Men's Gymnastics

Kohei Uchimura's sweet message of encouragement to Mai Murakami: 'Let's work hard together'

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Kohei Uchimura can relate to what Mai Murakami’s going through. At a low time for both of Japan’s biggest gymnastics stars, Uchimura, the reigning “king” of the sport, reached out to Murakami to offer words of comfort after both were left off teams that will represent Japan at the World Championships in Stuttgart this fall.

Injuries have hindered two-time Olympic champion Uchimura’s progress, culminating in a dismal showing at the Japanese national championships earlier this spring and effectively ending his chance to be named to the world team. Murakami, for her part, was essentially declared ineligible for Stuttgart after she opted to skip one of the world qualifying events earlier this spring due to a back injury. Due to the perplexing (and seemingly ironclad) selection procedures by the national federation, Murakami was out of the running even before the running had concluded.

So a little commiseration was definitely in order. “Let’s fix it and work hard together,” was the gist of an e-mail Uchimura recently sent to Murakami, the 2017 world floor champion told Yahoo Sports Japan. “I was so happy to hear from someone like him, because I was a bit depressed and I thought, ‘I’m not alone,’” she said.

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Both Uchimura and Murakami are beloved international stars, though certainly not the only ones capable of doing Japan proud on the international stage. Japan’s men’s world team is made up of national champion Kakeru Tanigawa, his older brother Wataru Tanigawa, 2010 Youth Olympic all-around gold medalist Yuya Kamoto, world team gold medalist Kazuma Kaya, and 17-year-old newcomer Daiki Hashimoto. Olympians Asuka Teramoto and Aiko Sugihara will lead the women’s team, which also includes Nagi Kajita, Hitomi Hatakeda and Akari Matsumura.

The Japanese men have already qualified a full team to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by dint of finishing third in the team competition at last fall’s Worlds in Doha. The Japanese women, who have yet to punch their tickets to Tokyo, should meet that goal safely even without Murakami, since all they need to do is finish inside the top 12 in Stuttgart. They were sixth in 2018.

Competition for the four-person Olympic team is bound to be intense in Japan, where both the men’s and women’s teams are deeper than ever. But neither Uchimura, who wants to finish his storied career before his public in Tokyo, nor Murakami are giving up. “I sent a reply saying ‘I will do my best,” Murakami noted. “This encouragement is the best medicine.”

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

Blythe Lawrence is a sportswriter from Seattle. Follow her on Twitter @rockergymnastix.

Jade Carey will have her ‘perfect 90’ on vault. Has she qualified for Tokyo 2020? Not yet.

Olympic qualification through the individual apparatus world cup events is a game of threes: if you’re a gymnast aiming for one of the four women’s and six men’s spots up for grabs to Tokyo 2020, your best three performances count toward your ultimate world cup rank.

The surest way to win the Olympic spot? Win your event at least three times over the eight-stop world cup series. That way, you achieve a number of ranking points that can only be tied, not beaten.

On Saturday, world pommel horse bronze medalist Lee Chih-Kai did just that. With victories on horse from the Cottbus, Melbourne and Doha World Cups, Lee has achieved the “perfect 90” — 90 world cup ranking points at 30 per victory. Since only a gymnast’s best three performances are taken into account, Lee simply can’t do any better.

Has Lee sealed his Olympic spot? No. Not yet.

The question follows: what happens if one gymnast wins pommel horse -- or uneven bars, or floor, or beam, or anything -- at three world cups, and another gymnast wins the same event three times at three other world cup events? Who gets the spot? The International Gymnastics Federation has a tiebreaker in place, which is as follows:

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The U.S.’s Jade Carey, for the moment at least, is in a slightly different boat. She has two victories on vault and one second place finish. Her second place came behind Brazil’s Rebeca Andrade, who is highly likely to help Brazil qualify a full team to Tokyo at this fall’s World Championships, thus disqualifying her from earning an individual spot through the world cup series. The FIG has confirmed that points will be redistributed in such a way following the 2019 World Championships that if a gymnast becomes ineligible to win the world cup series, her points are deleted and everyone behind her moves up.

After that disqualification, the points will be redistributed among the eligible competitors -- and Carey will have achieved ninety. After that, the only way she wouldn’t have the spot is if someone else, say a Maria Paseka, also racks up three wins and her total score is higher than the sum of Carey’s scores, she’ll get the spot, but only then.

