EVERETT, 5:47 p.m.: Excepting the Japanese, who were quite incredible during this morning’s session, the level has increased considerably for the evening session. On the floor warming up right now are the U.S., China, Canada, Russia and Australia, and, as photographer Steve Mullensky commented earlier, it looks like it’s game on.
In warmups we’re seeing more real gymnastics, more pieces of routines from all the countries mentioned. Special skills seen so far tonight include several handspring double fronts on vault (including a great stick from Sean Melton of the U.S.), a handspring double pike front attempt from Chris Brooks and what look like full sets on parallel bars and pommel horse. (On p-bars, I’m slayed by Akash Modi’s easy full twisting double tuck dismount.)
Over on floor, the Aussies and Russians are doing some heady tumbling — Arabian double fronts, 2.5s to front tuck fulls, etc. Competition begins in about an hour — quick hits begin now…
6:26 p.m.: The three men from New Zealand — Leo Golder, Misha Koudinov and Reegan Edwards — are an intriguing story. There’s little support for gymnastics in New Zealand, which prompted the 2010 men’s world team to sell chocolate bars to pay their passage to Rotterdam. They’re getting attention here because they have the smallest and youngest looking junior in this meet, a child who I’m told is 13 but literally looks 10. And he’s good, too, for a guy his age. I think the audience is going to embrace him.
ROTATION ONE: U.S. on pommel, Russia on floor, Australia on rings, Canada on vault, China on pbars, New Zealand on high bar.
Warmup notes: Disciplines and difficult tumbling from Russia on floor in this warmup. New Zealand’s Misha Koudinov, who attends Ohio State University now, was a youth with a little wisp of a mustache at the 2010 Worlds, but he’s really filled out.
Sean Melton, pommel: Hit routine.
Grigori Zyrianov, floor: Double full to end.
Robert Watson, vault: Tsuk 1.5, hop forward.
Nikolay Kovinov, floor: Sits 2.5 to punchf ront, same as in warmup.
Anderson Loran, vault: Tsuk double ful with a hop back.
Brody Jai Hennessey, rings: Wild on dismount, jumps back and coach grabs him.
Marvin Kimble, pommel: Didn’t see it.
Akash Modi, pommel: Hit routine, very nice work.
Scott Morgan, vault: Tsuk double full, absolutely explosive. Hop back.
Thomas Pichler, rings: Iron cross. Solid routine.
Misha Koudinov, high bar: Big layout Tkatchev. Nice stalders and excellent toepoint.
CHris Brooks, pommel: Hit routine!
Joshua Stuart, vault: Yurchenko layout half.
Mikhail Bodnar, floor: Running front 1 3/4. Dismounts with a double tuck. Solid routine.
Wang Peng, pbars: Attempts some ambitious stuff, like a front double pike between the rails, but falls after getting lost halfway through the routine.
Daniil Kazachkov, floor: Huge double double tuck to open. Full in tuck to end. Strong routine. He was the Russian rep at the 2010 Youth Olympics, right?
Sam Mikulak, pommel: Hit routine. Believe all the American guys have hit so far…
Josh Jefferis, rings: Nice strength positions from the Aussie, aside from a planche that’s a tad too high…good iron cross. Stuck full twisting double layout dismount.
Jake Dalton, pommel: Jake’s been working on this event, that’s obvious from his first circles up there…hit routine for Dalton as well, with much improved form.
Pavel Pavlov, floor: Full in tuck to open, so he must be a junior. Running Rudi. 1.5 to front layout half. Front double full to end. Not bad. Rather a junior’s routine, but not bad.
Cheng Ran, pbars: Wonderful work! Double tuck, peach, easy peach half, Diamadov, front straddle somie, double pike with just a small step back. Terrific stuff.
Xu Kangye, pbars: Another guy who looks about 10 but is probably just a 16-year-old who’s really short. Hanging at the chalkbowl. He has to stand on his toes to reach the parallel bars to chalk them! Peach. giant full. Bhavsar impresses the crowd. Half turn. Belle. Cut and catch. Inside Diamadov. Double pike. Lacked a bit of rhythm, but again, he’s like 10.
ROTATION TWO: New Zealand/Philippines on floor, Russians on pommel, U.S. on rings, Australia on vault, Canada on pbars, China on high bar.
Warmup notes: Jake Dalton of the U.S. sticks his double twisting double tuck off rings in warmup, very casually.
Jean Monteclaro, floor: Arabian double pike, a little short and a couple steps back. Double full side pass. Russians. 1.5 to front tuck full. Sits Arabian double front dismount. An ambitious routines, but not quite in shape to do it well, it seems.
