

Ri’s whole routine is worth revisiting. In addition to opening with the skill that has come to bear his name, he ends with a terrific double twisting double layout, which is what most of the top contenders begin with even today. In addition to the difficulty of the tumbling, this is a thoughtfully presented routine -- it has a rather unique double-twisting Shushunova and a roundoff, windmill that evokes the great Chinese gymnasts of an earlier era.

Although certain form deductions (see handstand, press) assured that this routine would not contend for a medal, it stands out as being an exercise ahead of its time. As such, it deserves to be celebrated. Ri Jong Song continued on following the Athens Olympics, notably placing fourth on vault at the 2007 World Championships (where he showed a Tsuk triple and a Randi). But it was another man named Ri -- 2016 Olympic vault champion-to-be Ri Se Gwang, who shocked the world with his extraordinary capacity for adding extra twists to already extremely complex vaults — who we remember more today.

Is Olympic champion Kohei Uchimura done with gymnastics? Maybe not.

Oh, the shifting fortunes of Japanese men’s gymnastics!

The talented Kakeru Tanigawa won the prestigious NHK Cup -- and a spot on Japan’s men’s world team -- Sunday in Tokyo, scoring a respectable 84.098 in the all-around. That score, added to his scores from capturing his second Japanese national title last month (where he averaged around 85 points in the all-around) easily gave the 20-year-old the NHK title, only 0.2 ahead of his older and slightly better known brother Wataru.

Kakeru Tanigawa earned his second Japanese at

Kakeru Tanigawa earned his second Japanese at

Kazuma Kaya, the 2015 world bronze medalist on pommel horse, finished third in the NHK rankings. All three have qualified to compete as part of Japan’s world team for October’s World Championships in Stuttgart, the last major global event before the Tokyo Olympic Games, with two more to be added closer to the event.

The younger Tanigawa’s accolades, which include being Japan’s youngest ever national champion, have gone a bit under the radar due to the star power of Japan’s men’s team, led by two-time Olympic champion Kohei Uchimura and twistmaster Kenzo Shirai.

But recent results have thrown the established hierarchy into turmoil: Uchimura came to last month’s Japanese Championships injured and had the worst meet of his career, falling several times to finish 37th, missing the cut for the all-around final for the first time since his debut as a 16-year-old in 2005. A photo of Uchimura clutching his left shoulder in agony after a fall off the parallel bars remains the enduring image of the competition.

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Shirai, dealing with a foot injury, didn’t fare much better, finishing 30th all-around, or dead last among the finalists. Uchimura did not compete Sunday, though not exactly by choice: only the top 30 in the all-around from the Japanese Championships qualified to compete at the NHK Cup.

This is a strange turn of events for the Japanese, and gives them an unusual problem to deal with as their first home Summer Olympics in 56 years approaches. Shirai and especially Uchimura have underpinned the team with fabulous results and incredible performances. But Uchimura, now 30, and Shirai, now struggling with an injury that limits him on his best events, are no longer the ones delivering the highest quality performances -- not even close -- though they remain among the faces of the sport.

So if you’re deciding who you put on your world and Olympic teams, where do they factor in?

Uchimura may make it easier to solve the problem than it seems. Saying he finished in 37th place at the Japanese Championships smarts, but the reality is that he only trailed Tanigawa by five points. Had he simply stayed on the apparatus, he’d have at least three of those points back, which would have stood him in the middle of the pack among the finalists. From there, it’s a much smaller jump to being among the major team contenders.

“I don’t have any feelings of frustration,” Uchimura told the media afterwards. Training before the event had not gone particularly well either, it seems. “I mentioned a few times that you can’t compete what you can’t do in training, yet I somehow fell into that situation.”

With two Olympic all-around titles and GOAT status, Uchimura has already lived a thrilling life in gymnastics. His is a rare career even by the standards of the great champions. All that he needs to pad his legend now is a nice comeback tale, and with his results this spring, he’s certainly given himself the opportunity for that.

World champion Artur Dalaloyan is engaged!

Talk about a proposal on fire!

