The 2018 American Cup in Chicago was slated to be an epic competition, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. With superb performances from American favorites and a talented field of international newcomers, this was one to remember!

By Anna Rose Johnson

Feature Photo By Lloyd Smith

The 2018 American Cup in Chicago was slated to be an epic competition, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. With superb performances from American favorites and a talented field of international newcomers, this was one to remember!

Men’s Competition

USA’s Yul Moldauer defended his American Cup title — a big moment for the U.S. men’s program! In 2017, Moldauer won the gold ahead of Rio runner-up Oleg Verniaiev, and this year he prevailed against another tough field, including Olympic team champion Kenzo Shirai of Japan. Showcasing his usual clean form and flawless landings, Moldauer proved that he is a major factor on the world stage. His best routine today came on vault, where he scored a 14.733.

Great Britain’s James Hall earned the silver with a strong competition, especially on vault (14.333; 9.433 E-score). Hall fell on parallel bars, but he showed flashes of brilliance throughout the competition, with his most difficult routine coming on pommel horse (6.2 D-score).

Petro Pakhniuk of Ukraine delivered several remarkable performances to capture the bronze; including a fantastic parallel bars routine that scored 14.933. Pakhniuk is definitely one to watch in the future!

Rounding out the men’s field was Germany’s Philipp Herder, who relied on impeccable lines to bolster his scores and finish fourth. USA’s Allan Bower, who hit well on pommels, finished fifth. Shirai had some unfortunate falls and placed sixth. China’s Wei Sun (seventh), Brazil’s Francisco Barretto Junior (eighth), and Spain’s Nestor Abad (ninth) rounded out the rankings.

Women’s Competition

Reigning World All-Around Champion Morgan Hurd (USA) delivered beautiful performances today for a well-deserved gold medal. Upping her D-scores with amazing skills (like her gorgeous double layout!), Hurd proved once again that she is the new queen of U.S. gymnastics. Her elegance and grace on each apparatus is a joy to watch, as is her enchanting choreography on floor.

Kicking off the meet with a strong double-twisting yurchenko, Japan’s Mai Murakami continued to turn in solid performances for the silver medal. As the reigning World floor champion, Murakami performed effortlessly on her best apparatus.

USA’s Maile O’Keefe was impressive in her senior debut, tying Murakami for the highest score on vault and landing a stunning double Arabian + stag leap as her floor mount on the way to bronze. Unfortunately, mistakes on bars and beam prevented her from finishing higher, but it was great to see her on the senior stage.

Two members of the women’s field scratched after injuries on vault — China’s Mao Yi and Brazil’s Fabiane Brito. France’s Lorette Charpy (fourth) and Canada’s Brooklyn Moors (seventh) performed beautifully artistic performances on floor, while GBR’s Kelly Simm and Germany’s Elisabeth Seitz finished fifth and sixth, respectively.

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