So Carey can sleep easier for now. Lee too has to hope that the three scores he’s laid down are enough — while Carey has Paseka hot on her heels, Lee may feel pressure from Japan’s Kohei Kameyama, the 2013 World champion on pommel horse, who won in Baku two weeks ago, and could potentially win more. The game is not yet up, and won’t be until next year.

Quick hits: Doha World Cup finals, Day 2

Jade Carey of the United States.

Jade Carey of the United States.

Men’s Vault:

Jorge Vega Lopez (GUA), VT: Excellent handspring Randi, great in the air, great height, just a large step to the left due to underrotation. He compromised the landing rather than give away any execution deductions in the air. 14.266. Second vault Tsuk 2.5, similiar issue with the landing — underrotated, big step. 14.033, 14.149 average.

Loris Frasca (FRA), VT: 1st reserve is in this final due to injury to Chris Remkes. Very good Tsuk triple. Frankly looks like he could add another half twist to that if he wanted. 14.666. Then Dragulescu, some steps back but not bad. The French have produced some excellent vaulters over the years — Thomas Bouhail, Benoit Caranobe, etc, and he’s the latest. 14.6, 14.633 average.

Tseng Wei-Sheng (TPE), VT: Falls backwards on Tsuk double pike, too much backward momentum but very good in the air. 13.833. Handspring double front, again too much rotation, big steps forward. Still, promising. 14.241, 14.037 average.

Giarnni Regini-Moran (GBR), VT: The 2014 Youth Olympic star shows off a Randi, sizable step back, small amount of helicopter legs show up in the slo-mo, but otherwise very good. 14.8. Half on front double full, small hop forward. Nice job. 14.5, 14.65 average.

Yang Hak-seon (KOR), VT: The rejuvenated 2012 Olympic champion shows his vault, the Yang, handspring front triple full, and it's beautiful. Just a step forward. Form, rotation, speed, a wow jump in every respect. 15.466 is a wow score too. Tsuk triple, hop back, excellence again. 15.066, 15.266 average.

Igor Radivilov is going to really have to bring his A-game to top 2012 Olympic vault champion Yang Hak-seon, who just threw down a fabulous Yang and excellent Tsuk triple.

Artur Davtyan (ARM), VT: Dragulescu, amazing, stuck. Coach is jumping up and down, as he should be. Well! 15.058. Davtyan takes a seat to the side of the runway, Anyway, second vault is Tsuk 2.5, gives it away with a huge step to the side. 14.333, 14.695 average.

Igor Radivilov (UKR), VT: Terrific Dragulescu, delivered as only a man who has trained a handspring triple front can. Just a little hop. 14.9. Second vault is a Tsuk double pike, lands like a dart, just a step forward. 14.933 for 14.916 average, well done.

Marian Dragulescu (ROU), VT: Dragulescu to his hands and knees. Didn’t have the block or the height he needed to do his own vault well. 13.6. Roundoff, half on, Rudi off, makes it look easy. 14.133 for second vault.

GOLD - Yang Hak-seon, KOR, 15.266
SILVER - Igor Radivilov, UKR, 14.916
BRONZE - Artur Davtyan, ARM, 14.695

Balance Beam:

Nina Derwael (BEL), BB: Roundoff, layout stepout mount. Bhs, layout. Solid as anything so far. Front aerial. Side somie. Switch, split. Triple (or 2.5?) wolf turn. Double (or 1.5?) wolf turn, small wobble. Gainer full off the end, just a small hop. She really gave nothing away in that routine. Almost complete mastery in both her exercises here and on bars. 13.633.

Marine Boyer (FRA), BB: Front aerial, split jump, tuck half. Roundoff, layout to two feet, just great. Switch, pause, switch half. Wobble on full turn with leg up. Side aerial. Split leap to side somie to split half, small wobble. Double tuck dismount, stuck! 13.333.

Adela Sajn (SLO), BB: The 2008 Olympian shows scissone, wolf jumps. Double turn. Side aerial to side aerial to side somie, sweet combo. Standing back tuck. Front aerial. Wolf jump full. Illusion. Roundoff, 1.5 twist dismount. Unique routine with unusual skill choice. 12.833.