World all-around champion Artur Dalaoyan of Russia is spoken for for good: The elegant 22-year-old posted a photo on Instagram showing him on bended knee holding a ring box out to girlfriend Olenka Borodina as a sentence (“Will you marry me?” perhaps) blazed behind him in the snowy landscape.

“She said YES,” Dalaloyan captioned the post, adding a ring emoji and the hashtag #happiness.

Doing wonderful things for the lady in his life has obviously been preoccupying Dalaloyan’s thoughts lately. Ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8, he posted a photo of himself snowboarding with Borodina, and asked followers what the best thing they’ve ever done for the women in their lives.

After his runaway victory at the Stuttgart World Cup two weeks ago, Dalaloyan will be heavily favored to win the men’s all-around title at next month’s European Championships in Szczecin, Poland. He finished second to Ukraine’s Oleg Verniaiev in 2017, the last time the men’s all-around was contested at Euros, and won five medals at the 2018 World Championships, including Russia’s first men’s all-around gold since Nikolay Kryukov in 1999.

World champions, medalists lead Doha World Cup qualification

Carlos Yulo of the Philippines is the leader after qualification at the Doha World Cup in Qatar.

Carlos Yulo of the Philippines is the leader after qualification at the Doha World Cup in Qatar.

Six gymnasts from five different nations topped the standings in qualification at the Doha World Cup Wednesday and Thursday in the Qatari capital.

Doha brings back excellent memories for Carlos Yulo of the Philippines, who won his first world medal — a bronze on floor — at the Aspire Dome last October. Yulo was formidable in his return there Wednesday, where he posted the highest score on the event (14.6) to top 2017 World all-around champion Xiao Ruoteng (14.533).

Belgium’s Jonathan Vrolix posted an impressive 14.5 for third, proving that he’s a threat for the podium among a finals field that also includes world medalist Alexander Shatilov of Israel, Turkish star Ahmet Onder and Australian daredevil Chris Remkes, who tumbles a triple twisting double layout.

In the absence of Artem Dolgopyat of Israel, who already has two first-place finishes in the series, Yulo, who won floor at the Melbourne World Cup last month, is almost sure to move ahead of him in the actual rankings, but more important is the fact that Yulo has the chance to get another win here. In this game, a gymnast’s top three finishes count toward their standing in the World Cup rankings, meaning that three wins on the world cup circuit almost assures them the Olympic berth.

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World bronze medalist Lee Chih-Kai of Chinese Taipei, who also won in Baku, continued his streak of success with the top qualifying score on pommel horse, beating 2013 world champion Kohei Kameyama, the champion from Baku. Lee had a catastrophic performance in Azerbaijan and didn’t even qualify for the final, but by that point he’d already racked up two wins on the circuit, and a third win all but assures him the Olympic spot. Lee scored 15.166, ahead 2016 Olympian Harutyun Merdinyan of Armenia, who scored 14.966.

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Bolstered by a 6.4 D-score, China’s Lan Xingyu qualified first on rings (15.166), ahead of Vahagn Davtyan (14.966) and Artur Tomvasyan (14.908). On vault, Ukraine’s Igor Radivilov used his Dragulescu and excellent Tsuk double pike to excellent effect (14.916), putting him ahead of resurgent 2012 Olympic champion Yang Hak-seon (14.9), whose patented handspring front triple full is as good as ever despite an injury-filled few years.

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Two-time world champion Zou Jingyuan leads parallel bars by a monster 15.866, 1.133 ahead of his nearest competitor. It’s been quite awhile since an event specialist has been so dominant that he or she could win with a fall, but then again, Zou is one of the great parallel bar workers in history.

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On high bar, 2017 world champion Tin Srbic continues his prolonged battle with world champion Epke Zonderland. Srbic won round one in Doha; Zonderland, whose performances indicate that he understands well the difference between qualifications and finals, finished fourth. The surprise in the group was Kazakhstan’s Milad Karimi, who showed a 6.2 D-score routine (higher than both Srbic and Zonderland) for an impressive 14.3, just 0.033 behind Srbic. Japan’s Hidetaka Miyachi, another gymnast with a possibility of winning the world rankings crown, qualified sixth to the final.

