Sun Wei

Play-by-Play: 2019 Birmingham World Cup, Men's All-around Final

Nikita Nagornyy of Russia.

Nikita Nagornyy of Russia.

Rotation 1:

Ooh, in England, we compete in the dark, apparently. The British do seem to love a darkened gymnastics arena.

Jamie Lewis (GBR), FX: The last minute replacement for Brinn Bevan here, his first senior world cup. Full twisting double layout, a little piked, step forward. Crashes double double tucked second pass. 2.5 to front half, piked. 2/1. Triple full, gets it around. 12.266.

Joe Fraser (GBR), PH: Nile Wilson’s replacement here. Two scissor to handstands, moving well so far. Small form break before the dismount. Well done overall. 13.933.

Nikita Nagornyy (RUS), FX: Fantastic triple back tuck, steps back and out. Double front pike half out. Front 2/1 to double front, stuck, wonderful. 2.5 to front 1/1 to front layout half. Double double tuck as a side pass — whenever a gymnast can pull a double double side pass — where many gymnasts do double fulls — you know you’re dealing with a potential world floor champion. Finally, full out tuck. Packed routine. 14.366.

Christian Baumann (SUI), PH: Comes off on a Busnari, made it look like a dismount. Was going well before that, and went well after it, apart from a leg break on Russians late in the routine. 12.0.

Allan Bower (USA), FX: Double front pike. Double double tuck, bouce back. Front 2/1 to front half. 2/1. 1.5 to front 1/1. 2.5, stuck. He’s worked hard at cleaning up his form at Oklahoma, and it shows here. 13.666.

Bart Deurloo (NED), PH: Hit routine for Bart! Since his slow start at the American Cup, he’s gotten better and better — more determined, too. 13.4.

Petro Pakhnuik (UKR), FX: Double double tuck, nearly bounds out of bounds going backward. Randi, a little short. Front 2/1 to front 1/1. 2.5, hop forward. Double full, stuck. Nice Russians. Triple full, low landing, hop forward, but gets it done. 12.7.

Kazuma Kaya (JPN), PH: Flairs, Magyar, Scissors, circles on one pommel. Russians. Handstand full pirouette dismount. Hit routine! 13.8.

Sun Wei (CHN), FX: Front double pike, deep landing, hop back. Double layout, hop back. 2.5 to front layout half. Front 1/1 to Rudi. Triple full, bounce back. Some impecisions on the landings, but not bad overall. 13.566.

Rotation 2:

Christian Baumann (SUI), SR: Maltese, a little difficult, I’d say. Planche, definitely difficult for him. Press handstand. Front giant. Giant. Piked Yama, tucked Yama to straddle planche. Balance check in handstand before double double tuck that he pancakes on the mat. Oof. Not a great routine, but this is not a good event for him. 12.166 as he massages his shoulders in the kiss and cry.

Nikita Nagornyy (RUS), PH: Gets through it. A touch of leg form here and there. Quick quick on his dismount, but we’ve seen worse. 13.233.

Bart Deurloo (NED), SR: Iron cross. Planche. Piked Yama to hesitating handstand. Tucked Yama. Double double tuck, small shuffle. Again, better than he’s been. 13.1.

Allan Bower (USA), PH: Long, intricate routine. Concentrated set, hit routine. 14.2.

Kazuma Kaya (JPN), SR: Hit routine capped with beautiful double double layout dismount. Very nice! Kaya’s always been great on pommel horse, but here he shows improvement in his lines. Is it possible for a man to be graceful on rings? Yes. 14.133.

Petro Pakhniuk (UKR), SR: Scissors to handstand, one pommel work. Leg separations on Russians and as usual, his non-dismount, but he stayed on, so that’s something. 13.266.

Joe Fraser (GBR), SR: Roll to cross. Maltese. Pull to cross. Tucked Yama to pike Yama to straddle planche. Front giant. Giant. Double double tuck, step back. Joe, a Birmingham native performing before his home city, looks happy. 13.1.