Ting Hua-Tien (TPE), BB: The eponymous back dive mount causes gasps in the Doha crowd. Front aerial, split jump, straddle. Switch to ring jump. Bhs, back pike (falls). Side aerial. Front layout full dismount, step backward. 12.4.

Yumika Nakamura (JPN), BB: Back dive mount. Switch, split. Bhs, layout, balance check. Nearly comes off on switch ring. Side aerial. Nearly off again on front aerial. Double tuck dismount, lands low, step forward. 11.8.

Li Qi (CHN), BB: Press mount, Switch, sheep, bhs, lovely. Roundoff, layout to two feet to immediate straddle, impeccable. Front aerial, split, Onodi, double stag, awesome! Side aerial, straddle, Korbut. Double full, a tiny hop. Wonderful routine! 14.333 moves her into first.

Soyoka Hanawa (JPN), BB: Middle splits mount. Bhs, tucked full (falls). Nice bhs, layout, layout series later on. Switch ring, small wobble. 2.5 twist dismount, hop to the side. Ambitious routine, would be beautiful if she put it all together. 11.466.

Aneta Holasova (CZE), BB: Roundoff, layout stepout mount, more oohs from the audience. Bhs, layout, layout, nice! Front aerial to split. Very aggressive on this event. Switch, split, straddle. Bhs, bhs, double pike, just a step forward. So impressed with her go-get-it under pressure here. 12.8.

GOLD - Li Qi, CHN, 14.333
SILVER - Nina Derwael, BEL, 13.633
BRONZE - Marine Boyer, FRA, 13.333

Parallel Bars:

Ferhat Arican (TUR), PB: Front flip. English handstand, held with some imbalance, into Diamidov. Falls on peach half attempt (I think). There's not a lot of in-between with Arican -- he's brilliant or he comes off. Today, unfortunately, he came off. Stuck double front half out. 13.9.

Mitchell Morgans (AUS), PB: Front flip. Peach half, small hesitation. Peach. Giant full to English handstand to inside Diamidov, nice. Diamidov. Stutz. Stuck double pike. After Australia's very bad day yesterday, how nice for him to deliver this hit set! 14.566.

Vasilii Mikhalitsyn (BLR), PB: Front flip. Peach to English handstand, well done. Peach half, tidy. Inside Diamidov. Diamidov. Stutz. Front layout full twist dismount, something we don't see too often. Beautiful lines throughout. 14.383.

Matteo Levantesi (ITA), PB: Giant, giant full, English handstand, struggles to one handstand...Bhavsar. Gienger. Short on a couple of handstands and just a layout dismount. Hm. 12.866.

Zou Jingyuan (CHN), PB: The sort of routine that makes you feel glad to be alive -- and for him, it wasn't even his best. Overbalanced one handstand just a little, but it doesn't matter. He's going to win by like a point and a half. 15.7.

Vladyslav Polyashov (CHN), PB: Peach half. Giant to English handstand. Insuide Diamidov. Tippelt. Bhavsar. Small overbalance in one handstand. Front flip. Front straddle somie. Double front half out. Nice set from the best Russian gymnast you've never heard of...yet. 15.066.

Andrei Likhovitskiy (BLR), PB: Clear hip half. Giant. Peach. Tippelt. Hesitation on press handstand after back toss 1/4 to the side...Stutz. Double pike dismount, just a tiny step. 14.366.

Phuong Thanh Dinh (VIE), PB: Front flip. Stops briefly after a swing element but does his best to cover. The rest of the routine was solid. Double pike with a small step. Not sure that's going to give him bronze ahead of Mitchell Morgans...13.633.

GOLD - Zou Jingyuan, CHN, 15.7
SILVER - Vladyslav Polyashov, RUS, 15.066
BRONZE - Mitchell Morgans, AUS, 14.566

Women’s Floor Exercise:

Coline Devillard (FRA), FX: Double layout, bounds out of bounds. Front layout walkout to double tuck, stuck that one. Double pike, stepped back and may have put her foot out again, hard to tell. Dismounts with just a layout full. 12.4.

Vanessa Ferrari (ITA), FX: Double layout, small hop back. Music that makes you think of the ballerina in an old fashioned jewelry box. Full in tuck. Switch ring to Tourjete full combo. Kind of stumbles out of double turn with leg at head combo, covers well. Front layout 1/1. 13.3.