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Hugely competitive fields on each apparatus have led to some surprising shutouts, including three-time world champion Marian Draguelscu (ninth on floor), 2010 high bar world champion Zhang Chenglong (10th on high bar), Olympic rings bronze medalist Denis Ablyazin of Russia (14th on rings) and 2016 Olympic silver medalist Diego Hypolito, who showed a relatively simple 4.7 difficulty routine for 11.7 (40th on floor).

Preview: Olympic, World champions round out men’s roster at Baku World Cup

Team Japan in Baku earlier this week. Photo: Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation.

Team Japan in Baku earlier this week. Photo: Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation.

Call it the Battle of Baku -- the individual apparatus kings of the sport from around the globe are gathering in the Azerbaijani capital this weekend to fight for world cup ranking points that for some will translate into Olympic qualification spots. Here’s what to expect in the men’s competition.

Men’s Floor Exercise: The best and the brightest

The men’s floor field includes Olympic medalists Marian Dragulescu of Romania and Diego Hypolito of Brazil, both of whom are also past world champions on the event. Three others -- Israelis Artem Dolgopyat and Alexander Shatilov and Carlos Yulo of the Philippines -- are world medalists, with Yulo having won the last round in Melbourne a few weeks ago. Great Britain’s Dominick Cunningham and Australian Chris Remkes, who showed a triple twisting double layout in Melbourne, could also factor in.

Pommel Horse: A gathering of greats

Old guard, new guard, or somewhere in the middle? Many of the greats of horse of the past decade or so will meet in Baku. The latest wunderkind is the bespectacled Weng Hao of China, one of a number of specialists gunning for an individual berth to Tokyo. Other emerging talents include European pommel champion Rhys McClenaghan of Ireland and reigning world bronze medalist Lee Chih-Kai of Chinese Taipei. Among the veterans, there’s longtime Croatian great Filip Ude, the 2008 Olympic silver medalist on the event, 2013 world champion Kohei Kameyama of Japan and French standout Cyril Tommasone. The man who could surprise many? Iran’s Saeedreza Keikha, who has two moves named after him on the pipe.

Still Rings: A mighty force

Projected to be one of the biggest battles of all, this final will be world championship-worthy. Among the contenders: 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Denis Ablyazin of Russia, reigning world bronze medalist Marco Lodadio of Italy, double world medalist You Hao of China, Ukrainian strongman Igor Radivilov, France’s Samir Ait Said, Britain’s Courtney Tulloch and Turkey’s Ibrahim Colak. The talent level boggles the mind.

Men’s Vault: The (other) Jump! boys

Take one Olympic champion (Korea’s Yang Hak-seon), a double Olympic medalist (Ablyazin), the man who did the now-forbidden handspring triple front on the Olympic-stage (Radivilov) and the man who gave the eponymous Dragulescu its name? It’s hard to know where to begin. One lesser-known name to watch as well is France’s Loris Frasca, who is just beginning to come into his own on an event where the French have typically excelled.

Parallel Bars: China vs. the world

If rings is the most competitive men’s event in Baku, p-bars may to be the least. 2015 world champion You Hao is the biggest name among specialists on this apparatus, and China has also entered newcomer Du Yixin, who, if he’s anything like the Chinese tend to be on this event, is beyond superb. Otherwise, there’s room for surprise from someone like Russian all-around silver medalist Vladyslav Polyashov, Japan’s Kaito Sugimoto or Turkey’s Colak, or a veteran, like Belarusian Olympian Andrei Likhovitskiy or Romania’s Cristian Bataga.

High Bar: Return of the big four

The kings of swing -- 2012 Olympic champion Epke Zonderland, 2017 World champion Tin Srbic of Croatia, 2010 World gold medalist Zhang Chenglong of China, and Japan’s Hidetaka Miyachi, who has no world title to his name but does the most difficult element anyone’s ever seen on the event with exceptionally good form, will each get their turn to prove that they are the champion of today. The day after, it will be back to the gym to prepare for the next one.











Quick hits: 2019 American Cup

Rotation 1:

Sam Mikulak, floor: Running front double pike. 2.5 to double front, clicks heels together, stuck. Front double full to front tuck full. Flairs sequence, great.1.5 to front layout full. Triple twist, stuck. Tim Daggett going nuts. SAM going nuts! Wonderful routine. Wonderful. 14.733.