Sun Wei (CHN), PH: Unlike most of the crowd here, he gets through his entire routine without making a major break. Good for him! 14.933.

Jamie Lewis (GBR), PH: Slow through the Busnari but great flairs, which the crowd loves. Extremely slow press to handstand to end, but he made it! That’ll be his victory today. “He’s growing into the competition,” Olly Hogben says, and that puts it well. 13.666.

Rotation 3:

Bart Deurloo (NED), VT: Tsuk 2.5 with a fairly big step forward. 14.166.

Allan Bower (USA), SR: Maltese. Roll to cross. Kip to Maltese. Tucked Yama to piked Yama to straddle planche. Front giant. Full twisting double layout (piked, some form in the air.) 12.5.

Kazuma Kaya (JPN), VT: Tsuk 2.5, low off the table and stumbles backwards but keeps it on his feet. Lets off a good-natured shrug as he walks off. Us too, Kazuma. 13.9.

Petro Pakhniuk (UKR), SR: Maltese. Iron cross. Piked Yama to tucked Yama to straddle planche. Front giant. Double front pike, hop forward. 13.566.

Joe Fraser (GBR), VT: Tsuk 2.5 with a little hop backward, one foot out. Not bad. 14.166.

Sun Wei (CHN), SR: Planche. Maltese. Maltese again. Tucked Yama, piked Yama, roll to iron cross. Press handstand. Giant. Double double tuck, small hop forward. 13.833.

Christian Baumann (SUI), VT: DTY, nearly stuck, finally emits a small hop forward. 14.066.

Jamie Lewis (GBR), SR: Planche. Piked Yama, tucked Yama, done with all the ease and enthusiasm of youth. Front giant. Great double double tuck dismount, stuck! Jamie’s smile after that could light the arena. 13.333.

Nikita Nagornyy (RUS), SR: Roll to Maltese. Pop to second Maltese, drops to iron cross, opens his hands. Piked Yama to tucked Yama to iron cross. Straddle planche. Front giant. Double double tuck, small hop back. The class of the field so far, without a doubt. 14.233.

Rotation 4:

Petro Pakhniuk (UKR), VT: Tsuk 2.5 with a step forward. Quite clean in the air. 14.266.

Kazuma Kaya (JPN), PB: Front somie. Inside Diamidov. Peach half. Peach. Front straddle somie to shoulders. Bhavsar. Tippelt. Back tos 1/4 to single bar work. Uprise to double front half out, small hop/step on landing. Very nice. 14.566.

Sun Wei (CHN), VT: Hands down on undercooked Tsuk triple full. 13.566 loses him some ground.

Joe Fraser (GBR), PB: Very nice exercise that had the crowd on tenterhooks all the way through. Dismounts with double front half out with a small step to the side. Joe acquits himself well. 14.3.

Jamie Lewis (GBR), VT: Tsuk 2.5 with a step forward, good distance from the table. Excellent in the air, too. 14.233.

Christian Baumann (SUI), PB: The Swiss on his best event. Peach mount. Front somie, small hesitation going to the hanstand. Inside Diamidov. Bhavsar. Tippelt. Lovely line on this event. Stutz. Uprise double front half out, small hop. 14.166.

Nikita Nagornyy (RUS), VT: Fantastic Dragulescu, nearly stuck. A little cowboyed in the air, but so impressive all the same. 14.9.

Bart Deurloo (NED), PB: Peach. Cut and catch work, cool. Loses it on inside Diamidov, whoops. That will hurt the score. Back toss quarter turn, one bar work. Double pike with a step back.

Allan Bower (USA), VT: Tsuk 2.5, form in the air but good landing. Needs to work on straightening his legs, elongating his lines.

Rotation 5:

Joe Fraser (GBR), HB: Yama. Cassina. Kolman. One arm giant. Tak full, good. Stalders. Double double layout, great landing, call it a stick. What’s unusual is he does both twists on the double double in the second flip. 13.9.

