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Written by Amanda Turner    Tuesday, 12 July 2016 06:39    PDF Print
Whitlock, Downie Lead British Olympic Teams
(3 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Max Whitlock and Becky Downie will lead the British teams at the 2016 Olympic Games, British Gymnastics announced Tuesday afternoon.

Max Whitlock and Becky Downie will lead the British teams at the 2016 Olympic Games, British Gymnastics announced Tuesday afternoon.

The final teams were announced live on the Internet via press conference co-hosted by British Gymnastics and the British Olympic Association. Great Britain qualified full teams for both men and women and is expected to be one of the leading contenders for medals in Rio de Janeiro.

Whitlock, the reigning world champion on pommel horse, headlines the men's squad of Brinn Bevan, Louis Smith, Kristian Thomas, and Nile Wilson. Smith, a two-time Olympic medalist on pommel horse, is returning for his third Olympic Games, while 2012 Olympians Thomas and Whitlock are back. Bevan and Wilson are making their Olympic debuts.

Joining Downie on the women's team will be her sister, Ellie Downie, along with Claudia Fragapane, Ruby Harrold, and Amy Tinkler. Becky Downie was a 2008 Olympian.

The "Double Downies" are the second set of sisters headed to Rio de Janeiro, where they will compete with Dutch twins Lieke and Sanne Wevers.

"I'm really, really excited and pleased to be selected," Becky Downie said. "I can't wait to get out there now; all of the team have worked so hard and are so excited. For me personally it was a big decision to carry on for this Olympic cycle but I knew I had more to give and feel like I've proved that. Being part of Team GB is amazing, we're so excited to get our kit, to be in Rio, to see all the other athletes and be on that Olympic stage."

The British men finished third at the 2012 Olympics in London and second to Japan at the 2015 World Championships in Glasgow. The British women won a historic bronze in Glasgow, the first world team medal for the program. Both teams finished second to Russia at the recent European championships in Bern, where Becky Downie won her second European title on uneven bars and Wilson won high bar.

The selection for the British men was particularly rigorous, with 2012 Olympians Dan Purvis and Sam Oldham among the top gymnasts not chosen.

"The Olympic Games selection period is always a difficult time for all," said British men's head coach Eddie Van Hoof. "I commend athletes, coaches and judges for their tremendous efforts. Now that this process has been completed, we can focus on the challenge ahead. We have a team that blends great experience with youth, which aims to set new levels of performance on the Olympic stage. We focus on each day, taking each step toward this goal. Excitement is tempered with realism for the task facing us. I am confident that this team will stand up to the challenge ahead."

In Rio de Janeiro, the British men compete in the second of three subdivisions of qualification. The women compete in the third of five subdivisions.

External Link: British Gymnastics

Written by dwight normile    Sunday, 10 July 2016 21:46    PDF Print
Biles Headlines U.S. Women's Team to Rio
(13 votes, average 3.85 out of 5)

Simone Biles earned the one guaranteed spot on the Olympic team by placing first all-around in San Jose Sunday, while Lauren Hernandez and Aly Raisman, second and third, respectively, assured themselves of berths to the team as well, based on their performances.

The only variables for the selection committee—Marta Karolyi, Tatiana Perskaya and Terin Humphrey—were erased during the competition when both Gabby Douglas and Madison Kocian hit their routines on uneven bars.

MyKayla Skinner, Ragan Smith and Ashton Locklear were named the alternates after another night in which nerves played a role for certain gymnasts.

Even Biles was affected when she fell off balance beam on her front-half, which is more like a half twist to back tuck from a very tiny punch. She made up for it, however, with a 16.20 for her booming Amanar and a 15.55 on floor.

For the second day in a row, Hernandez outscored Raisman in the all-around, and she ranked first on balance beam, third on floor and fourth on vault. She also showed the cleanest form and most dynamic presentation of this Olympic team.

Raisman, who is in excellent shape, will contribute strong performances on vault, beam and floor. Her comeback, which began slowly, is definitely complete.

If there were any doubts about Douglas's chances of making the team because of her fall from beam on Friday, it was never going to be a factor as long as she hit bars again, which she did. And though she fell off beam again (standing full), she most likely will not be in the team final lineup on that event.

