Photo by Grace Chiu

TOP 8 Current Team Standings:

  1. China 169.161
  2. France 166.713
  3. Canada 162.922
  4. Germany 161.897
  5. Belgium 161.238
  6. Australia 157.945
  7. Ukraine 156.961
  8. South Korea 156.662

The Legend Waits: Oksana Chusovitina (44, UZB) threw a FH Rudi, for a 14.083 and Kas Full (5.8D score), not fully rotated and landed low—popped her hand down for balance. She now sits waiting to see if her Olympic dreams are still alive—to qualify for what would be her eighth Games. For 31 years, she has been an elite competitor, after winning the AA Junior title at the USSR National Championships (her first of three countries that she would compete for). If she is not in the Top 24 in the AA after both WAG qualifying days, she will need to finish in the Top 20 (one per country) after the already-qualified athletes are taken out (those associated with qualified countries).

Three -time Olympian Svetlana Boguinskaia has coached and supported her friend and former teammate Chusovitina in her quest to extend her gymnastics career, as long as she is healthy and motivated to do so. After Chusovitina’s qualifying performance today, Boguinskaia had this to say: “She’s 44, yes, she is. But that is not an excuse, no. The opposite…she has so many years behind her that it should be a good thing. Now, we wait (for the standings).”

Home Team: Elisabeth Seitz has an energizing floor routine, playing to the crowd with NCAA-like meet energy, including drawing an “air heart” with her fingers while smiling at the crowd. Her vault elated the German fans, followed by a smile, a salute, and a deep sigh of relief for her home country’s support (and the inherent pressure that ensues).

Emelie Petz performed her own skill tonight—a dismount on bars (inbar front tuck full). “It is such a nice feeling, I am 16 years old and I have my own element on bars. It is named after me— it’s a “Petz”—so it was good!” Petz’s goal is to focus on making team finals and qualifying Germany for the Olympic Games. “I think my team was so cool! It was such an amazing atmosphere here, and it was a nice experience, and the crowd was amazing. So many people [came] here and enjoyed it and I enjoyed it, too.”

Note: Sophie Scheder had to withdraw due to injury and was replaced by Pauline Schäfer.

Nina Derwael of Belgium was the only gymnast to crack a score of 15.000 today with her 15.141 on uneven bars, her specialty. Derwael, who looked incredibly sharp today, will be looking to defend her World bars title with her soaring, crowd-pleasing style.

Day one is always hard. The athletes put up their scores, and then they wait to see how they fall in rank order after day two. The U.S., the Russian Federation, and China are already qualified.  So Japan, Germany, Brazil, Great Britain, and the Netherlands (all whom were in the top 8 from the Rio Olympic team final) are looking to vie for a spot while Canada, France, Belgium, Italy, Romania, and South Korea fight it out for the final spots. Romania did not qualify a team to the Rio Olympics in 2016 (the first time since 1968 that they did not qualify), and they had a very rough outing today—they’re in 10th and on the verge of being eliminated.

 

Worlds Fun Facts and Numbers, Plus Looking Ahead to Tokyo

  • World Championships have been held since 1903 for men, and women were subsequently added in 1934.
  • King Kohei Uchimura (JPN) has 10 gold medals – 6 of which are in the AA, and consecutive (no Worlds take place the year of the Olympics). He holds the record Simone Biles is poised to tie.
  • 14 Medals: Total number of opportunities that each country has (that fields a full team) to medal.
  • 4-up/3-count: The format for qualifications. Finals are 3-up/3-count.
  • 8: The number of teams that move on from the qualification round to finals; and the number of athletes in each event final.
  • 24 individuals will advance to the AA competition for MAG and WAG. The individual and AA qualification allows the countries who do not field teams in Stuttgart the opportunity for their standout athletes to medal.
  • Prizes! $10,000 goes to the team gold medalists. The AA title is worth the same. For event champions, the amount drops a bit more than half. The question is, why less for event finals?
  • THE GOAT, Simone Biles. 20 world medals, 14 gold. If she can win 3 golds in Stuttgart, she will tie current record holder Vitaly Scherbo’s 23 World medals. Russian great Svetlana Khorkina has 20 total.
  • The U.S. Women have earned a team medal 9 years in a row (in years where Worlds was a team competition vs. individual only).
  • The 2 per-country rule still exists – the maximum number of athletes per discipline (MAG and WAG) who can represent their country in the finals for individual events and AA.
  • 196: The total number of artistic gymnasts who will be competing in the Tokyo Olympics.
  • 12: The total number of countries who will qualify teams for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

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