Sun Wei (CHN), PB: Peach half. Peach. Giant. Front straddle somie. Bhavsar, traveling the length of the p-bars, impressive. Tippelt, again great distance. Inside Diamidov. Double front half out, knees totally together, excellent, just a hop forward. 14.566.

Christian Baumann (SUI), HB: Yama. Layout Tkatchev. Stalder hop 1.5. Hop 1.5. Endos. Stalder. A bit pikey on his double double layout, but a fair landing, just a small step forward. 13.866.

Jamie Lewis (GBR), PB: Comes off on his first element, a peach. He’s not had the easiest debut here, but he’s a first year senior, and he only got the call up to compete here a few days ago. So. Shows what he’s capable of throughout the rest of the routine. Double pike dismount with a step back. 11.9.

Bart Deurloo (NED), HB: Tak half, small hesitation. Cassina, legs a tad bent. Kovacs. Kolman. Tak full (legs), to Yama. Stalder. Hop full. Double double layout with just a small step forward. 13.8.

Nikita Nagornyy (RUS), PB: Front flip. Peach to English handstand, held not quite long enough. Peach half, good. Inside Diamadov to half to Diamadov to Diamidov 1.5, excellent. Finally double front half out with a hop forward. Like Artur Dalaloyan, Nagornyy sets himself apart with his skill selection. He doesn’t do the exact same moves as everyone else. And it’s great. 14.933.

Kazuma Kaya (JPN), HB: Tak half. Layout Tkatchev. Tkatchev. Hop full. Tak full to Yama, well done. German giant, a bit labored coming out of it. Double double layout, hop back. 13.966.

Allan Bower (USA), PB: Front flip. Peach, struggles to get to handstand. Geinger. Inside Diamidov. Diamidov. Front straddle somie. Stutz, again a shadow of a struggle. Double pike, step to the side. 12.9.

Petro Pakhniuk (UKR), PB: Front flip. Peach half. Giant. Peach. Diamidov. Front straddle somie. Inside Diamidov. Back toss quarter. Double front half out, small hop. 14.766.

Rotation 6:

Jamie Lewis (GBR), HB: Yama. Tkatchev. Great extension in Endos. Tak half. Stalder. Full twisting double layout with a step. 12.833.

Christian Baumann (SUI), FX: Randi. 2.5 to front layout, hop. Arabian double front. Double full, stuck. A little tired in his flairs after several good tumbling passes. Triple full, large step to the side/forward. Not easy ending on floor. 12.533.

Nikita Nagornyy (RUS), HB: Needs six points to go into the lead. Layout Tkatchev. Layout Tkatchev half. Tak full, exactly right. Tak hafl, a little wild. Tkatchev. Tkatchev half. Stalder. Hand down on underrotated double double layout dismount. Oops. Not the way to finish the day, but his lead is likely to cover him, especially since Sun Wei did something similar on vault. His first five were awesome. 13.2.

Bart Deurloo (NED), FX: Double front half out, small shuffle back. Whip half to front 2/1. 1.5 to front 1/1. 2.5 to front layout half. Arabian double front, hop forward. 13.9.

Allan Bower (USA), HB: Yama. One armed giant. Tak full. Kovacs. Tkatchev. Endo. Stalder. Full twisting double layout, a tad piked in the air but stuck. 13.266.

Kazuma Kaya (JPN), FX: Great opening front double tuck half out. Front double pike. Front 2/1 to front 1/1. Double full. 2.5 to front layout half. Just the dismount: triple full, stumbles forward and puts his hand down. Ah, too bad! 13.366.

Petro Pakhniuk (UKR), HB: German giant. Tkatchev. Tkatchev half. Tak full. Tak half. Hop full. Full twisting double layout with a hop. Pakhniuk is pleased with his day. 13.766.

Joe Fraser (GBR), FX: Double double tuck, well controlled. Front 2/1 to front layout half. 2.5 to Rudi, small hop. Double full. Full twisting double tuck, done from a roundoff and stuck cold. Great way to end his day in Birmingham! 13.866.

