By Anna Rose Johnson

With the spring competition season in full gear last month, we enjoyed some remarkable competitions and celebrated dozens of noteworthy performances from top countries. With Japan and Russia staging the first competitions in their Worlds selection process and the United States dominating the Pacific Rim Championships, we saw plenty of routines in April that you won’t want to miss!

Feature Photo by Lloyd Smith

Russian Championships

The Russian Championships – held in Penza, Russia, this year – always provide an invaluable look at Russia’s top athletes before the summer season kicks off. Angelina Melnikova – who impressed on the World Cup circuit this spring – captured the all-around crown in decisive fashion with a two-day total of 113.497.

After a shaky mount, Melnikova settled into a confident and elegant performance with this beam routine. Despite a low landing on her full-twisting double pike dismount, Melnikova proved that she is one to watch on this apparatus with her expressive style.

Video via Gymfan channel

Uliana Perebinosova showcased a fabulous floor routine that included some incredible tumbling – check out that solid double layout mount!

Video via NCAA Gymnastics

Two-time Olympic Uneven Bars Champion Aliya Mustafina demonstrated once again that she is the Russian queen of bars:

Video via NCAA Gymnastics

And 2012 Olympic all-around silver medalist Viktoria Komova also performed beautifully on this event, with her signature clean execution and high releases:

Video via FullGymnastics

If you want to see a super creative beam routine from a young Russian gymnast, check out the innovative composition in this performance from Varvara Zubova:

Video via FullGymnastics

All-Japan

Another major competition last month was the All-Japan Championships – the first qualifying meet for Japan’s Worlds team selection. Kohei Uchimura finished third in the all-around after a fall on pommel horse on day one, while newcomer Kakeru Tanigawa won with a two-day total of 172.496. Here’s a clip of Kohei’s fabulous vault, which scored 14.400:

Video via sporteverywhere

Tanigawa excelled on pommels with this outstanding routine, scoring a 14.700:

Video via sporteverywhere 2.0

2017 World Floor Champion Mai Murakami won the women’s all-around title, with veteran Asuka Teramoto placing second. Murakami’s stellar floor routine scored 14.500, while her lovely double-twisting Yurchenko received a score of 14.800:

Video via sporteverywhere

This beam routine was classic Teramoto, with flawless artistry and a stuck 2 ½-twisting dismount:

Video via sporteverywhere

Pacific Rim

The Pacific Rim Championships in Medellin, Colombia, yielded some surprising results. First-year senior Grace McCallum of Twin City Twisters won the all-around gold ahead of defending World All-Around Champion Morgan Hurd, scoring a total of 54.850. One of the few U.S. gymnasts who competes two different vaults, McCallum’s highest score came on her tidy double-twisting Yurchenko:

Video via USA Gymnastics

Morgan Hurd had two unfortunate falls on balance beam, but she hit well on uneven bars with her clean pirouettes and easy swing:

Video via USA Gymnastics

Fifteen-year-old Jordan Bowers impressed on floor exercise, scoring 13.350 and winning the junior all-around gold. Check out our new interview with her!

Video via USA Gymnastics

In the men’s competition, Team USA took home the team gold, with veteran Sam Mikulak swinging this fantastic routine on pommels:

Video via USA Gymnastics

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Anna Rose Johnson writes about women’s artistic and rhythmic gymnastics. She loves Whippets, brownies, and full-twisting double layouts. Her writing portfolio can be viewed at: https://annarosejohnson.contently.com