Russia Returns to the American Cup

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Nikita Nagornyy

The FIG announced the full roster of competitors for the 2020 American Cup, the first of four all-around world cups in a series that will act as a qualifier for three non-nominative spots at the 2020 Olympic Games.

Though Russia has often turned down invitations to compete at the American Cup – the last man to compete was Maxim Devyatovskiy, who won the title in 2010, and the last woman to compete was Aliya Mustafina, who finished second to Jordyn Wieber a year later – now that the competition is necessary for countries hoping to secure additional individual spots at the Olympics, Russia will return this year to contend for one of these spots in both MAG and WAG, with world champion Nikita Nagornyy and two-time world team silver medalist Lilia Akhaimova planning on attending.

The two join the previously announced Sam Mikulak and Morgan Hurd of the United States, both of whom are experienced American Cup competitors on top of tremendous international-level success, and today’s announcement also confirmed the United States’ two wild card competitors, with Yul Moldauer in for the men and first-year senior Kayla DiCello representing the women’s program.

A total of 13 spots are available in both the men’s and women’s fields, with priority for invitations going to the 12 teams that qualified for the Olympic Games, while the final spots are the additional wild card spots for the host country. Should a top team turn down an invitation, the team that placed next-best at the 2019 world championships is next in line to receive an invite, and so on until all 12 spots are filled.

In the women’s field, the Netherlands and Belgium turned down their invitations, opening up availability for Australia, which placed 13th in Stuttgart, and Ukraine, which placed 15th (Brazil, ranked 14th in Stuttgart, also turned down an invitation). For the men, only South Korea opted not to attend, and the final entry for the men’s field is still to be confirmed.

In addition to Russia and the United States, the women’s field will include Georgia Godwin of Australia, Brooklyn Moors of Canada, Zhang Jin of China, Claire Pontlevoy of France, Sarah Voss of Germany, Amelie Morgan of Great Britain, Giorgia Villa of Italy, Hitomi Hatakeda of Japan, Roxana Popa of Spain, and Diana Varinska of Ukraine, while the men’s field includes Diogo Soares of Brazil, Deng Shudi of China, Lee Chih-Kai of Chinese Taipei, Andreas Toba of Germany, James Hall of Great Britain, Daiki Hashimoto of Japan, Nestor Abad of Spain, Pablo Brägger of Switzerland, and Oleg Verniaiev of Ukraine.

The rankings determined by each of the world cups in the four-part series will be assigned point values, and the three federations with the highest number of combined points at the conclusion of the series will determine the overall series winners, thus earning individual berths for Tokyo. Last year, the United States, Canada, and Japan topped the women’s rankings, while the United States, Russia, and China took the lead for the men.

Below, please find the full list of competitors, along with any changes that happen in the lead-up to the competition.

2020 AMERICAN CUP
Nestor Abad, Spain
Pablo Brägger, Switzerland
Rene Cournoyer, Canada**
Deng Shudi, China*
James Hall, Great Britain
Daiki Hashimoto, Japan
Lee Chih-Kai, Chinese Taipei
Sam Mikulak, United States
Yul Moldauer, United States
Nikita Nagornyy, Russia
Diogo Soares, Brazil
Andreas Toba, Germany
Oleg Verniaiev, Ukraine
Lilia Akhaimova, Russia
Lorette Charpy, France****
Kayla DiCello, United States
Jennifer Gadirova, Great Britain***
Georgia Godwin, Australia
Hitomi Hatakeda, Japan
Morgan Hurd, United States
Brooklyn Moors, Canada
Amelie Morgan, Great Britain***
Claire Pontlevoy, France****
Roxana Popa, Spain
Diana Varinska, Ukraine
Giorgia Villa, Italy
Sarah Voss, Germany
Zhang Jin, China*

* Due to the coronavirus outbreak in China, there is a travel ban that could potentially affect Chinese competitors hoping to attend the American Cup and several other Olympic qualifiers

** As of February 5, Rene Cournoyer of Canada completes the list of MAG competitors.

*** As of February 6, Jennifer Gadirova has replaced Amelie Morgan for Great Britain.

**** As of February 8, Lorette Charpy has replaced Claire Pontlevoy for France after Pontlevoy suffered a ligament tear in her knee.

Article by Lauren Hopkins

10 thoughts on “Russia Returns to the American Cup

  1. Don’t you think Akhaimova is a strange choice ? I would have expect Melnikova or Urazova to make her gain some experience … Akhaimova doesn’t have any real chance to medal at the AA.

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    • I assume Russia is going to start out slow with Lilia, and then send stronger all-arounders to the events later on in the season so they have a bit more time to prepare? I feel like it’s kind of what the U.S. is doing, as they’re sending Simone to the last world cup in Tokyo instead of pushing her out right away at the American Cup.

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    • Strange Russia is sending their top MAG, but not a top WAG.

      It’s only top 3 countries that earn spots and it wouldn’t be a locked spot with their best athletes as it is.

      I will be surprised if Sam gets top 3, he’d need to go to all of these to earn the spot and that’ll be a tough job.

      I was concerned when they announced Morgan, but now her biggest challenger is her teammate, which doesn’t count.

      My money is on Nikita and Kayla.

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  2. For a country like Australia, would you have sent one of the most experienced seniors because she’ll be at the olympics this year, or would you have opted to send a new first year senior in the hopes of gaining competition experience and building for next quad (and possibly actually qualifying a team)?

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    • I feel like Australia has a ton of international opportunities this year so it’s probably important that they send a mix…for Georgia, even though she made the Olympics, her goal will definitely be the all-around final and she needs the experience as much as a young senior does. I don’t think Australia can qualify an additional spot at these, so I don’t think they NEED to send top girls and are fine sending younger gymnasts who need experience for the future, but again, they have lots of opportunities for that experience this year, and they generally do send girls to meets like Gymnix, Pac Rims, world cups, and so on, so I don’t think they’re doing anything wrong with sending Georgia to one assignment when there are so many others to hand out.

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  3. Hm… So Australia and Ukraine cannot achieve world cup points here? Still confused in the rules.

    They can only compete for medals and prize money, right?

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  4. Pingback: Stuttgart World Cup Gets the Star Treatment | The Gymternet

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