Sun Wei (CHN), HB: Tak full. Layout Tkatchev to Tkatchev half. Tak half. Layout Tkatchev half. Yama. Double double layout, very clean, just a tiny hop forward. A medal for sure! 14.266 is good for silver.

GOLD - Nikita Nagornyy, RUS, 85.065
SILVER - Sun Wei, CHN, 84.73
BRONZE - Kazuma Kaya, JPN, 83.731
4 - Joe Fraser, GBR, 83.265
5 - Petro Pakhniuk, UKR, 82.33
6 - Allan Bower, USA, 80.898
7 - Bart Deurloo, NED, 80.532
8 - Christian Baumann, SUI, 78.797
9 - Jamie Lewis, GBR, 78.231

Quick hits: Stuttgart World Cup, Men's All-around final

Artur Dalaloyan. Credit: Instagram/real_artur

Artur Dalaloyan. Credit: Instagram/real_artur

Rotation 1:

Akash Modi (USA), FX: Front double pike, hop forward. 2.5 to front 1/1 layout. Front 2/1 to front layout half. Randi, small hop. Double full, stuck. Triple full with a small hop forward to end. Good start for Akash, smiling in the kiss & cry. 13.433.

Frank Baines (GBR), FX: Lonnnng wait beside the floor for Modi's score. Front 2/1 to front layout half, stuck. Double front pike, stuck. Beautiful double double tuck, tiny hop. 2.5 to front layout. Double full, tiny hop. Arabian double, tiny hop. Great routine. 14.166.

Eddy Yusof (SUI), FX: Double front tuck half, step back. Open double double tuck. Front 2/1 to front half. 1.5 to front 1/1. Not as precise in his landings as the first two, but sticks double tuck. Ends the exercise as he starts it: full in with a step back. 13.366.

Marcel Nguyen (GER), FX: Double front pike half out, steps. Double layout 1/1, stuck. OOB on third pass. Lots of applause and encouragement from the GER crowd, and interestingly, a respectful silence during his press handstand. Full in, bounces back and just OOB again. 13.433.

Teppei Miwa (JPN), floor: The 18-year-old some sweet encouragement from his coach before he stepped into the corner. Double front pike, small hop. 3.5 twist. 1.5 to front 2/1. Double full, small hop. 2.5 to front layout half, stuck. Triple full, small hop forward. Classic JPN. 13.8.

Sun Wei (CHN), FX: Front double pike, hop. Wonderful double layout, like he's flying. Hands down on 2.5 to front layout half, mistimed. Oops. Front 1/1 to Rudi. A little too long in the corner before his triple full last pass, looked like he was conserving energy. 12.266.

Petro Pakhniuk (UKR), FX: Double double tuck, stumbles backward, saves it. Randi. Front 2/1 to front tuck half. 2.5 to front tuck 1/1. He manages to get to his feet though sometimes he looks like he's not going to. Triple full. Sigh of relief. 13.133.

Bart Deurloo (NED), FX: Double front tuck half out, stumbles back and out of bounds. Whoops. 1.5 to front 2/1. 2.5 to front 1/1 (I think). Great stuck Arabian double front to end though. Saved the best for last! 13.6.

Artur Dalaloyan (RUS), FX: The Germans love Artur Dalaloyan, and introduce him as "King Artur." Front 2/1 to Randi. Front layout to double front pike half out. Double double tuck, hop. 2.5 to front 2/1, small hop. 1.5 to Rudi. Triple full. Not quite as precise as he might be, but that was a very good routine. Not easy, either. 14.366.

Rotation 2:

Sun Wei (CHN), PH: 14.4 for a hit set. Sun Wei on the upswing after that fall on floor. 14.4.

Petro Pakhniuk (UKR), PH: Long and complex routine with a non-dismount. Gets through the majority well, gets a little tired on his last Russian travel and takes some leg form. All in all positive, though. Petro seems to think so too - big smile! 14.333.