Bart Deurloo (NED), floor: Double front and slides off the floor. 1.5 to front double full. 2.5 to stop to punch front full. 2.5 to front layout half. Arabian double front with a small hop. 12.766.

Ma Yue (CHN), floor: Double front tuck half out, small hop. Front double full to front full, hop and OOB. Randi. Russians. Double full. Triple full with a hop back. More charisma than he’s displayed in previous years, honestly. 13.3.

Petro Pakhniuk (UKR), floor: Double double tuck, hop back. (He’s capable of a 2.5.) Randi, low landing. The feed cut out for the rest of it, but Petro looks pleased with this effort. 14.133.

James Hall (GBR), floor: Handspring front double pike. Double double tuck with a big step back. Front double full to front layout half. Randi, a little low. 2.5 to Rudi with another step. Oh, and almost collapses his wide arm handstand! Triple full with another big step sideways. 13.466.

Christian Baumann (SUI), floor: Randi with a step back, undercooked. 2.5 to front layout. Arabian double front. Double full side pass. Flairs and Fedorchenkos, a little slow. Not enough gas to make the triple full at the end, hands down. 12.466.

Yul Moldauer (USA), floor: Randi, great, small hop. 3.5 to front layout half, a little offline. 2.5 to front layout full. Arabian double front half out to screams of approval from the crowd. Flairs, so quick and pretty! Double full side pass. Triple full, hop forward. And his particular enthusiastic signoff with fist-pumping, etc. 14.5.

Rotation 2:

Bart Deurloo (NED), pommel: Russians between the pommels, looking good! But falls midway through. Pacing around taking his whole 30 seconds to catch his breath. The rest was fine. 12.166.

Ma Yue (CHN), pommel: Hits a nice routine and stands shouting in victory on the podium for at least 10 seconds afterwards. Pakniuk is up there ready to take over and Ma Yue is still shouting. Like Mikulak, he’s REALLY happy about this one. 14.033.

Petro Pakhniuk (UKR), pommel: Two scissor to handstand, circles on one pommel, well done overall. Great lines for this event but does the dismount of a child, not even going for the handstand. 13.433.

James Hall (GBR), pommel: Scissor to handstand, one pommel work, Russian on one pommel, Russian travels, nice. Not the prettiest pommel worker perhaps, but terrific pirouetting dismount. Good on him! 14.2.

Christian Baumann (SUI), pommel horse: Scissor to handstand (what a popular mount!), travels, Busnari where he comes down between the pommels, legs way apart all the way through his Russians but wow, stays on. A Swiss miracle! Handstand dismount, no pirouettes. 12.933.

Yul Moldauer (USA), pommels: original scissor mount, flairs, Magyar. Very crowd-pleasing! Terrific lightness to this routine. Slightly tired on the dismount, but not bad at all. 13.8.

Sam Mikulak (USA), pommels: His own element, beautiful Busnari! Gave him problems at Worlds but none here. Ooh clips the horse but gets it back together. The rest is solid. Good for him! 14.433.

Rotation 3:

James Hall (GBR), rings: Pull to Maltese. Tim Daggett doesn't like it. Frankly, he's right -- low positions, even the iron cross. Yamawakis. Second cross, high. Giant. Double double tuck, step back. 13.666.

Christian Baumann (SUI), rings: He has more natural upper body strength than Hall. Yamawakis to straddle planche. Double double with a small hop to the side. He seems to be warming up as he goes on today. 13.633.

Yul Moldauer (USA), rings: With Sam Mikulak cheering him on, Yul blazes through a beautiful routine and opening his hands Petrounias-like on his strength moves. Stuck double double tuck. Melted into the floor indeed. 14.2.

Sam Mikulak (USA), rings: Rings face on. Cheeky smileo the judges. Maltese. Cross. Tucked Yamawaki to cross, low. Different kind of face now. Piked Yamawaki. Giant. Double double tuck, stuck. And finally, a happy smile. 14.1.