Even though she fell off beam on a standing Arabian, Kocian, a 2015 world gold medalist on bars, got the nod over Locklear since she's an all-around gymnast. Locklear will be an important backup to replace any of the bar workers should they get injured.

Skinner and Smith both scored 59-plus on Sunday to place fourth and fifth. Skinner ranked second on vault and Smith was second on beam.

Maggie Nichols outscored both Skinner and Smith tonight with her 59.35, but her highest ranking was fourth on floor exercise. That she wasn't in the top-three on any event might have doused her chances to be named to the team or as an alternate.

For complete results, click here.

Written by dwight normile    Friday, 08 July 2016 21:52    PDF Print
A Shaky Biles Takes Lead at U.S. Olympic Trials
(11 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

By her own standards, Simone Biles had a horrible meet on day one of the U.S. Olympic Trials in San Jose, Calif., Friday. And in her wake was a re-ranking musical chairs after the P&G Championships in St. Louis two weeks ago. Yes, Biles took the midway lead with 61.85, but Lauren Hernandez climbed to second, just 1.0 behind. And anyone who finishes within a point of Biles has a legitimate chance against the three-time world all-around champion.

Aly Raisman slipped to third with 59.95, and MyKayla Skinner, 10th in St. Louis, skyrocketed to fourth with 59.45. Ragan Smith, eighth at the P&Gs, also improved to fifth (58.70). With the added pressure of the situation, is the cream rising to the top?

Madison Kocian had another strong night, but dropped from fifth to sixth (58.60), but her tie for first on bars with Ashton Locklear (15.75) was the most important routine for her. It's also the event that ushered Gabby Douglas onto the 2011 World Championships team and led to her Cinderella story at the London Olympics.

Four years later, one wonders if the clock has struck midnight for the defending Olympic all-around champion. Douglas hit bars in San Jose but fell off beam on a full turn with one leg at horizontal. She ranked sixth on floor, where her routine includes an incompatible tucked full-in to back tuck. And after saying in St. Louis that she planned to vault an Amanar at trials, she stayed with a Yurchenko-double twist. Douglas dropped from fourth at P&Gs to seventh (58.55), and that's only because Maggie Nichols also fell off beam (side aerial) to score 58.25 for eighth. Both are trending the wrong way.

Biles, who has long spoiled fans with her consistent excellence, could have been better on every event. She took a large step on her Amanar and barely completed her Cheng vault. On bars she repeated the leg separation after her Weiler kip that had marred her routine in St. Louis, and on beam, her 2.5 wolf turn quickly morphed into one of those contorted sit spins one might see in figure skating. And even though she won floor (15.70), the landings on all of her landings were unsteady. That said, her effort still would probably be enough to win the all-around gold in Rio.

Hernandez had a hiccup on beam when her second layout step-out was slightly under rotated, but she saved it and actually won the event with 15.50. She also covered a mistake on bars, when her Endo-pirouette came up short of the handstand. But the rest of her night was polished and most likely cemented her spot on the team, especially after hitting so well in St. Louis.

For people predicting that only one berth is up for grabs—with Biles, Raisman, Hernandez and Douglas as locks—that scenario might have changed after the first night in San Jose. There is still the perceived competition between Kocian and Locklear for their bars prowess, but much will be riding on the Sunday performances of Douglas, Nichols, Skinner and Smith.

Yes, bars is what may eventually send Douglas to Rio—she ranked third there tonight with 15.10—but her other events lacked confidence and stability.

Douglas, and every other competitor with a shot at an Olympic team berth, will have one more chance on Sunday to prove why she deserves it.

Written by Amanda Turner    Sunday, 03 July 2016 19:51    PDF Print
Turkey Takes Seven Titles in Mersin
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

The host nation won seven of 10 titles on Sunday at the 2016 FIG World Challenge Cup in Mersin.

The competition is the first World Cup event held in Turkey, and was held at Mersin Gymnastics Hall, constructed for the 2013 Mediterranean Games in Mersin.

The event, the final World Cup competition before the Olympic Games, attracted a small field of gymnasts from Austria, Azerbaijan, Colombia, Hong Kong, Iran, Jordan and Uzbekistan. All gymnasts advanced to Sunday's apparatus finals, as eight or fewer gymnasts competed each event in qualification.