Eddy Yusof (SUI), PH: Efficient routine, swung fast. Just a little struggle going up to handstand on the dismount, but he acquitted himself well overall. 13.366 -- fair, not that much difficulty in it.

Akash Modi (USA), PH: Another very long, very complex set. Well swung until the end -- he was tired, had trouble getting to the handstand on his dismount and then didn't finish the pirouette. He gives a thumbs up anyway and gets some extra encouragement from the crowd. 13.466.

Marcel Nguyen (GER), PH: A bit low on his one pommel work, but maybe the applause of the crowd helped him through it. Survived without a fall on an event that he doesn't really look like he enjoys. Looks relieved in the kiss and cry. 13.066.

Bart Deurloo (NED), PH: Clean routine from Bart. Highlight was the travelling Russian across the horse. He sits down next to Petro Pakhniuk, who is still obviously delighted about his routine, and grinning broadly. 13.833.

Tippei Miwa (JPN), PH: Like Modi, it was great right up until the dismount, when he just ran out of gas and couldn't complete it. His coach seems quite nurturing with him, and seemed to reassure him as he walked off. 12.166.

Frank Baines (GBR), PH: Hit routine! Amazing Busnari with two pirouettes (most guys only do one) traveling across the horse. The rest was clean. Good for him! 13.433.

Artur Dalaloyan (RUS), PH: Oh yes! Impressive hit routine with tons of variety. Scissors, Busnari, flairs, circle travels, the kitchen sink, all very well delivered. 14.066. Seeing the score finally gets a reaction from him, and he breaks into a big smile.

Rotation 3:

Teppei Miwa (JPN), SR: Once again, the dismount does him in. The interior of the routine was very good -- correct strength parts, correct delivery. But takes several steps back on double double tuck, though he did save it. 13.066.

Marcel Nguyen (GER), SR: The 31-year-old puts on a show for the home crowd on one of his best events, topping things off with a stuck full twisting double layout. 14.4 incites a spontaneous round of applause. 14.4.

Sun Wei (CHN), SR: A lot of beauty in all his routines, not just technical precision. Kicks out of his double double tuck dismount, finds the floor and sticks it cold. 12.966. Apparently I liked it more than the judges.

Akash Modi (USA), SR: Hit set, holds on for the stick on the double double tuck dismount. Akash is really pleased with that routine, plays to the crowd a little bit as he heads to the kiss and cry! 13.966.

13.766 on rings gives Bart Deurloo the lead at this point. A much happier outing for him so far in Stuttgart compared to the American Cup two weeks ago.

It's been great to see all the competitors enthusiastic here, but nobody is having a better time than Petro Pakhniuk, who came away from the rings podium pumping his fists and smiling from ear to ear. 13.2 puts him fourth right now.

Artur Dalaloyan (RUS), SR: More gorgeous work. Wonderful angles, great precision. Full twisting double layout dismount, stuck. 14.5 will keep him in the lead.

Rotation 4:

Teppei Miwa (JPN), VT: Tsuk triple with a hop. Catlike landing. Nicely done. 14.733.

Sun Wei (CHN), VT: An even better Tsuk triple. Wonderful. 15.000.

Eddy Yusof (SUI), VT: Tsuk double pike, a bit tucked in the air but very nice, small step back. 14.366.

Frank Baines (GBR), vault: Handspring Rudi. 4.8 D, not difficult compared to some of the vaults in this field, but very well done. Gets above 9 in execution, which gives him 14.033.

Petro Pakhniuk (UKR), vault: Tsuk 2.5, hop forward. Another fist pump. What a happy competitor! 14.266 puts him in the lead at the moment.

Akash Modi (USA), VT: Tsuk 2.5 with a hop forward. Landed a little bit offline -- right foot over the white line. 14.1 gives him 54.965, and he takes the lead with three competitors still to come...

Marcel Nguyen (GER), VT: A handspring double front that could not be more cowboyed, but he gets it to his feet. Nearly lands lock-legged but not quite, fortunately. 13.922.

