Russia and men’s gymnastics are synonymous, right? Not exactly.
The Soviet Union dominated men’s gymnastics in the FIG World Championships, winning in 1954 and 1958 and then taking six out of seven titles between 1979-1991.
But on Wednesday, Russia – as an independent country – won its first-ever FIG Worlds gold in the men’s team event in Stuttgart (GER), outlasting China by almost a point, 261.726-260.729.
The Russian quintet of Denis Ablyazin, David Belyavskiy, Artur Dalaloyan, Nikita Nargornyy and Ivan Stretovich won on Floor, Rings, Vault and High Bar, and was second on the Parallel Bars to overcome China’s wins on Pommel Horse and Parallel Bars.
Japan won the bronze medal at 258.159, with the United States fourth, but well back with 254.578 points.
The Team competition also afforded a preview of what the individual All-Around might look like. Only six men competed in all six events; the top five:
1. Nikita Nagornyy (RUS), 88.431
2. Sam Mikulak (USA), 86.931
3. Kazuma Kaya (JPN), 86.381
4. James Hall (GBR), 84.248
5. Chih-Kai Lee (TPE), 83.764
Comparing these scores to the qualifying round, Nagornyy increased his leading total from 87.333, and Kaya improved from his fourth-place 85.731 score. The big mover was Mikulak, who had major errors on Floor and Pommel Horse in the qualifying and was the last one to make it into the final. On Wednesday, he was much better and had the second-best A-A total of the Worlds so far.
The men’s All-Around will be on Friday; the women’s All-Around comes on Thursday. Summaries so far:
FIG Artistic World Championships
Stuttgart (GER) ~ 4-13 October 2019
(Full results here)
Team: 1. Russia (Ablyazin, Belyavskiy, Dalaloyan, Nagornyy, Stretovich), 261.726; 2. China (Deng, Lin, Sun, Xiao, Zou)), 260.729; 3. Japan (Hashimoto, Kamoto, Kaya, K. Tanigawa, W. Tanigawa)), 258.159; 4. United States (Sam Mikulak, Akash Modi, Yul Moldauer, Trevor Howard, Shane Wiskus), 254.578; 5. Great Britain, 251.611; 6. Chinese Taipei, 248.243; 7. Switzerland, 247.038; 8. Ukraine, 246.593.
Team: 1. United States (Simone Biles, Jade Carey, Kara Eaker, Sunisa Lee, Grace McCallum), 172.330; 2. Russia (Agafonova, Akhaimova, Melnikova, Shchekoldina, Spiridonova), 166.529; 3. Italy (Carofiglio, Alice D’Amato, Asia D’Amato, Iorio, Villa), 164.796; 4. China, 164.230; 5. France, 163.628; 6. Great Britain, 161.495; 7. Canada, 160.563; 8. Netherlands, 159.427.