Kim Bui (GER), FX: Split 1/1. Great double layout, stuck. Tourjete 1/1. Bounces out of double tuck slightly. Swtch to switch 1/1. A fun, modern piece of music that suits her wonderfully. 2.5 to front pike, stuck. Double pike, step back. Enjoyable to watch. If every pass were like her first one, she’d be a medal contender, but unfortunately there’s not enough torque in this routine to really make her a medal contender. But it’s a well-delivered, enjoyable piece all the same. 13.033.

Varvara Zubova (RUS), FX: Full in, rather labored. Double tuck, hop back. Double turn with leg at head to illusion. 2.5 to punch front. Switch ring. Double pike, stuck. Dramatic symphony music and some cute choreo, but she doesn't make the tumbling lines look easy, frankly. 13.1.

Marta Pihan-Kulesza (POL), FX: Her "Pink Panther," an iconic routine. 2.5 to front layout 1/1, excellent. Arabian double front to rather underdone stag jump. Went for quad turn (I think) but won't get credit for it. Front 2/1 great though. Marta rounding into form before Euros in her hometown Szczecin. 13.233.

Lara Mori (ITA), FX: Whip to full in, almost too much power, steps back. Switch ring to switch side half. 2.5 to front layout with a hop. Triple full. Very entertaining performer, tons of energy and pizzazz. Double pike, a tad short, steps forward. 13.433 puts her first right now.

Jade Carey (USA), FX: Moors, excellent, bounces back but keeps it in bounds. Full twisting double layout, great landing. Double double, small hop back. Improved execution in her dance, though the tumbling is still the highlight. Double tuck, made it look easy. Hit routine! 14.466.

Marine Boyer (FRA), FX: A new routine for Marine for 2019 I believe! 2.5 to punch front. Switch half. Double turn with leg at head. Double tuck, perfect stick. Wolf turn double. Double tuck, too much power, stumbles back a little. 13.2.

GOLD - Jade Carey, USA, 14.466
SILVER - Lara Mori, ITA, 13.433
BRONZE - Vanessa Ferrari, ITA, 13.3

High Bar:

Alexei Rostov (RUS), HB: Cassina, legs a tad bent. Kolman, nothing wrong with that. Layout Tkatchev. Tkatchev half. Flexes feet on Tak full. Tak half. Hands down on dismount, double double layout. 13.291.

Randy Leru (CUB), HB: One arm giant. Liukin, stylish! Layout Tkatchev to Tkatchev to Tkatch half. Layout Tkatchev half. Stalders etc. Good high full twisting double layout with a tiny hop. 14.0.

Hidetaka Miyachi (JPN), HB: One of the recent greats on this event due to his mastery of Kovacs-style skills shows wonderful double twisting layout Kovacs, his own skill, followed by Cassina, Kolman, Kovacs, the kitchen sink. Wonderful set -- the audience adores it! Terrific speed too. Flares out his full twisting double layout dismount and allows himself some celebration. 14.3.

Milad Karimi (KAZ), HB: Yama. Cassina, nice. Kovacs, beautiful! Kolman too. Hop 1.5. Endo. And loses it on an inverts skill, has to swing the other way. Too bad! No medal for him here today...12.566.

Epke Zonderland (NED), HB: Cassina to Kovacs and comes off! Oops. He and Tin Srbic are really the two who stand in the way of Miyachi winning this event here, and he's just taken himself out of contention, which is a chance for Srbic. Epke sticks his double double layout dismount for good measure and shrugs in the kiss and cry. 12.966.

Deng Shudi (CHN), HB: Layout Tkatchev to layout Tkatchev half. Tkatchev. Off on Tkatchev half, just couldn't get his hands around the bar. In the stands, Li Qi is completely unmoved. Yama. Stuck double double layout.

Carlo Macchini (ITA). HB: Kolman. Hop 1.5. Swings the other way on a Tak full, oops. Tak half, nice. Stuck full twisting double layout. So everyone’s sticking the dismount, but the interior has been a bit dodgy for some. 13.3.

Tin Srbic (CRO), HB: Ricna, powerful and unusual for a man to perform. Tkatchev, layout Tkatchev, Tkatchev half. Layout Tkatchev half. Steps on his full twisting double layout dismount. Great all the way through but wondering if he gave the gold away on that dismount..nope! 14.4.