Bart Deurloo (NED), VT: Tsuk 2.5, great in the air and nearly stuck, just a small step back, finally. 14.4 puts him first at the moment.

Artur Dalaloyan (RUS), VT: Piked Dragulescu! Some leg form (bent and separated), a bit of a stumble on landing, but still. Piked Dragulescu! 14.766.

Rotation 5:

Teppei Miwa (JPN), PB: Underbalances a handstand right before his double pike dismount, has to bend arms. That throws off his concentration, and then he sits the double pike. Too bad! The rest was great. Learning experience. 13.433.

Sun Wei (CHN): Peach half, peach. Giant. Uprise front straddle somie. Clips his foot a little on a swinging skill but no big deal. Belle. Inside Diamadov. Double front half out tucked, hop back. 14.5.

Frank Baines (GBR), PB: English handstand. Diamadov. Little struggle on one handstand. Double pike dismount with a step back. Maybe his roughest routine of the day so far, but he survived. 13.8.

Marcel Nguyen (GER), PB: His teammates, sitting in the stands, are coaching him through this routine. Impressive as ever from the 2012 Olympic silver medalist on this event, ending with full twisting double tuck dismount (just a hop). 14.666.

Eddy Yusof (SUI), PB: Takes a dramatic, gasp-inducing fall off the parallel bars on either a Belle or a Bhavsar. Lays there as if dead for a good five seconds before getting up. Appreciative applause from the audience as he finishes.

Petro Pakhniuk (UKR), PB: Another excellent routine from Pakhniuk. Double front with a half twist. 14.833. Pakhniuk adds a salute to his fist bumps here. His Yul Moldauer impression, perhaps?

Akash Modi (USA), PB: Great routine interior but lands on all fours on his full twisting double tuck dismount. That's a shame -- 13.233 that puts him fifth at this point.

Bart Deurloo (NED), PB: Basically falls attempting a Diamadov into handstand on one rail, an extremely hard skill. Covers it up by doing a half pirouette and kipping off, but the crowd (and likely the judges) are not fooled. 12.2.

Artur Dalaloyan (RUS), PB: Clear hip mount. Diamadov. Stutz. Tippelt. Bhavsar. Front straddle somie. Inside Diamadov. Uprise to double front pike dismount! 15.066.

One of the many cool things about Artur Dalaloyan is that he's innovative. He isn't doing the same skills as everyone else. That, combined with his excellent presentation, sets him apart even further.

Rotation 6:

Eddy Yusof (SUI), HB: Lots of Tkatchev variations, Tak half way out of handstand. Nearly sticks his double double layout, but finally has to step back. 13.733.

Teppei Miwa (JPN), HB: Cassina. Kolman. Layout Tkatchev half. Layout Tkatchev to Tkatchev. Hop 1.5. Double double layout, tiny hop. The Germans, who love high bar more than any other apparatus, adore this routine. 14.466.

Bart Deurloo (NED), HB: Tak half. Cassina. Kovacs to Kolman. Tak full (angle) to Yama. Double double layout with a hop. 14.2.

Akash Modi (USA), HB: Tkatchev, layout Tkatchev, Tkatchev half, has to muscle a handstand...layout Tkatchev half. Double double layout, tiny hop. 13.9.

Frank Baines (GBR), HB: Tkatchev. Tkatchev half. Falls on Tak full, which would have been beautiful had he not fallen on it. Floats and sticks his full twisting double layout dismount. 12.166.

Sun Wei (CHN), HB: Layout Tkatchev to Tkatchev half. Layout Tkatchev half. Bit of originality with hop to mixed grip to Yama, not bothering to try a Tak. Double double layout with a small hop. Nice routine. 14.333.

Marcel Nguyen (GER), HB: Complete respectful silence in the hall as Marcel performs -- except from his teammates, who can't stop shouting their support at him. Tkatchevs, a Kovacs, a Kolman, a double double layout with a hop. Marcel takes a bow. 13.366.