Daniil Kazachkov, pommel: Didn’t see it.
Kent Pietersen, vault: Tsuk 1.5, hop.
Reegan Edwards, floor: Aw, the young Kiwi! Layout. Simple front tumbling. Strength move with legs in front of his face. His skill set isn’t high at the moment, but he has everything he needs to be a very good gymnast. All he lacks is time. Time and some muscle. That will come.
Sean Melton, rings: Hands down on his tucked double double dismount. Too bad! Hit routine to that point.
Cory Paterson, pbars: His stuck double tuck dismount jazzes the Canadians.
Marvin Kimble, rings: Strong routine capped by half in half out dismount, stuck. Nicely done, particularly his front swinging elements to iron cross.
Xu Kangye, high bar: Legs apart on one element. Double double layout dismount with a step.
Thomas Pichler, vault: DTY, well done, not tons of power but not lots wrong either. Small hop.
Zachary Clay, pbars: Hit routine with double pike dismount, small step.
Sam Mikulak, rings: Good routine but big step forward on his double double tuck dismount, nearly puts knee down.
Josh Jefferis, vault: Rudi, step back.
Lachlan Seville, vault: Tsuk layout.
Sergei Stepanov, pommel: Believe it was a hit routine.
Chris Brooks, rings: Messy handstand right before his 1.5 twisting double tuck dismount (hopped). Looked like he ran out of gas. Won’t be a huge deduction, but it will be a deduction. He wisely didn’t push the handstand much and lose more, just went for the dismount and got through it.
Liu Rongbing, high bar: Hit routine, very Chinese in style (lots of inbar stuff, pirouettes, not a lot of flight), but well presented. Stuck full twisting double layout.
Jake Dalton, rings: Planch. Roll to cross. Maltese. Front swinging skills. Giant to good double double tuck, small hop. Nice going. So far, really good for Dalton…
Robert Watson, pbars: Hit routine. Canadians give it a round of applause.
Cheng Ran, high bar: Falls out of Tak half, huge elbow bend and intermediate swing. Not in handstand on some of his pirouetting skills. Strong double double layout to end the routine, however.
Akash Modi, rings: Three swinging skills between the rings, all really, really well done. Little struggle controlling things coming out of those. Full twisting double tuck dismount, STUCK. Crowd roars. He’s got something, this kid who thinks pommel horse is “easy” and “fun”…
Xu Kangye, high bar: Tak full, nice. Falls out of Tak half and has to swing the other way. Layout Tkatchev, misses and falls. Looks dejected as he goes back to the chalkbowl. Talking with his coach, who lifts him back to the bar. Crowd applauds for him. Man, it’s a long way up for him, that high bar. Repeats the Tkatchev and makes it this time. Endo, jam, half turn. Hop full, weak. Double double layout with a step back.
ROTATION THREE: China on floor, Philippines/New Zealand pommel horse, Russia rings, U.S. vault, Australia pbars, Canada high bar.
Warmup notes: What’s cool about Canada’s Anderson Loran in his high bar warmup is that he swings giants and when he gets to the top he does what looks like a Kovacs timer, letting go of the bar and flying a foot in the air. And he does this on about three giants in a row, which impresses the crowd.
Wu Guanhua, floor: 1.5 to front tuck full, a little sloppy. Triple full
Sean Melton, vault: Nearly stuck handspring double front, finally takes a teeny hop forward. Crowd explodes. That was awesome.
Lachlan Savill, pbars: Double pike dismount with two big steps back.
Joshua Stuart, high bar: Hit routine. Joshua breathes a sigh of relief.
Wang Peng, floor: Front double full to front tuck half. 2.5 to front tuck full. Twisting side pass. Running fron 1 3/4. Tucked Thomas.
Marvin Kimble, vault: Handspring double front, also big, marvin rins forward a little on landing before getting it under control.
Samuel Offord, pbars: Double tuck between the rails. Belle. Uprise to front somie. Stumbles back on double pike dismoutn and has to put his hand down and twist back and swideways. He quickly gets up as though he could minimize the deduction by being down only a fraction of a second.
Cory Paterson, high bar: Hit routine with very good dismount.
Liu Rongbing, floor: Didn’t see much: front double full. Then good 2.5 twist with a small hop to dismount.
Misha Koudinov, pommel: Bent legs on a travel but impressive double pirouette dismount.
