China and Russia Separated by a Tenth After Subdivision 1

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Most fears about how the Russians would look in competition were thrown out the window during this morning’s first subdivision of qualifications at the Olympic Games.

The Russians didn’t have a single bad outing this morning, giving up a few tenths here and there on things like steps on floor, but overall the team looked incredible, including the injured Artur Dalaloyan, whose heavily taped ankles survived both floor and vault well enough to see him through to an all-around final spot.

Nikita Nagornyy led the team with an 87.897 total, moving with consistent performances from event to event and scoring no lower than a 14.333 on any apparatus. He’s currently in a good place to make the floor, vault, and high bar finals in addition to topping the all-around at the moment, though he’s only a little over a tenth ahead of China’s Xiao Ruoteng, who has a little bit to fight back from after a mistake on pommel horse today.

While Nagornyy has the all-around lead right now, though, China has the team lead, by just over a tenth ahead of the Russians. The team overall is a bit weak on rings and high bar, but even so, they did what they needed to on both, and looked fabulous, especially on parallel bars, where the guys counting scores to the team all hit above a 15, led by Zou Jingyuan’s 16.166.

Sun Wei, who finished third in the all-around behind Nagornyy and Xiao with an 87.298, will be the second gymnast from China in the final, while Dalaloyan was fourth with an 85.957. Both countries also had gymnasts miss out due to the two-per-country rule, with David Belyavskiy currently fifth with an 85.324 and Lin Chaopan currently sixth with an 85.098, while the Russian individual all-arounder Aleksandr Kartsev is currently eighth with an 82.299 after a fall on high bar.

Outside of the top teams, Petro Pakhniuk and Illia Kovtun of Ukraine are the next-best all-arounders, scoring an 82.731 and 81.581 respectively, while Joel Plata of Spain has an 81.298. While the Russian and Chinese teams upped their team totals by several points compared to qualifications at world championships in 2019, both Ukraine and Spain dropped by about five or six points, and Ukraine is looking likely to not make the team final, though of course it’ll depend on how the rest of today’s teams look.

Artem Dolgopyat of Israel currently leads floor with a 15.200, Rhys McClenaghan of Ireland leads pommel horse with a 15.266, Liu Yang of China leads rings with a 15.300, Nagornyy leads vault with a 14.783 average, Zou leads parallel bars with a 16.166, and Tin Srbic of Croatia leads high bar with a 14.633.

The biggest individual hopefuls who will likely miss out on finals are Igor Radivilov of Ukraine on vault after coming up short on his tsuk double pike (and possibly also on rings depending on how the rest of the day goes), Marian Dragulescu of Romania on vault after missing his first run, and Epke Zonderland of the Netherlands on high bar, where he had a hit but messy routine.

Article by Lauren Hopkins

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