Stuttgart World Cup Competitors Announced

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The FIG announced the competitors set to attend this year’s World Cup event in Stuttgart, Germany this March.

The German legend Elisabeth Seitz, who finished tenth in the all-around final at last year’s world championships, headlines the field that will also include her teammate Tabea Alt, a first-year senior and a potential game-changer for Germany set to make her international debut at the American Cup in New Jersey two weeks earlier.

The international field is comprised of several young but vastly experienced international competitors, including 2015 worlds competitors Ellie Downie of Great Britain, Elisa Meneghini of Italy, Isabela Onyshko of Canada, and Seda Tutkhalyan of Russia.

2012 Olympian Celine van Gerner of the Netherlands is also slated to attend in what will be her comeback from an injury that took her out of contention for last year’s worlds team, as is Xie Yufen, the 17-year-old from China who has yet to make a major international squad for her country.

Rounding out the field is Nia Dennis of the United States in what will be her long-anticipated senior international debut after injuries held her back in 2015. Dennis, who moved from Buckeye Gymnastics to Legacy Elite last summer, finished ninth at the U.S. Championships in 2015 with all-around scores of 57.35 and 57.85, making her a strong shot for a gold medal finish if she attends. Like Mykayla Skinner’s spot in the Glasgow World Cup, Dennis’ spot is nominative and she will have to show readiness at the February national team camp before Martha Karolyi makes the decision official.

Her biggest competition will be Downie, the British superstar also in her second year of competition who helped her team to an historic bronze medal at the 2015 World Championships. Due to a fall on bars in qualifications, Downie did not advance to the all-around final in Glasgow, but is easily the country’s strongest all-around competitor and has the greatest potential to upset Dennis in Stuttgart.

The Stuttgart World Cup will be held at the Porsche Arena in Stuttgart, Germany on March 19.

Article by Lauren Hopkins

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11 thoughts on “Stuttgart World Cup Competitors Announced

  1. As far as I can recall, this is the first time in years that the U.S. is sending INDIVIDUAL female gymnasts to multiple international competitions. Aside from Am Cup, w generally only do team competitions like Pac Rims and Jesolo. More notably, the people they are sending are girls who are far from being locks for the Olympic team. I feel like USAG is using this as a way to truly narrow the field and give these girls one last chance to shine before summer comes.

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    • USAG generally sends gymnasts to the World Cups…Brenna in 2012, Ebee in 2013, and Maddie Desch got the assignment in 2014 but turned it down and no one else was ready since it was during hiatus. It’s not really surprising that individuals are going this year, but yes, Martha is trying to field as many senior international spots as possible. Two senior teams will go to Jesolo instead of one so she can send 12 seniors there, two will go to the test event, four will attend the three world cups, and three to Pac Rims for a total of 21 senior international assignments before the Olympics. It’s definitely a way to test everyone and weed them out.

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      • This is exciting – it’s still more US girls at comps than in the past. I think Nichols and Ernst were also on the world cup circuit, both in Japan when the cup still existed.

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  2. You said on Facebook that the US participation is exciting. Why is it exciting ? Of all the gymnasts involved into that competition, Nia Dennis is the only one who is completely unknown, I try to keep myself up to date concerning international gymnastics, and I never heard about her.

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    • Nia Dennis was one of the top juniors in the world in 2014, second only to Bailie Key, but missed most of her first senior season due to gym drama and injuries. Now that she is in a stable gym situation and has been back to training full time, she is an Olympic hopeful in the U.S. especially thanks to her ability on bars and beam. She has huge releases on bars – bigger than Gabby Douglas – and her standing arabian on beam is probably the best ever competed. The fact that she was chosen to go to Stuttgart over other girls in consideration (Bailie and Alyssa most notably) is a huge deal.

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  3. When is the February National Camp? Do you anticipate there will be videos released? I’m dying to see some of the athletes’ upgrades!