Rotation 4:

Petro Pakhniuk (UKR), vault: Tsuk 2.5, lands low and in a deep squat but saves it with a step to the side. All distance, no height. 13.833.

Yul Moldauer (USA), vault: Tsuk 2.5, STUCK. BAM. 14.733.

Sam Mikulak (USA), vault: Tries to emulate what Moldauer did right before him. Almost -- hops to the side. "I wanted to stick like you," he tells Yul as he walks back. 14.433.

Rotation 5:

Yul Moldauer (USA), p-bars: Peach, peach half, DIamaova, full spin on one arm, giant, Geinger with straight legs (!). Double front half out, stuck like a cat. And then lots of motion, with arm waving and celebrating and a military kind of salute. 14.966.

Sam Mikulak (USA), p-bars: Front flip. Inside Diamadov. Peach half. Peach. Front somie. Belle and nearly loses it! Oh dear. That's going to be a problem. Double front half out, stuck. He's eaten into his lead there. Hmm. 14.066.

Ma Yue (CHN), p-bars: Front flip. Peach, shy of handstand. Double tuck. Front straddle somie. Bhavsar. Belle. Inside Diamadov. Double pike, stuck. And a celebration of his own! He looks thrilled. University of China? 14.333.

Rotation 6:

Christian Baumann (SUI): Is getting some flak from the commentators for looking a bit too "relaxed" in his form, but a nice routine from him overall. Double double layout. 13.833.

Petro Pakhnuik (UKR), high bar: German giant out of handstand, oops. Tkatchev, Tkatchev half. Tak half. Stuck full twisting double layout. 13.733.

Ma Yue (CHN), high bar: Piked Tkatchev. Tkatchev. Tkatchev half. All the Tkatchevs. Hop full. Stuck double double layout! 13.9.

Sam Mikulak (USA), high bar: Cassina. Kolman, very nice. Layout Tkatchev. Tkatchev to Tkatchev half. And gives it away on the Tak half, doesn't complete it, swings the other way. Oh Sam oh Sam oh Sam...and then he sticks the double double layout. 14.066.

Yul Moldauer (USA), high bar: Yama. One armed giant. Tak full, nice. Tak half (angle). Tucked Kovacs. Hop full. Hop 1.5. Triple double layout, small hop on the landing, but yeah! Another huge celebration on the podium from Yul (and the girls in the crowd love it). 3-peat? It’s happening. 13.733 is only the fifth highest score on high bar, but no matter.

Results:

1 - Yul Moldauer, USA, 85.932
2 - Sam Mikulak, USA, 85.931
3 - Ma Yue. China, 84.465
4 - Petro Pakhnuik, UKR, 82.864
5 - James Hall, GBR, 82.698
6 - Christian Baumann, SUI, 81.631
7 - Bart Deurloo, NED, 76.932

American Cup 2019: Men's competition breakdown

Sam Mikulak will try to spoil Yul Moldauer’s potential three-peat at the American Cup Saturday in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Sam Mikulak will try to spoil Yul Moldauer’s potential three-peat at the American Cup Saturday in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Occasionally an Oleg Verniaiev or a Ryohei Kato or a Fabian Hambuechen pops in to take the crown, but for the better part of 20 years, the American Cup has been dominated by American men.

Will history repeat itself this year? Maybe not. Bolstered by out-of-this-world difficulty on floor, 2017 World all-around bronze medalist Kenzo Shirai of Japan, along with 2018 American Cup runner up James Hall, a silent assassin from Great Britain, pose a viable threat to Sam Mikulak and Yul Moldauer for this year’s American Cup title.

Make no mistake, the American men are strong. With two Olympics under his belt and several top five finishes at last fall’s Doha World Championships, Mikulak proved he’s just entering his zenith, and he competes especially well inside the country. That being said, the 26-year-old flashed a fair amount of his old inconsistency at Winter Cup two weeks ago in finishing second to Moldauer, who coasted to the title.

Moldauer comes in as the two-time defending American Cup champ and the first guy to potentially three-peat it since Blaine Wilson did it from 1997-99. Moldauer is a deeply talented competitor who doesn’t wilt in the spotlight, but he trails Mikulak in difficulty on pommel horse, parallel bars and high bar.

