Tokyo Olympics: Men's Gymnastics Preview!
It's finally time! Gymnastics at the Tokyo Olympics starts tomorrow with the Men's qualification! This is the only non-medal day for gymnastics, but also a very important one considering this day decides which gymnasts will be able to vie for medals!
Here's a quick preview for the men's competition and who to look out for!
The Japanese men are absolute class of the field in men's artistic gymnastics. They are the reigning Olympics champions and bronze medallists from the World Championships in 2019. The team is led by the god of men's gymnastics, Kohei Uchimura. Uchimura is reigning Olympics all around champion from the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.
He is an inspiration for male gymnasts around the world and comes as one of the most anticipated male gymnasts at the Games. Although Uchimura doesn't plan to compete the all around this time around, he is the favourite going into the High Bar event. He comes with high flying skills and huge release moves, definitely one to watch out for!
Taking Uchimura's place in the all around is 19 year old newcomer Daiki Hashimoto and Kaya Kazuma. Don't underestimate their young age and inexperience because both are top of the field through the Japanese domestic season, with Hashimoto coming off of wins at the NHK Trophy and the Japanese Nationals, with Kaya as runner up. Definitely worth keeping an eye out for the jam packed home team in Tokyo.
Although the Russians are here competing under the ROC banner, there is no counting the 2019 World Champions out. With some big names in Nikita Nagorny, Arthur Dalaloyan and David Belvayski there are bringing the heat to Tokyo.
Top names to watch out in the all-around are Nikita Nagorny who is the reigning world champion in the AA and on vault as well.
His teammate Arthur Dalaloyan who was the runner up at the world champs in 2019 is coming back from an Achilles tear back late March/early April. Arthur managed to make a massive and rather surprising comeback at the Olympic Games after getting surgery only three months ago. It will be interesting to see whether he competes the allround in qualifications and how his leg holds up!
Lastly, Belyavski is one to watch out for when he competes on the pommel horse, where he will hope to make finals and contribute to his team.
One can never exclude a country whose national sport is gymnastics from an Olympic gymnastics preview. So here we go with China.
China's all-around hope comes from Xiao Routeng, the 2017 world all-around champion. Although he hasn't had his best performance in 2019, he comes with confidence and the classic top of the line Chinese execution to Tokyo hungry for that Olympic medal after being left off the squad in 2016.
Another medal hope for China comes on the parallel bars from Zou Jingyuan. The gold medallist from the 2018 and 2017 world champs, Jingyuan has a style that captivates even those watching gymnastics for the first time. With impeccable form and fabulous execution, keep an eye out for the Chinese on Parallel Bars.
The US team comes with a mix of veterans and newcomers. Sam Mikulak who is at his third Olympic Games leads the team, and will compete in the all-around as well as compete his high difficulty High Bar routine hoping to make it to event finals. He comes in as the bronze medallist on the event from the 2018 World Championships.
Newcomer Brody Malone might be a name less heard of throughout the gymnastics community but make sure you remember it! He won the US Olympic Trials and is the top AA contender from the US coming to Tokyo. Quiet and serious compared to his fellow hyped and overt teammates, he will look to sneak his way through the top of the standings in the AA competition.
Brody's runner up at the Olympic Trials in the all-around is Yul Moldauer. Yul is a stylish gymnast with great potential and a steady all-around performance. He will also look to get into the pommel horse final with a strong routine in qualifications.
Although there are a number of other gymnasts from various countries who will look to bring their A game to qualifications on tomorrow.
Other top names include Max Whitlock, the British, who is the reigning pommel horse and floor exercise champion from 2016 and the 2019 world championships, looing to continue his winning streak here in Tokyo.
Lucar Dauser from Germany comes in with a high difficulty parallel bars routine trying his luck at PB finals.
Fighting for a spot in the floor finals is Artem Dolgopyat. The Israeli is an accomplished floor worker, looking for that Olympic medal this time around.
Lastly other top names to look out for are: Igor Radivilov on vault, Bart Derulo and Arthur Nory and Epke Zonderland on High Bars, Joe Fraser on parallel bars and Eleftherios Petrounias and Colak Zanetti on the strength dominated roman rings event.
Podium Training Update
A quick update following the men's podium training that concluded on Wednesday at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre saw some iffy, nervous gymnastics from the men's field. Most gymnasts, however noted they were only trying out the equipment and the podium to see how they felt before going all out on qualification day.
The vault proved to be troublesome throughout the men's podium training with most teams and top gymnasts having quite a time of it on vault. Across the board, the wobbly performances seemed to filter out the nerves and stress for most gymnasts, who can shake off their training and come confident and prepared for Qualifications tomorrow.
Catch all the Men's Gymnastics Qualification action live from the Ariake Gymnastics Centre, starting at 6:30am IST on the 24th of July!