Chris Brooks, vault: Handspring pike double front, kept the pike position mostly throughout but still essentially sat it down — hand down. It was close, though.
Sam Mikulak, vault: Tsuk 2.5, hop forward. Second vault is handspring double front but puts knee on the ground stepping forward.
Brody-Jai Hennessey, pbars: Missed it.
Zachary Clay, high bar: Off on Tkatchev.
Jake Dalton, vault: Great Tsuk triple full, well landed, small step. Jake’s having a great meet. Second vault: Front layout double full. That’ll make vault finals for sure.
Mikhail Bodnar, rings: Double double tuck dismount, well landed.
Thomas Pichler, pbars: Front straddle somie. Nice form. Inside Diamadov. Double pike? dismount with a small hop.
Akash Modi, vault: Tsuk double full. Nicely performed!
Robert Watson, high bar: Tucked Kovacs. Tkatchev, good. Stalder to stalder blind. One arm giant. Endo. Tak half. Double double layout. Robert looks pleased!
Xu Kangye, floor: Didn’t see it.
Daniil Kazachkov, rings: Full twisting double layout dismount, a tiny bit of form.
Josh Jefferis, pbars: The whole team is up there helping him prep the bars before he goes. Front flip mount. Peach. Peach half. giant to double pike, well done. Uprise to front straddle somie. Bhavsar. Belle. Collapses on inside Diamadov — shame! Double pike with a step to the side. Looks very disappointed. I’m sure he wishes for a redo on that.
Anderson Loran, high bar: Kolman. But has to stop after what looks like a blind went awry. Too bad — good routine till then. Full twisting double layout to close.
Grigori Zyrianov, rings: Gets a 13.4, and 9.0 execution…
Kent Pietersen, pbars: The last guy to go in this rotation has a long, long wait while the judges deliberate Jefferis’s score…Front flip to mount. Intermediate swing before a swing to half turn — not a pirouette, but an actual hop half. Not much else in the routine. Looks nervous before dismount, a double pike with a step.
ROTATION FOUR: Canada on floor, China pommels, Philippines/New Zealand on rings, Russia vault, U.S. parallel bars, Australia high bar.
Warmup notes: 2004 Olympic silver medalist Brett McClure, a native of nearby Mill Creek, is being interviewed. “We have the greatest gymnastics fans in the country,” he says. Where does he think the U.S. will finish at the Olympics? “No doubt in my mind,” he says. “They are in the hunt for the Olympic gold medal.” Also: Apparently there’s a boulevard around here named after him. That’s cool.
Joshua Stuart, floor: 2.5 twist. Front layout to Rudi. Double full to end. A taller gymnast, not tons of power but good twisting skills.
Wu Guanhua, pommel: Clean from what I saw.
Leo Golder, rings:
Nikolay Kovinov, vault: Gawky legs on Tsuk double full.
Sean Melton, pbars: Inside Diamadov. Stutz. Double pike with a hop forward. Teammates cheered him through it.
Lachlan Savill, high bar:
Zachary Clay, floor: Arabian double front half out, stuck. 1.5 to front layout half. Front layout full side pass. Arabian double front, pause, single stag. Double full to end.
Wang Peng, pommel: Missed it.
Misha Koudinov, rings: Completely misses a handstand late in the routine, bends arms and legs and all but collapses, unfortunately.
Grigori Zyrianov, vault: Tsuk double full, decent landing, kind of a carbon copy of his teammate’s, which we just saw.
Akash Modi, pbars: Hit routine with really impressive full twisting double tuck dismount. Can’t believe how easily he does that.
Sam Offord, high bar:
Anderson Loran, floor: Front double full. Triple full, really nice twisting. Running front 1 3/4. 1.5 to front tuck full. Russians to splits. Tidy 2.5 twist with a hop forward to end.
Liu Rongbing, pommel:
Jean Monteclaro, rings: Didn’t see it.
Pavel Pavlov, vault: Sits handspring double front. And Tsuk 2.5.
Sam Mikulak, pbars: Beautiful routine. Definitely one of the best in the U.S. on this event. Double pike dismount, small hop, but the interior was really gorgeous.
Brody-Jai Hennessey, high bar: High Yama to begin routine. Misses Kolman and falls, though.
Robert Watson, floor: Saw only his opening Arabian doubl efront.
Daniil Kazachkov, vault: Frankly I’m not sure whether it was Daniil or his teammate before him who collapsed both his vaults…
Jake Dalton, pbars: Front flip mount. Inside Diamadov. Peach, small struggle. Diamadov to Geinger. Stutz. Uprise to front straddle somie (Brooks shouts, “Work!” and he is). Double pike dismount. Not bad.