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  4. I don’t think Dennis is the favorite for gold. I think Elissa Downie is the highest chance with Tutkhalyan being her biggest competition. Tutkhlayan and downie have higher start values and Dennis is kind of mediocre, she doesn’t have a stand out event just consistent mid 14s except for a high 14-low 15 on vault.

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    • Start values do nothing for Tutkhalyan. In 13 of her beam routines in 2015, she hit half, and nine of her scores were below a 14.3. The other four – for hit routines – were 14.5, 14.533, 14.6, and 14.867. She averages a 13.9 on her best event aside from vault, where her DTY is very messy and she typically gets around a 14.6-14.8. In the all-around, she will max out at about a 57.4 on her best day, and she averages a 56.6. She’s a strong shot for the podium, but not for the all-around title unless she has her best day and others make mistakes. She is more on the level of Onyshko and Seitz, and it’ll likely be the three of them fighting for bronze if both Nia and Ellie hit for the top two prizes.

      As a junior in 2014, Nia had international all-around scores of 56.3 (with a fall) and 57.95. With downgraded routines in her first year as a senior, she averaged a 57.6 all-around. She will have the best DTY at Stuttgart, around a 15.1-15.2, and has potential for around a 14.5 on her other three events (her floor at U.S. nationals last year was heavily downgraded due to recovery from injury, thus the scores in the 13s). If Nia has a perfect day, she could land around a 58.5 AA. An imperfect day with multiple little mistakes or a single fall would put her at a 57.5, which is Seda’s best. It’s no contest between the two.

      Ellie Downie hasn’t come close to reaching Nia’s strongest scores on most of Nia’s events yet. Her great “I hit everything great” day last year was a 57.75, and I’d say her potential for a perfect day could be around a 58, both lower than Nia’s actual and potential scores. While you mention that Nia has consistent mid 14s on everything, Ellie actually has consistent high 13s and low 14s on everything but vault, which should get around a 15. The one anomaly here is her floor finals routine at worlds, which got a 14.733, her highest by a long shot. Considering that was her peak for 2015, I doubt we’ll see her bust out a 14.733 in Stuttgart, but if she does it still won’t make up ground in the AA if Nia also hits everything. They’ll be close, but if they both hit, Nia absolutely has the advantage by a few tenths on each event. Here’s how they average side by side for hit routines…

      VAULT

      Nia 15.06
      Ellie 14.88
      Advantage- Nia, two tenths

      BARS

      Nia 14.47
      Ellie 14.18
      Advantage- Nia, three tenths

      BEAM

      Nia 14.24
      Ellie 13.80
      Advantage- Nia, four tenths

      FLOOR

      Nia 14.34
      Ellie 14.32
      Advantage- Nia, two hundredths

      Nia wins on all four events and her combined advantages give her about a 0.92 lead over Ellie in the all-around based on hit routines for both. Neither is the most consistent gymnast, which is why I say Ellie will challenge Nia even despite Nia’s advantage. But you also have to take into account the fact that when we last saw Nia, she was injured, in the process of switching gyms, and heavily downgraded on floor (she was at a 6.0 at full health in 2014 but only 5.3 in 2015…just adding those seven tenths in start value back ups her AA from a mid 57 to a low 58 if she hits). A lot can happen in seven months, and if Nia got this spot over others who were up for it – it was between Nia, Bailie Key (who was scoring high 58-high 59 last year) and Alyssa Baumann (who was scoring about 58) – I’d say she’s looking VERY good and is easily the favorite to take the title in Stuttgart, unless she either has major errors or Ellie comes in with all brand new difficulty.

      As a side note, since you were talking about d-scores in your comment, both Ellie and Nia were at 23.7 last year on average, so difficulty doesn’t even matter at this point because they’re at about the same if they count everything.

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  5. Personally, Im just glad to see the US women getting intl assignments. The US could prob field 3 teams and take all 3 podium spots in Rio…but thats not an option. For all of the blood, sweat n tears put in from childhood, and to reach THIS level of talent and ability, these ladies who won’t make the Oly or Worlds teams deserve to compete on the circuit w some of the other bests in the world.

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