At last year’s world championships, Moldauer’s total difficulty score was in the low 32s, and he remains competitive because his execution is way above average when he’s on his game. Mikulak, meanwhile, was up around 35 for combined difficulty. Shirai, who nonetheless finished seventh below Mikulak’s fifth, carries around a whopping 35.9, the highest potential difficulty in this year’s American Cup field, and about seven points of that comes from floor alone. Hall carries in a respectable 34.5, priming him to play spoiler.

Ukraine’s Petro Pakhniuk, the Netherlands’s Bart Deurloo, China’s 2014 Youth Olympian Ma Yue and Switzerland’s Christian Baumann will all also be jostling for place. (Marcel Nguyen, originally scheduled to be there for Germany, dropped out a couple days ago.)

Shirai’s incredible difficulty on floor and vault ups his stock as an all-arounder, but execution-wise, the charismatic 22-year-old is weaker than average on rings and pommel horse. Pakhnuik, meanwhile is exceptionally good on pommel horse and parallel bars, and showed it in his bronze medal finish at last year’s cup. Ma is something of a question mark, though he does have a world cup title on rings under his belt.

Bottom line: if Mikulak does what he’s capable of, he’ll win his second American Cup title. But if he does something to take himself out of contention, the title is likely to be a fight between Moldauer, Shirai and Hall.

Skill watch: The Van Wicklen?

Colin Van Wicklen wasn’t fazed by competing at the World Championships in Doha with nary a world cup -- or any other international competition -- under his belt. “I’m 100 percent ready for this,” the American said last fall. “This is the perfect way for me to make a name for myself on the international stage.”

Doing well at your first ever international competition, especially when it happens to be a world championship, is one way to get your name out there. The other, of course, is to invent a skill. (That way your name isn’t just out there, it’s in the code of points forever.) Having accomplished the one, seems Van Wicklen is readying to do the other.

Behold, the double front pike full out, which, if submitted and competed successfully by him at just about any world cup event this year, could be dubbed the Van Wicklen forevermore. Front double pikes have proven more popular than ever this quad, as have the half-out variety. The double front pike is an E skill in the men’s code of points, worth 0.5 when performed correctly. The half out is an F, worth 0.6, so it follows that the full out would likely be classed as a G skill, worth 0.7.

Only two skills worth more on men’s floor exercise: the triple back tuck, named for Valeri Liukin, and the triple twisting double layout, named for Kenzo Shirai. Both are H-level skills, and worth 0.8 to whoever performs them well.

Radivilov, You, Miyachi break through for gold in Melbourne World Cup finals

A satisfied Igor Radivilov (UKR) pumps his fist after clinching gold at the Melbourne World Cup. Photo: Melbourne World Cup.

A satisfied Igor Radivilov (UKR) pumps his fist after clinching gold at the Melbourne World Cup. Photo: Melbourne World Cup.

Highly experienced gymnasts prevailed on the second day of men’s finals at the Melbourne World Cup, with many-time world vault finalist Igor Radivilov of Ukraine taking gold for a wonderful stuck Dragulescu and equally good Tsuk double pike, despite excellent Tsuk triple full and Dragulescu vaults from France’s Loris Frasca, matching Radivilov vault for vault in difficulty score. Great Britain’s Dominick Cunningham drilled a terrific Yurchenko triple full for bronze.

2015 World parallel bars champion You Hao of China scooped up the gold medal and valuable world cup points on his specialty ahead of Turkish specialists Ahmet Onder and Ferhat Arican, while Hidetaka Miyachi, he of the double twisting layout Kovacs on high bar, defeated a pair of world champions in the Netherlands’s Epke Zonderland and China’s Zhang Chenglong to stand atop the podium.

More than medals are at stake in Melbourne -- depending on where they rank in finals, gymnasts also earned valuable world cup points, which go toward their standing in the world cup series, an event that began last November and will conclude in the spring of 2020. The winners of the world cup series on each event, provided they do not help their teams qualify to the Games at this year’s World Championships, will earn berths to the Tokyo Olympics.