Josh Jefferis, high bar: Stuck double double layout dismount.
Scott Morgan, floor: Double layout to immediate punch front 1 3/4, very cool. Second pass is double Arabian, I believe. He is so full of power. Tucked Thomas. 2.5 to front half, basically landed the 2.5 dead but almost — almost! — muscled the front half from a stand. Not quite though — hands down. Oh, and then hands down on full in tuck dismount. Too bad. He can do it better.
Xu Kangye, pommel: Missed it.
Mikhail Bodnar, vault: Very good handspring double front with a tiny hop. Has kino tape on both his upper theighs.
Chris Brooks, pbars: Legs apart on peach half. Collapses a bit on full pirouetting element, but really calms down well in the second half of the routine and has no problems. Uprise to double front dismount with a small hop forward.
Thomas Pichler, high bar: Weiler. Nice tucked Kovacs. Cool — layout Jaeger with full twist. Really impressed with his clean form. Full twisting double layout.
Sergei Stepanov, vault: Handspring double front, barely stood up, I believe.
Marvin Kimble, pbars: Falls, but didn’t see where it went wrong. Seems to be limping a little and breathing hard. Goes to the edge of the podium for a sec before going to the chalkbowl and rechalking. Rest of the routine is just totally solid. Great stuff, all right to handstand and really clean. Uprise to double front half twist.
Kent Pietersen, high bar: Yama to begin. Stalder. Layout Tkatchev, legs a bit apart. Blind. Tak to inverts. Endo half. Double layout with a hop forward.
ROTATION FIVE: Australia on floor, Canada pommel, China rings, New Zealand/Philippines vault, Russia pbars, U.S. high bar.
Warmup notes: So far it’s been a bit of a mixed bag for the American men — some really nice moments, some unexpected falls. Even in warmups, like what just happened to Marvin Kimble— he caught a Tkatchev on high bar and one hand ripped off the bar, leaving him dangling wildly.Tom Meadows — with some assistance from the other U.S. coach who is spotting high bar — gets up and rechalks the bar. “Go Tom!” someone yells.
Lachlan Saville, floor: Front layout to front double full mount.
Jean Monteclaro, vault: STUCK handspring double front. Awesome.
Misha Koudinov, vault: Missed it.
Pavel Pavlov, pbars: Really nice routine with easy double pike dismount, small hop.
Sean Melton, high bar: Yamawaki. Rough Tak half. Falls on Jam and has some trouble muscling a half pirouette after. Full twisting double tuck dismount seems weak.
Sam Offord, floor: Full in tuck with a step back. Front layout to front layout full, a little messy with his legs. 2.5 twist, cross step sideways to end.
Joshua Stuart, pommel: Believe it was a hit routine.
Liu Rongbing, rings: Full twisting double layout dismount, nice.
Daniil Kazachkov, pbars: Inside Diamaov half. Stutz. I get the feeling this is not really his event — a few tiny little form breaks here and there, small leg separations and the like, but he gets through it.
Akash Modi, high bar: Yama. Jam to inverts. Endo to Healy. Nice full twisting double layout dismount. Akash is doing really well!
Brody-Jai Hennessey, floor: Hand down on front double full. Sits double Arabian. 2.5 to front tuck half.
Cheng Ran, rings: Amazing double twisting double layout dismount, and hangs on for the stick. Whoa.
Reegan Edwards, vault: Stuck Tsuk pike.
Mikhail Bodnar, pbars: Not quite enough on his double pike dismount and puts hand down.
Sam Mikulak, high bar: Tak full to Yama, good. Kolman, beautiful! Tak half, not quite in handstand, to Tkatchev. Layout Tkatchev. Stuck double double layout and he gets the biggest applause of the night! Never seen so many people start applauding in unison at any gymnastics meet.
Josh Jefferis, floor: Layout Thomas middle pass. 1.5 to front layout half. He’s a guy with a compact body, and like Scott Morgan of Canada, can generate a lot of power. Easy double full to end.
Leo Golder, vault: Tsuk layout I believe.
Mikhail Bodnar, pbars: Clean routine but buckles just a little on his double pik edismoun.t
Jake Dalton, high bar: Tak half to Tkatchev half. Ugly Tak full, obvious mistake, giant, Yama. Tkatchev layout half? Hop full. Double double layout with a small hop.
