An Abundance of Olympians in Chiasso


The 33rd annual Arthur Gander Memorial, held to honor the former Swiss coach and president of the FIG for a decade in the 1960s and 1970s, is always one of the best-attended smaller meets each year.

Though most competitions have seen a lull in participation from top competitors, all of whom have been in hiatus following this summer’s Olympic Games, most of the gymnasts who RSVP’d yes to the Memorial meet have an Olympic pedigree. Both the men’s and the women’s fields will showcase top gymnasts in Chiasso, many of whom will also go on to compete at the fan-favorite Swiss Cup pairs tournament a few days later in Zürich.

On the women’s side, we’ll see Angelina Melnikova of Russia, who earned a silver medal with her team in Rio, return to the sport after three months off. In addition, the Netherlands, who reached their best team finish since 1948 by finishing seventh in Rio, will send Eythora Thorsdottir, their best all-arounder in Olympic history (she’s also currently training a beautiful Amanar!); Jessica Lopez, who made history for her country by making the bars final this summer, will represent Venezuela; and Angelina Kysla, who married fellow Olympian Igor Radivilov following the Games, will compete for Ukraine.

The host country Switzerland will have three of their strongest gymnasts in the absence of Giulia Steingruber, who is out of competition due to a foot injury until next year. Though she hoped to make her return here, instead we’ll see her Olympic test event teammates Caterina Barloggio, Ilaria Käslin, and first-year senior Thea Brogli as they prepare to help lead the team into the next quad. Olympic contender Victoria-Kayen Woo, who is deferring her NCAA spot at Ohio State until after worlds in her hometown of Montreal next year, will represent Canada, and first-year senior Carina Kröll will represent Germany alongside a still-unnamed second gymnast from her country.

The biggest name on the men’s side is 2016 Olympic parallel bars champion and all-around silver medalist Oleg Verniaiev, who will compete alongside teammate Igor Radivilov, most famous for introducing the handspring triple front to the world in Rio this summer.

We’ll also see Olympians Marian Dragulescu of Romania, Arthur Nory of Brazil, Lukas Dauser of Germany, Bart Deurloo of the Netherlands, and Benjamin Gischard of Switzerland. Other competitors include Paolo Principi of Italy, Marco Rizzo of Switzerland, René Cournoyer of Canada, and Nikita Ignatyev of Russia, originally on his country’s team though he was replaced at the last minute and instead served an alternate role.

The competition will be held on November 2 at the Palapenz in Chiasso, a small Swiss town just over the Italian border. For more information, including how to purchase tickets, check out the official website.

Article by Lauren Hopkins


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