Results

Men’s Vault

1. Igor Radivilov, Ukraine, 14.949
2. Loris Frasca, France, 14.900
3. Dominick Cunningham, Great Britain, 14.749
4. Hidenobu Yonekura, Japan, 14.579
5. Shin Jea-hwan, South Korea, 14.566
6. Christopher Remkes, Australia, 14.083
7. Kim Han-sol, South Korea, 13.999
8. Milad Karimi, Kazakhstan, 13.583

Parallel Bars

1. You Hao, China, 15.066
2. Ahmet Onder, Turkey, 14.633
3. Ferhat Arican, Turkey, 14.366
4. Mitchell Morgans, Australia, 14.200
5. Hibiki Arayashiki, Japan, 14.066
6. Mikhail Koudinov, New Zealand, 12.933
7. Akim Mussayev, Kazakhstan, 12.266
8. Tomomasa Hasegawa, Japan, 11.466

High Bar

1. Hidetaka Miyachi, Japan, 14.733
2. Epke Zonderland, Netherlands, 14.733
3. Zhang Chenglong, China, 14.333
4. Mitchell Morgans, Australia, 14.033
5. Tyson Bull, Australia, 13.966
6. Ahmet Önder, Turkey, 13.900
7. Tin Srbic, Croatia, 13.266
8. Milad Karimi, Kazakhstan, 12.200

Yang, Lee and Yulo victorious as Melbourne World Cup finals begin

Lee Chih-Kai (TPE) won the men’s pommel horse title in Melbourne. Photo: World Cup Melbourne.

Lee Chih-Kai (TPE) won the men’s pommel horse title in Melbourne. Photo: World Cup Melbourne.

Southeast Asian gymnasts carried the day on the first day of finals at the Melbourne World Cup, with world medalists from three different nations coming away with the top prizes.

2014 world rings champion Liu Yang turned in an excellent routine on his best event to play out the same scenario with teammate You Hao, with only 0.033 separating gold and silver, while 2012 Olympic rings champion Arthur Zanetti of Brazil defeated a host of strongmen, including qualification leader Igor Radivilov of Ukraine, for bronze.

Chinese Taipei’s Chih-Kai Lee proved the class of the field on pommel horse, flairing his way to gold over China’s Weng Hao and Japanese specialist Tomagasa Hasegawa. All three posted routines with 6.5 difficulty score, but Lee’s execution carried the day, albeit barely -- like on rings, the difference between first and second was a mere 0.033.

A fall from qualification leader Ahmet Onder of Turkey on his full-in final pass opened up the men’s field for world bronze medalist Carlos Yulo of the Philippines, who stepped up to win his first ever world cup title (running double front pike half out, 2.5 to Randi, 3.5 to front half, double full, front full to front double full, triple twist), with newcomer Hibiki Arayashiki of Japan using many of the same passes in a silver medal effort.

Results

Men’s floor

1. Carlos Edriel Yulo, Philippines, 14.566
2. Hibiki Arayashiki, Japan, 14.500
3. Rayderley Zapata, Spain, 14.500
3. Dominick Cunningham, Great Britain, 14.500
5. Kim Han-sol, South Korea, 14.200
6. Casimir Schmidt, Netherlands, 13.833
7. Christopher Remkes, Australia, 13.733
8. Ahmet Önder, Turkey, 13.166

Pommel horse

1. Lee Chih-Kai, Chinese Taipei, 15.266
2. Weng Hao, China, 15.233
3. Tomomasa Hasegawa, Japan, 14.666
4. Thierry Pellerin, Canada, 13.700
5. Ferhat Arican, Turkey, 13.133
6. Bram Louwije, Netherlands, 12.766
7. Akim Mussayev, Kazakhstan, 12.700
8. Cyril Tommasone, France, 12.033

Still rings

1. Liu Yang, China, 15.166
2. You Hao, China, 15.133
3. Arthur Zanetti, Brazil, 14.966
4. Kazuya Takahashi, Japan, 14.600
5. Courtney Tulloch, Great Britain, 14.600
6. Igor Radivilov, Ukraine, 14.566
7. Ali Zahran, Egypt, 14.400
8. Ryan Oehrlein, Canada, 14.000