Thomas Pichler, floor: Tucked Thomas. Front layout to Randi, awesome! Layout Thomas. 2.5 to punch front. He’s a great twister. Front double full to punch front half. Ends with Full in that he crashes. Not enough to get that last pass around.
Grigori Zyrianov, pbars: Beautiful routine with stuck double pike dismount.
Chris Brooks, high bar: One arm giant. Tak full to Yama to Geinger gets the crowd going. Really good Tak half to Tkatchev. Layout Tkatchev half. Layout double double with a hop. Could be a little better, but that’s a hit for Brooks.
Kent Pietersen, floor: Double tuck to open. Front layout to front layout full. 2.5 to front layout half side pass.
Sergei Stepanov, pbars: Another excellent routine, this one with an uprise to double front dismount, STUCK. Very nice.
Marvin Kimble, high bar: Layout Tkatchev. Tkatchev. Jam to inverts. Endo, nice. Great swing, light yet powerful. Full twisting double layout dismount, stuck. Crowd explodes again — they love the American guys.
ROTATION SIX: U.S. on floor, Australia on pommel, Canada on rings, China on vault, New Zealand/Philippines on pbars, Russia on high bar.
Warmup notes: Fun fact: Solo synchronized swimming (yes, that does seem to be an oxymoron) was actually a sport in the 1984, 1988 and 1992 Olympics.
Akash Modi, floor: 2.5 to front tuck full. Front layout to front double full, a little loose in the legs. Was that a Randi side pass, Akash? Randi or Rudi, either way it was some quick twisting. Russians. Wow easy triple full to end. Akash salutes and runs off the mat. He’s really done well at cleaning up his routines during the past eight months — much cleaner form than at the U.S. Championships last year.
Wu Guanhua, vault: Tsuk layout full.
Jean Monteclaro, pbars: Hit routine. Looks happy.
Sean Melton, floor: Arabian double pike to open, small hop. Arabian double front, slightly larger hop. Press. Twisting side pass. Front double full to front tuck half? And a good double full to end. Strong finish.
Wang Peng, vault: Tsuk double full, STUCK.
Reegan Edwards, pbars: Double tuck dismount, good technique but puts his hands down. Simple routine because he’s so young, but he does have the stuff to be really good in a few years. Excellent form and technique on everything.
Sam Mikulak, floor: Double double tuck to open, really nice. 1.5 to full twisting front 1 3/4 roll out. Press. Front double full to front tuck full, stuck. 2.5 twist to Rudi, nice. Great routine so far…Whip to tucked Thomas. Double full with a small hop back. They’re being conservative on the dismounts tonight….
Cheng Ran, vault: Handspring Randi, amazing how fast that was twisted.
Leo Golder, pbars: Sticks double tuck dismount.
Nikolay Kovinov, high bar: Very clean, correct work. Tkatchev layout. Inverts. Full twisting double layout with a step forward.
Chris Brooks, floor: Long wait for him on the podium…front double pike, good landing. Really good 1.5 to immediate double front, does that so well. 2.5 to front tuck full. Press. Double full. Front double full with a hop to end. The crowd loves Chris!
Liu Ringbong, vault: Tsuk double full, another stick!
Misha Koudinov, pbars: Didn’t see it. He seems happy, though.
Mikhail Bodnar, high bar: Tak half to tucked Kovacs. Cassina! Kolman! But messes up his dismount given the crowd reaction.
Jake Dalton, floor: STUCK Arabian double layout. Beautiful layout Thomas. 1.5 to front double full, also stuck. This is great so far…press. Whip to tucked Thomas. 2.5 to front layout full, hop forward. Beautiful triple full to end. Jake runs off the floor pumping his fist. That was probably the routine of the day.
Scott Morgan, rings: Terrific routine capped with double doubl etuck, STUCK. Why doesn’t Canada compete him more internationally? It’s a mystery…
Sergei Stepanov, high bar: Beautiful routine with full twisting double layout dismount.
Marvin Kimble, floor: Running double front pike to open. Front layout double full to front layout full. Arabian double front side pass? Nice double tuck to immediate single stag half turn jump. And ends with a double layout! Tiny step, looked for a sec like he’d stick it. My goodness that’s a hard routine!
Pavel Pavlov, high bar: Is looking up at the scoreboard to see what he needs on this event. His coach is trying to talk to him but I don’t think he’s listening. Yamawaki. Kolman with fingertip catch! Tkatchev layout. Tkatchev. Jam to inverts. Healy. Tak half not near handstand. Full twisting double layout, a bit piked but stuck. Pavel looks elated. Nice way to finish the meet for him.
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