GOLD - Tin Srbic, CRO, 14.4
SILVER - Hidetaka Miyachi, JPN, 14.3
BRONZE - Randy Leru, CUB, 14.0

Quick hits: Doha World Cup finals, Day 1

Maria Paseka of Russia.

Maria Paseka of Russia.

Men’s Floor:

Xiao Ruoteng (CHN), FX: Randi, stuck, nice. 2.5 to front layout half. Rolls out of double double tuck, not enough rotation. Oops. 5/2 to 2/1 front. Flairs. 2/1. 3/1 with a step back. 13.166.

Ahmet Onder (TUR), FX: Double double layout, stuck, really nice. 1.5 to Rudi, slightly untidy landing. Full in to end. 14.266.

Alexander Shatilov (ISR), FX: Front double pike, tiny hop. 2.5 to front 2/1. Good high double double, stuck. 1.5 to front full to Rudi, good. 2/1. Full in to end, stuck. A lot of stick in that routine, very good. 14.633. Happy birthday Sasha!

Carlos Yulo (PHI), FX: Beautiful running front double front pike half out. Amazing 2.5 to Randi, stumbled a bit on landing but so much air! 3.5 to tuck half. 2/1. Front 1/1 to front 2/1. 3/1, small hop. 14.266.

Jonathan Vrolix (BEL): The surprise of quals...Front 2/1 to double front, small hop. Front double pike, stuck cold. 2.5 to front layout half, small hop. 1.5 to front 1/1. Didn't see last pass, alas.

Rayderley Zapata (ESP), FX: 1.5 to front double pike, springy. Front double pike half out. Same thing tucked. Double Arabisn half out. Double full, bounces upwards on landing. High 2.5 to front half. Double layout with a couple of steps. He has the highest hurdle you’ve ever seen in your life. Interesting technique. 14.433.

Emil Soravuo (FIN), FX: Great high double double tuck. 1.5 to front 2/1. 2.5 to Rudi, stuck. Double full. Front layout, front layout half. Triple full. A testament to the 2014 Youth Olympian's form that with significantly less diff than many others he makes these finals. 14.233.

Chris Remkes (AUS) has hurt his left knee landing his triple double layout on floor. Poor guy! It was an awkward landing. He's being attended to on the floor. No doubt that's an ACL injury via the replay — bone went out and seems to have gone back in. But that hurts a lot.

GOLD - Shatilov
SILVER - Zapata

Women’s Vault:

Coline Devillard (FRA), VT: Terrific handspring Rudi. Looked great in the air, just a step back. 14.933. Then DTY with another step back. But looks so clean in the air, well done! 14.166. 14.549 average.

Maria Paseka (RUS), VT: Cheng, lands offline and hops to the side. Bent legs in the air. Was better in qualification. 14.433. Amanar, STUCK. Wow. Best Amanar of her career, that. 15.1. 14.766 average.

Emily Thomas (GBR), VT: Yurchenko 1.5, step to the side but very nice in the air. 14.033. Tsuk full, basically stuck, tiniest of hops. 13.666. 13.849 average.

Marina Nekrasova (AZE), VT: Sits underrotated Tsuk 1.5. 12.333. Nice handspring front pike full, offline on the landing and a step to the side. But otherwise quite good. 14.1. 13.216 average.

Jade Carey (USA), VT: Very good Cheng, but rather a lunge backward. 15.066, excellent. Second vault: DTY, same step on landing. 14.7, 14.883 puts her first so far! In the Carey vs. Paseka battle, Carey takes this round.

Alexa Moreno (MEX), VT: Rudi, ground comes up a little fast for her, chest low and rather big step forward. 14.4. Tsuk double full, another big lunge back. Other than that, a nice vault.

Oksana Chusovitina (UZB), VT: Tucks her Rudi down from the block. Just didn’t get the push she needed at all - hand placement looked off from the beginning. 13,866. Second vault is Tsuk 1.5, stumbles sideways a bit on the landing but good in the air. 13.866 for second vault and 13.866 total.

Gabriela Janik (POL), VT: Replacement for Marcia Vidiaux of Cuba, who withdrew from the final. A head taller than every other finalist. Tsuk full with a step. 13.666. Handspring front tuck full, very high, just a hop on landing. 13.766, 13.716 average.

