Few sports captivate and mesmerize the international audience as much as artistic gymnastics does. Combining near-superhuman agility, grace, power, precision, timing, and technique, gymnasts also need to put in a lot of effort and hard-work to deliver on the biggest stages. And when everything comes together, they leave the world stunned.
Ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, we'll take a look at the artistic gymnasts who have seen their fair share of glory in the sport and will be representing the dreams of their countries when they take the floor.
1. Simone Biles – United States of America
Still just 24 years old and already regarded as arguably the greatest artistic gymnast of all time, Simone Biles stands tall in a league of her own. No woman had won five World all-around titles before Biles. Biles is currently the third most decorated gymnast in history behind Vitaly Scherbo of Belarus and Larisa Latynina of Russia. She'd be hoping to eclipse them at the Tokyo Olympics.
Simone Biles has won 30 World Championships and Olympic medals which includes her four gold medals won in the Rio Olympics in 2016.
2. Kohei Uchimura – Japan
By the 2012 London Olympics, Uchimura had already cemented his position among the greatest gymnasts of all time. However, another fantastic Olympic cycle full of complete domination leading up to an all-around gold-medal victory at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics cemented that position. Uchimura has won three Olympic gold medals and four silver medals and is a 21-time World medalist.
Uchimura had the chance to become the first man to win three consecutive Olympic all-around titles in his home country but he's mentioned that he will only compete at the horizontal bar at Tokyo 2020 and will forego the opportunity.
3. Tang Xijing – China
18-year-old Chinese artistic gymnast Tang Xijing attracted international attention after becoming the all-around silver medalist at the 2019 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships. That was the highest finish for a Chinese woman in World Championship or Olympic history, besides Jiang Yuyuan at the 2010 World Championships. Tang will be a contender for the podium at Tokyo Olympics.
4. Nikita Nagornyy – Russia
Nikita Nagornyy of Russia is the 2019 World All-Around Champion and won the silver medal at Rio 2016 in Men's Artistic Gymnastics Team all-around competition. Nagornyy has a skill named after him – The Nagornyy – which he debuted at the 2021 European Gymnastics.
5. Angelina Melnikova – Russia
Angelina Melnikova was part of the Russian Team that won the silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Melnikova also won team gold medals at the 2016 and 2018 European Championships. She was also a part of the Russian Team that clinched silver medals at the 2018 and 2019 World Championships. Melnikova also won the bronze medal at the 2019 World Championships all-around and floor exercise events.
6. Artur Dalaloyan – Russia
Artur Dalaloyan became the World All-Around Champion in 2018 and became the first Russian to achieve this feat since Nikolai Kryukov in 1999. He has considerable international pedigree in artistic gymnastics. Dalaloyan also finished second in the individual All-Around event at the 2019 World Championships behind teammate Nikita Nagornyy. Along with Nagornyy, he won the Russian team's first World Championship gold medal in 2019.