GYMNASTICS Preview: Simone Biles headlines Stuttgart All-Around World Cup, with an Apparatus World Cup in Baku

Simone Biles at the 2016 Olympic Games (by Agencia Brasil Fotografias via Wikipedia Commons)

Two gymnastics World Cup events are on tap this weekend, an Apparatus-only event in Azerbaijan and an All-Around World Cup in Stuttgart (GER) featuring a 4-foot, 8-inch superstar from Texas.

FIG Apparatus World Cup in Baku

This is the third FIG World Cup this season, beginning on Thursday. Qualifications will continue through Friday and the top eight in each event will compete in the finals on Saturday and Sunday, at the National Gymnastics Arena.

The fields are excellent and include more than a dozen Olympic and World Championships medal winners:

Men:
• Diego Hypolito (BRA) ~ 2016 Olympic Floor silver medalist
• Yang Liu (CHN) ~ 2017 Worlds Rings bronze medalist
• Tin Srbic (CRO) ~ 2017 Worlds High Bar gold medalist
• Artem Dolgopyat (ISR) ~ 2017 Worlds Floor silver medalist
• Epke Zonderland (NED) ~ 2018 Worlds High Bar gold medalist
• Carlos Yulo (PHI) ~ 2018 Worlds Floor bronze medalist
• Denis Ablyazin (RUS) ~ 2017 Worlds Rings silver medalist
• Chih-Kai Lee (TPE) ~ 2018 Worlds Pommel Horse bronze medalist
• Igor Radivilov (UKR) ~ 2017 Worlds Vault silver medalist

Women:
Jade Carey (USA) ~ 2017 Worlds Team silver medalist
• Tingting Liu (CHN) ~ 2018 Worlds Beam gold medalist
• Alexa Moreno (MEX) ~ 2018 Worlds Vault bronze medalist
• Marian Dragulescu (ROU) ~ 8-time World Champs gold medalist 2001-09
• Oksana Chusovitina (UZB) ~ Three-time Worlds gold medalist 1991-2003

Prize money is available for the top eight placers in each event: CHF 1,000-750-500-300-250-200-150-100.

NBC’s Olympic Channel has coverage on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. Eastern time and on Sunday at 10:30 p.m. Eastern time. Look for results on the Web here or on Twitter here.

FIG All-Around World Cup in Stuttgart

Considerable attention is being paid to German Cup All-Around meet in Stuttgart’s Porsche-Arena because of one entry: American superstar Simone Biles.

It’s a rare appearance for Biles in a World Cup event, but she is entered and expected to compete; she will face a quality field, that includes four Olympic World or European medal winners::

● Aliia Mustafina (RUS) ~ 2012 & 2016 Olympic Uneven Bars gold medalist
● Elisabeth Seitz (GER) ~ 2018 Worlds Uneven Bars bronze medalist
● Zsofia Kovacs (HUN) ~ 2017 European All-Around Champs silver medalist
● Anne-Marie Padurriu (CAN) ~ 2018 Worlds Balance Beam silver medalist

Biles, of course, is one of the greatest gymnasts of all time, earning four Olympic golds in Rio and 14 World Championship golds, including the 2013-14-15-18 All-Around world titles. At the 2018 World Championships, she won the All-Around, Vault and Floor, was second on Bars and took bronze on the Beam.

The men’s field is not as high-profile, but includes three World Championships medalists:

● Wei Sun (CHN) ~ 2018 World Team Champion
● Bart Duerloo (BEL) ~ 2017 World Champs High Bar bronze medalist
● Artur Dalaloyan (RUS) ~ 2018 World All-Around and Floor Champion
Akash Modi (USA) ~ Fourth in 2018 World Team Champs event

The men will compete on Saturday and the women on Sunday. There is substantial prize money available for the top eight places: CHF 12,000-1,000-8,000-6,000-5,500-5,000-4,500-4,000, plus bonuses for the leaders after each series of CHF 25,000-15,000-10,000.

NBC’s Olympic Channel has coverage on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time (delayed), and on Sunday at 7:15 a.m. (live) or 2 p.m. Eastern (delayed). Look for results here or at www.stb.de.

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