Turkish gymnasts picked up two titles in the women's event. 2016 Olympic qualifier Tutya Yılmaz won the gold medal on balance beam, showing excellent difficulty and flexibility (ff, piked full; switch leap, gainer layout; RO, double pike; 6.2D). 2012 Olympian Göksu Üçtaş Şanli won floor exercise.

Uzbekistan's Oksana Chusovitina delivered the most impressive performance of the day en route the vault title. The 41-year-old Chusovitina, headed to her seventh Olympic Games, landed her handspring double front (low but stood up) and double-twisting Tsukahara vaults for a 15.325 average.

Austria's Lisa Ecker won four medals: silvers on vault and floor exercise, and bronze on uneven bars and balance beam.

Colombia's Catalina Escobar won uneven bars (Jaeger; Pak; Maloney to bail; Arabian double front).

In the men's competition, Colombian Jossimar Calvo medalled on every event. Calvo claimed the gold on pommel horse, silver medals on floor exercise, still rings, parallel bars and high bar, and the bronze medal on vault.

Turkish gymnasts claimed gold on the other five events: Ferhat Arıcan (floor exercise and parallel bars), İbrahim Çolak (still rings), Ahmet Önder (vault) and Ümit Şamiloğlu (high bar).

The final World Cup event of 2016 is scheduled for Szombathely, Hungary, in October.

External Link: Official Website

2016 FIG World Challenger Cup
July 3, Mersin, Turkey

Women's Vault FinalDENDScoreAverage
1.Oksana Chusovitina7.08.60015.60015.325
2.Lisa Ecker5.08.90013.90013.750
3.Catalina Escobar5.08.90013.90013.675
4.Demet Mutlu5.08.95013.95013.475
5.Tsz Sum Elizabeth Chan5.07.6500.112.55012.825

Uneven Bars FinalDENDScore
1.Catalina Escobar5.48.50013.900
2.Demet Mutlu5.28.30013.500
3.Lisa Ecker5.17.80012.900
4.Oksana Chusovitina3.38.30011.600
5.Tutya Yılmaz3.56.4509.950
6.Tsz Sum Elizabeth Chan0.87.8004.04.600

Balance Beam FinalDENDScore
1.Tutya Yılmaz6.27.70013.900
2.Oksana Chusovitina5.38.20013.500
3.Lisa Ecker5.57.65013.150
4.Catalina Escobar5.07.25012.250
5.Çağla Altundemİr4.76.20010.900
6.Tsz Sum Elizabeth Chan3.66.1009.700

Women's Floor Exercise FinalDENDScore
1.Göksu Üçtaş Şanli5.28.25013.450
2.Lisa Ecker5.57.80013.300
3.Catalina Escobar5.08.05013.050
4.Tutya Yılmaz5.17.25012.350
5.Tsz Sum Elizabeth Chan4.06.6500.410.250

Men's Floor Exercise FinalDENDScore
1.Ferhat Arıcan6.28.15014.350
2.Jossimar Calvo6.37.90014.200
3.Ahmet Önder6.37.80014.100
4.Majdi Al-Hmood5.87.40013.200
5.Murad Agharzayev6.16.9000.312.700

Pommel Horse FinalDENDScore
1.Jossimar Calvo6.58.35014.850
2.Ferhat Arıcan6.58.00014.500
3.Ahmad Abu Al Soud5.58.05013.550
4.Murad Agharzayev5.27.25012.450
5.Adham Alsqour5.66.05011.650
6.İsa Hamaratcilar4.96.70011.600

Still Rings FinalDENDScore
1.İbrahim Çolak6.78.85015.550
2.Jossimar Calvo6.27.90014.100
3.Reza Farnia6.27.80014.000
4.Adham Alsqour5.58.05013.550
5.Yunus Emre Gündoğdu5.77.70013.400
6.Majdi Al-Hmood4.58.75013.250
7.Murad Agharzayev4.97.50012.400

Men's Vault FinalDENDScoreAverage
1.Ahmet Önder5.68.95014.55014.350
2.Jim Man Hin5.68.9000.114.40014.225
3.Jossimar Calvo5.68.80014.40014.025
4.Ferhat Arıcan5.67.50013.10013.700
5.Daniel Robert Lucas4.48.95013.35013.675
6.Majdi Al-Hmood4.48.85013.25013.100
7.Murad Agharzayev5.28.60013.80013.075
8.Yazan Abandeh5.67.6000.113.10012.075