Petro Pakhniuk (UKR), HB: Second coming into this rotation. German giants. Tkatchev. Tkatchev half. Tak variations, half and full. Full twisting double layout with a step back. 13.566. He looks just delighted. This is his day!

Artur Dalaloyan (RUS), HB: The first thing he does is come off on his Cassina. And it was going so, so well! Kovacs. Layout Tkatchev half. Tak half. Off again on layout Tkatchev! Ooooooo....

The upshot: Despite two falls on high bar on his last event, Artur Dalaloyan wins the Stuttgart World Cup with a 84.497 total, ahead of Sun Wei and Petro Pakhniuk. Rough ending for the world champ, but high bar shouldn't overshadow his other 5 events, which were excellent with a capital E.

Results

1 - Artur Dalaloyan, Russia, 84.497
2 - Sun Wei, China, 83.465
3 - Petro Pakhniuk, Ukraine, 83.331
4 - Marcel Nguyen, Germany, 82.864
5 - Akash Modi, USA, 82.098
6 - Bart Deurloo, Netherlands, 81.999
7 - Teppei Miwa, Japan, 81.664
8 - Eddy Yusof, Switzerland, 80.697
9 - Frank Baines, Great Britain, 80.631

Notes from Podium Training at the Stuttgart World Cup

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STUTTGART - To watch women’s podium training is like watching an extended preview of the next episode of your favorite TV drama. While it doesn’t give away the ending, you glean all sorts of details about the goings-on of your favorite characters. There are few secrets in women’s training at meets like the Stuttgart World Cup: If someone has an exciting new beam series or has changed their floor choreography or is thinking about maybe potentially throwing a Produnova vault, it shows up in training, clear as day.

By comparison, men’s podium training is extremely relaxed. The guys stretch, shake out their muscles, windmill their arms, swing bent-legged giants on high bar, cast to handstand on parallel bars and stay there for a bit, also with bent legs, and run down the vault runway and execute tremendously explosive front handspring vaults, the kind you see from level fives, only way, way better. Those things being accomplished, they often seem to retire for the night. Most of the time, the observer learns next to nothing.

It was worth it to come anyway, I thought, to see Artur Dalaloyan. The reigning world champion who was so convincing in his five-medal haul last fall in Doha finished in the neighborhood of seventeenth at last week’s Russian Championships. (Granted, he was sick and unprepared.) I was curious as to whether watching him train will give an indication of how much of that mid-70s all-around score he got in Penza was sickness and how much was being unprepared.

The first thing to notice about Dalaloyan’s technique is that it’s really, really beautiful. Russian technique in general is excellent; Dalaloyan surpasses excellence. Although short and muscular, he moves like a lynx, and everything is perfectly extended. That was clear. What wasn’t was where he really is physically -- he did a few circles on pommel horse, a few moves on rings and basic stuff on parallel bars; nothing close to a full routine. He dropped off rings rather than hold an iron cross at one point. His problem, if he’s going to have one Saturday, is likely to be endurance, not individual skills.

Other small observations:

Japan’s Teppei Miwa got lots of support from his coach, who clapped at everything he did, even if he fell, as though to say, “Hey, gymnastics is hard. You almost caught that bar -- you’ll get there!”

Great Britain’s Frank Baines, the 2012 junior European all-around champion, was the guy working the hardest on the eve of this World Cup. He was all over the gym, doing full sets on almost everything.

The Netherlands’s Bart Deurloo was also building up quite a sweat coming off a not amazing day at the American Cup two weeks ago. The one who snuck out early? That was Ukraine’s Petro Pakhnyuk.

Sun Wei, part of China’s world championship team last year, continues to show great form on all events. It’s not next level a la Dalaloyan, but it is extremely easy to watch.

Akash Modi’s first warmup turn on high bar included some giants and a big stuck double double layout. The last thing Modi did was a sweet multiple-combination release sequence on high bar, meriting a fist bump from his coach. Which just goes to show, if you wait around a bit, the guys do do real gymnastics -- it just takes them awhile to get going.

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