GOLD - Carey
SILVER - Paseka
BRONZE - Devillard

Pommel Horse:

Harutyun Merdinyan (ARM), PH: The 2016 Olympian gets through his Busnari and Russians between the pommels without breaking his swing. Tiniest of struggles in the handstand pirouette dismount. 14.666.

Kohei Kameyama (JPN), PH: Begins with a beautiful scissor to handstand. Very nice flairs sequence. Fights determinedly through the dismount — someone wants to go to Tokyo! 15.4. Well!

Kaito Imabayashi (JPN), PH: Being cheered through this routine by his teammates and coach, it sounds like. He’s less fluid than Kameyama in my opinion, but hits this routine and then launches into a podium party the likes of which we haven’t seen yet today in Doha. 15.3333/6.8.

Lee Chih-Kai (TPE), PH: Gorgeous work from the flairmaster! Hit routine. Seemed to me he clipped his foot early in the routine, but it didn’t deter him at all. The only pommel horse routine in which the crowd was applauding midway through because those flairs are so cool to watch. 15.4 ties him with Kameyama at this point.

Stephen Nedoroscik (USA), PH: Comes off with about a quarter of the routine left to go. Looked great to that point. Finishes well. 13.966.

Zou Jingyuan (CHN), PH: Rather disconcerting to see him on another event besides parallel bars! He's not bad here, but misses his hand placement and comes off pretty early on. Falls a second time later.

Filip Ude (CRO), PH: Legs apart on Russians between the pommels and drops off later. Filip looks none too happy about this. The third competitor in a row to come off the horse. Falls a second time, too. 11.633.

Saeedreza Keikha (IRI), PH: An opportunity for him here -- and he takes it! Excellent routine, fast flairs, terrific dismount. Keikha is delighted and should be. 15.133.

GOLD - Lee
SILVER - Kameyama
BRONZE - Imabayashi

Uneven Bars:

Jonna Adlerteg (SWE), UB: Clear hip pike Tkatchev, Pak, Shaposh to Bhardwaj, Maloney to uprside clear full to Tkatchev, double layout with a hop. 14.216.

Diana Varinska (UKR), UB: Falls to her back on her Tkatchev half. Doesn't repeat the skill, just gets up and dismounts with a full twisting double tuck. 12.4.

Nina Derwael (BEL), UB: Nabieva, Ricna half to Ezhova to stalder Shaposh, Bhardwaj, toe Shaposh half, toe 1/1 to full twisting double tuck, finished twist high above the bar. 15.033.

Fan Yilin (CHN), UB: Terrific stuff from the two-time world champion. A very different routine from Derwael’s, but impeccably executed. Only thing is a step back on her Fan dismount. 14.933.

Anastasia Ilyankova (RUS), UB: Clear hip pike Tkatchev. Toe Tkatchev halt to Ezhova. Stalder Shaposh to Pak. Toe Shaposh half. Toe full to full twisting double tuck, small shuffle. 14.7.

Yumika Nakamura (JPN), UB: Toe full to Gienger, pike Jaeger. Jaeger. Bail to toe shoot to toe hecht to high, full turn, giants, double pike. Impeccable execution but lacking in some of the more intricate combinations of some other others.

Kim Bui (GER), UB: Pike Jaeger to Pak, Maloney to Bhardwaj, toe Shaposh. Toe full to Gienger. Stuck full twisting double tuck dismount. Been waiting for her to stick that! 14.0.

Martina Rizzelli (ITA): Ricna to Pak, Maloney to bail to Ray. Toe blind to front giant. Toe full. Full twisting double tuck, very nice landing. 13.016

GOLD - Derwael
BRONZE - Ilyankova

Still Rings:

Ali Zahran (EGY), SR: Pull to planche. Maltese. Victorian cross, hard! Maltese. Iron cross. Planche. Groans audibly with the effort of pulling his full twisting double layout (a little pikey if you’re picky), but sticks the dismount. 14.433.

Samir Ait-Said (FRA), SR: Iron cross, pull to Maltese, planche. Pike Yamawaki to tuck Yamawaki to Maltese, nice! Spontaneous round of applause for that. Iron cross. Full twisting double layout, tiny hop. 14.633.