Parallel Bars FinalDENDScore
1.Ferhat Arıcan6.98.70015.600
2.Jossimar Calvo6.88.70015.500
3.Ahmet Önder6.48.65015.050
4.Majdi Al-Hmood5.48.30013.700
5.Adham Alsqour6.27.45013.650
6.Reza Farnia5.57.75013.250
7.Jim Man Hin5.08.20013.200
8.Murad Agharzayev4.58.20012.700

High Bar FinalDENDScore
1.Ümit Şamiloğlu6.58.70015.200
2.Jossimar Calvo6.78.25014.950
3.Ahmet Önder5.98.45014.350
4.Adham Alsqour5.87.45013.250
5.Yazan Abandeh4.07.70011.700
6.Murad Agharzayev4.76.90011.600
Written by Amanda Turner    Sunday, 03 July 2016 13:22    PDF Print
Ablyazin Takes Three Titles at Russian Cup
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

Denis Ablyazin won three event titles in apparatus finals as the 2016 Russian Cup concluded this weekend in Penza. Pictured: Ablyazin with co-still rings champion Nikita Ignatyev

Denis Ablyazin (Penza) won three event titles in apparatus finals as the 2016 Russian Cup, held Saturday and Sunday in Penza.

Ablyazin won gold medals on his three specialities: floor exercise (15.600), still rings (14.700) and vault (15.350 average). He shared the rings title with Nikita Ignatyev (Leninsk-Kuznetsky). Ablyazin, the 2014 world champion on floor exercise, opted for an easier routine on still rings due to a cold.

"Because of the cold I wasn't strong enough to do everything on the rings," Ablyazin said. "Overall today everything went as planned. I have some kind of virus, but that's all right, I'm recovering. I showed my Olympic program (on floor exercise) and won't change anything."

All-around champion Nikolai Kuksenkov (Vladimir) won pommel horse, while Ivan Stretovich (Novosibirsk) won parallel bars and high bar.

World vault champion Maria Paseka (Moscow) crashed her Cheng Fei but stood up her Amanar (15.667) to take the vault title. Penza's own Natalia Kapitonova won uneven bars (15.033), with co-world champion Daria Spiridonova (Moscow) placing third behind all-around champion Angelina Melnikova (Voronezh).

Melnikova won the balance beam title (15.400) and Saint Petersburg's Lilia Akhaimova won floor exercise. Aliya Mustafina (Moscow) scratched the finals on balance beam and floor exercise.

Coaches said they remain hopeful for the recovery of two-time Olympian Ksenia Afanasyeva, who is sorely needed on floor exercise. Afanasyeva had scar tissue cleaned out of her ankle in Munich several weeks ago, and the German surgeon will travel to Moscow next week for to evaluate her chance of returning in time.

"He will examine her and tell us whether Afanasyeva will be able to compete floor exercise," coach Valentina Rodionenko said. "But so far no decision has been made on it. The question of her participation in the Olympic Games in Rio will be resolved within one to two weeks. Everything will depend on what the doctor has to say."

The Russian gymnastics delegations plan to leave for Rio de Janeiro on July 24.

External Link: Russian Gymnastics Federation

2016 Russian Cup
July 2-3, Penza

Women's Vault FinalVault 1Vault 2Average
1.Maria PasekaMoscow14.06715.66714.867
2.Seda TutkhalyanMoscow14.86714.60014.734
3.Tatiana NabiyevaSaint Petersburg14.56713.90014.234
4.Anastasia DmitriyevaTolyatti13.86714.40014.134
5.Anastasia SidorovaRostov-on-Don14.43313.40013.917
6.Yulia BiryulyaLeninsk-Kuznetsky14.10013.46713.784
7.Lilia AkhaimovaSaint Petersburg14.16713.36713.767
8.Daria LopatinaNizhnekamsk13.66713.00013.334

Uneven Bars FinalScore
1.Natalia KapitonovaPenza15.333
2.Angelina MelnikovaVoronezh15.033
3.Daria SpiridonovaMoscow14.933
4.Seda TutkhalyanMoscow14.600
5.Yevgenia ShelgunovaZvenigorod / Alatyr13.833
6.Daria SkrypnikKrasnodar13.400
7.Tatiana NabiyevaSaint Petersburg12.333
8.Lilia AkhaimovaSaint Petersburg11.767

