Men’s podium training is super boring, so you obviously weren’t paying feverish attention at all the updates. Understood. Here’s a quick rundown of the developments you missed.
Kohei Uchimura is NOT competing the all-around. He suffered an ankle ouchie last month, and after a rings dismount that left him limping in podium training, he did not perform on vault or floor and will not be competing those events in qualification. In addition to the shock waves this sends through the all-around field, it sours Japan’s chances in the team competition just that little bit more, where China was already coming in as a tentative favorite to regain its title. Japan has won the last two major men’s team competitions.
In further all-around favorite developments, Oleg Verniaiev did not perform on rings in podium training and watered down his difficulty on a couple other events. I’m not necessarily reading a ton into that because of #MensPodiumTrainingThings and how it’s basically a competition to see who can look the most unaffected and casual (compared, for example, to the Hermione Granger Cosplay Contest that is US women’s podium training), but Oleg is still newly back from his 1500 surgeries and expectations should be tempered.
I’m totally digging the look, though.
What I’m trying to say is, China went 1-2 in the all-around final last year, and it might happen again.
Everyone hates the floor because it’s made of granite, apparently.
The US men were fairly #MensPodiumTrainingThings in their session as well, not looking particularly crisp but also not displaying too many red flag developments. Don’t read anything into how nearly everyone fell on horse, for instance, because they weren’t really trying to save those routines or pretend these were competition sets.
Repeated falls on high bar may be a little more disconcerting because we know that’s a problem area—Van Wicklen had a few misses on a layout tkatchev in what will be an important routine for the US team—and I was concerned about how much Akash Modi and his taped ankle were struggling with this floor. Most of the US men looked good in their floor landings, one of the highlights of the session for them, but Modi had major issues.
On the topic of Modi, based on the order in which the team showed routines in training, it looks tentatively like Modi will get a shot at the all-around with Mikulak. They were the two who competed among the first four athletes on all the events. Moldauer wasn’t among the first four on high bar.
Sam Mikulak was dancing, in case you use that as your official Sam Mikulak Hitting Prognostication Guide, though not dancing as much as the boy-volunteer (?) who was leading the US team around, digging the crap out of that rotation song. He’s basically the official mascot of US men’s gymnastics.
Also, there are new remixes of the rotation song.
Now, where did I put that gravestone?
The US women attended the US men’s podium training session, and looked exactly as bored as anyone who has ever tried to watch men’s podium training. I guess were not in Marthaland anymore.
PSYCH. After pulling out of the competition a few days ago, rings king Eleftherios Petrounias has announced that it was all a clever ruse and that he will be competing after all. Although, with a tear in his shoulder that will require surgery after the competition…why? Expectations will be that he’s hindered by this injury, opening up the fight for rings gold, but it remains to be seen how much.
Obligatory Kenzo things.
Obligatory Epke things.