Marco Lodadio (ITA), SR: Looks slighter than some of the others, but don’t be fooled: Planche. Maltese. Maltese again. Tucked Yama to piked Yama to iron cross. Planche. Roll to cross. Stuck double double tuck. Big happy reaction from Marco! Strength, power and elegance says the commentator. Agreed. 14.7.

Vahagn Davtyan (ARM), SR: Pull to planche. Maltese. Iron cross. Pike Yamawaki to Maltese. Iron cross. Planche. Full twisting double layout, basically hangs on for the stick. Completely different reaction from the celebrating Lodadio, absolutely somber as he walks away. 14.825 moves him into the lead.

Artur Tovmasyan (ARM), SR: Maltese. Tucked Yama to piked Yama. Roll to iron cross. Pull to Maltese. Full twisting double layout with a step to the side. 14.833.

Lan Xingyu (CHN), SR: Roll to planche. Magnificent Maltese. Planche. Piked Yamawaki to iron cross. Tucked Yamawaki. Maltese. Iron cross. Double double tuck, again also stuck. Was it enough? 15.1.

Ibrahim Colak (TUR), SR: Planche. Maltese. Planche. Tucked Yama, piked Yama. Iron cross. Roll to iron cross. Stumbles out of front double pike but celebrates anyway. Good for him! 14.5.

Courtney Tulloch (GBR), SR: Pull to Victorian (angles). Wonderful Maltese, however. Piked Yama. Planche, drop down to iron cross, sweet…and hands down on his double double! Not rotated enough. Aargh.

GOLD - Lan
SILVER - Tovmasyan
BRONZE - Davtyan

Thorsdottir, Mairosser take titles at 10th Austrian Team Open

The competitors at the 2019 Austrian Team Open take a group photo in Linz. All photos © ÖFT / Robert Labner

The competitors at the 2019 Austrian Team Open take a group photo in Linz. All photos © ÖFT / Robert Labner

After sitting out of October’s World Championships on account of a broken hand, Dutch star Eythora Thorsdottir celebrated a return to form by winning the Austrian Team Open this weekend in Linz.

The 20-year-old Thorsdottir, known for her exquisite choreography on floor exercise, posted the top scores on floor, beam and vault to tally 52.85 points for the all-around title, well ahead of Norway’s Nora Irgens (47.05) and Austria’s Bianca Frysak (46.6).

“First competition of the year,” Thorsdottir posted on Instagram, adding a check mark. “It’s a good first step on my way to the European Championships.”

Poland’s Marta Pihan-Kulesza, the poster girl for next month’s Europeans in her hometown of Szczecin, was also warming up for Euros in Linz’s Tips-Arena. Fourth all-around with 46.2, Pihan-Kulesza would have been a viable podium contender had she not had to swallow a 7.15 on uneven bars.

Marta Pihan-Kulesza (POL) on beam.

Marta Pihan-Kulesza (POL) on beam.

2012 Austrian Olympian Elisa Haemmerle, who had suffering from the flu, opted to compete on uneven bars and balance beam only, but still managed the second best score of the day on bars (12.4).

Spain (Claudia Villalba, Berta Pujadas, Clara Navarro, Aina Puig and Etna Abella) won the women’s team title ahead of Austria and Norway, while Slovakia’s Sara Surmanova, born in 2005, was the top junior.

Austria’s own Johannes Mairosser took the men’s title despite a 9.15 on pommel horse. Norway’s Fredrik Bjornevik Aas, a tenth behind for second overall, suffered the exact same fate on pommel. The pipe was good to nobody at this competition except former Russian team member Matvei Petrov, a pommel specialist who was representing Albania at this meet. There, the former World and European finalist scored 15.45, the best score of the day on any event, and also contributed an event-high 13.8 on parallel bars.

Austria’s Vinzenz Hoeck, a former European junior champion on rings, was the class of the field on his best event, scoring 14.2 with a new routine that he hopes to use to make waves in Szczecin. Austrian veteran Matthias Schwab contributed the highest scores on vault (14.0) and high bar (13.3), while Leonard Gross was the best on floor (13.3).

Norway won the men’s team title ahead of two Austrian teams, while Didrik Gundersen led an all-Norwegian sweep of the junior men’s competition.

Full results from the Austrian Open can be found here.

Austrian rings star Vincenz Hoeck.

Austrian rings star Vincenz Hoeck.