Balance Beam FinalScore
1.Angelina MelnikovaVoronezh15.400
2.Seda TutkhalyanMoscow13.967
3.Yevgenia ShelgunovaZvenigorod / Alatyr13.867
4.Daria MikhaylovaMoscow13.267
4.Polina FyodorovaCheboksary13.267
6.Anastasia SidorovaRostov-on-Don13.067
7.Anastasia DmitriyevaTolyatti13.033
8.Tatiana NabiyevaSaint Petersburg12.533

Women's Floor Exercise FinalScore
1.Lilia AkhaimovaSaint Petersburg14.367
2.Natalia KapitonovaPenza13.867
3.Angelina MelnikovaVoronezh13.733
4.Yevgenia ShelgunovaZvenigorod / Alatyr13.500
5.Anastasia SidorovaRostov-on-Don13.433
6.Seda TutkhalyanMoscow13.133
7.Anastasia DmitriyevaTolyatti12.633
8.Daria SkrypnikKrasnodar11.800

Men's Floor Exercise FinalScore
1.Denis AblyazinPenza / Moscow15.600
2.Nikita IgnatyevLeninsk-Kuznetsky / Novosibirsk14.900
3.Nikolai KuksenkovVladimir14.767
4.Mikhail KudashovChelyabinsk14.500
5.Alexei RostovVladimir14.400
5.Artur DalaloyanMoscow14.400
7.Kirill ProkopyevVladimir / Smolensk13.200
8.Valentin StarikovSizran13.100

Pommel Horse FinalScore
1.Vladislav PolyashovCheboksary15.000
2.Ivan StretovichNovosibirsk / Zvenigorod14.767
3.Sergei DanilenkoChelyabinsk14.167
3.Nikita IgnatyevLeninsk-Kuznetsky / Novosibirsk14.167
5.Grigory ZyryanovLeninsk-Kuznetsky / Novosibirsk13.800
6.Sergei YeltsovAstrakhan13.667
7.Alexei BogdanovVladimir13.533
8.Nikita NagornyyMoscow / Rostov-on-Don12.967

Still Rings FinalScore
1.Denis AblyazinPenza / Moscow14.700
1.Nikita IgnatyevLeninsk-Kuznetsky / Novosibirsk14.700
3.Nikolai KuksenkovVladimir14.633
4.Ilya KibartasVladimir14.200
5.Dmitry LankinMoscow / Rostov-on-Don13.833
5.Kirill PotapovTomsk13.833
7.Daniil KazachkovNovosibirsk / Penza13.667
8.Vladislav PolyashovCheboksary12.467

Men's Vault FinalScore
1.Denis AblyazinPenza / Moscow15.46715.23315.350
2.Mikhail KudashovChelyabinsk14.70014.30014.500
3.Dmitry LankinMoscow / Rostov-on-Don13.76714.93314.350
3.Viktor BritanChelyabinsk14.43314.26714.350
5.Andrei MakolovTolyatti13.56714.53314.050
6.Alexei KozlovMoscow14.20013.83314.017
7.Konstantin KuzovkovKorolev14.16712.96713.567

Parallel Bars FinalScore
1.Ivan StretovichNovosibirsk / Zvenigorod14.933
2.Artur DalaloyanMoscow14.800
3.Dmitry LankinMoscow / Rostov-on-Don14.567
4.Nikita NagornyyMoscow / Rostov-on-Don14.533
5.Vladislav PolyashovCheboksary14.500
6.Andrei LagutovLeninsk-Kuznetsky14.033
7.Andrei CherkasovLeninsk-Kuznetsky / Novosibirsk14.000
8.Valentin StarikovSizran12.800

High Bar FinalScore
1.Ivan StretovichNovosibirsk / Zvenigorod14.600
2.Alexei RostovVladimir14.400
3.Vladislav PolyashovCheboksary14.167
4.Nikita NagornyyMoscow / Rostov-on-Don14.100
5.Valentin StarikovSizran13.867
6.Nikolai KovinovSyzran / Penza13.800
6.Nikita IgnatyevLeninsk-Kuznetsky / Novosibirsk13.800
8.Daniil KazachkovNovosibirsk / Penza13.633
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