Jade Carey, Shilese Jones, and Jordan Chiles
Qualifications at the Paris Challenge Cup wrapped up today with the U.S. women taking the top spots on vault and beam, while the Brazilians led on bars and floor, extending a new rivalry that kicked off when the Brazilian women upset the Americans in the team final at Pan As over the summer.
Brazil and the United States also had a lot of success in the MAG competition, with Brazil leading in the top two spots on vault, while the U.S. took the lead on p-bars, though it was mostly smaller-program specialists who led the rest of the competition, including Israel on floor, Ireland on pommels, Turkey on rings, and Cyprus on high bar.
There was no stream for today’s qualifications, but we managed to catch a few videos throughout the morning, and have a brief recap of each apparatus below. You can also find complete results via Swiss Timing.
As the gymnast with the best vault average in the world so far when she earned a 14.650 at U.S. nationals this summer, it was no surprise to see Jade Carey easily take the lead here, ahead of teammate Jordan Chiles, who is second with a 13.950 for her Yurchenko double and Yurchenko half-on front layout half.
Coline Devillard of France sailed into an easy third place with a 14.3 for her handspring rudi and a 13.35 for a Yurchenko full to average a 13.825, nearly half a point ahead of Belgium’s Lisa Vaelen, who came up short on her own rudi for a 13.6 and averaged a 13.350. Also qualifying were Kaia Tanskanen of Finland with a 12.975 (she performed a Yurchenko 1½ for her first vault), Greta Mayer of Hungary with a 12.750, Nancy Taman of Egypt with a 12.725 (her first vault was a Yurchenko double), and Aneta Holasova of the Czech Republic with a 12.725.
Canada’s Denelle Pedrick was a favorite to make this final, and though she hit her Yurchenko double well enough for a 13.85, she had a fall on her second vault to average a 12.7, putting her in ninth place and taking the first reserve spot. The other two reserves here are Ofir Netzer of Israel with a 12.650 and Charlize Mörz of Austria with a 12.550.
Most notably missing out was probably world and challenge cup regular Tijana Korent of Croatia, whose difficulty held her back in an overall stronger field. Both British gymnasts here, Jennifer Gadirova and Poppy Stickler, hit their vaults, but weren’t in contention to make the final as they both took a two-point loss for performing second vaults from the same family, holding them back to 17th and 18th, respectively.
2021 world bars silver medalist Rebeca Andrade dominated this event in qualifications today, earning a 14.6 to give her a massive cushion ahead of the rest of the field, directly ahead of Vaelen in second and Ellie Black of Canada in third, both with scores of 13.9 (Vaelen won the tie-break by a tenth based on execution).
All three showed difficult and tidy routines, but there’s room for an upset from a few of the others who qualified, especially as Shilese Jones of the United States ended up making the final in seventh with a fall with a score of 13.2, showing a routine that was otherwise podium-worthy. I think Aline Friess also has a lot of room for improvement after finishing eighth with a 13.1, and Chiles – sixth with a 13.4 – could improve her score by about half a point if she fixes a few of today’s mistakes.
The other qualifiers here included Lorrane Oliveira of Brazil with a 13.6 and Zoja Szekely of Hungary with a 13.5, while Gadirova and the Dutch gymnasts – Tisha Volleman and Sanna Veerman – are the reserves. Veerman should have been a favorite for the final, but unfortunately, she struggles with consistency and had a miss here, earning a 12.6.
Mélanie De Jesus Dos Santos was another favorite not only for the final, but for a medal, though she unfortunately had a couple of falls here and ended up down in 27th.
It was great to see Jones bounce back from mistakes on both bars and floor to qualify at the top of the beam final, traditionally her weakest event, with a 13.45, and I also loved Carey – another U.S. athlete not known for her beam prowess – following just half a tenth behind with a 13.4.
De Jesus Dos Santos also came back from her bars errors to qualify third with a 13.25, ahead of Black with a 13.0 and Gadirova with a 12.9. Marine Boyer had a fall in qualifications, but still managed to finish sixth with a 13.85, showing that she may be the top threat if she hits in tomorrow’s final, while Nikolett Szilagyi finished seventh with a 12.75 and Pedrick was eighth with a 12.75.
Volleman earned another reserve spot here (ninth with a 12.5), along with Maria Tronrud of Norway (10th with a 12.5) and Stickler (11th with a 12.35), while the biggest miss here was definitely Flavia Saraiva, who unfortunately finished back in 20th place with an 11.6.
WAG FLOOR EXERCISE
As always, Saraiva showed a brilliant combination of tumbling and dance difficulty (she opened with a double double and a double layout today, and is expected to upgrade to a full-twisting double layout in the final), execution, and artistry to lead the floor competition with a 13.8, just a few tenths ahead of Chiles, who also had an excellent routine to earn a 13.5.
Gadirova ended up third with a 13.1, and I was thrilled to Stickler – sixth on floor as a member of the Welsh team at the Commonwealth Games this summer – also sneak into the final, qualifying in seventh place with a 12.6. Spain also qualified two gymnasts, with Lorena Medina in fourth with a 12.8 and Laura Casabuena in fifth with a 12.7, while Mayer qualified sixth with a 12.65 and Jones, who had a few passes go out-of-bounds in addition to a fall on her wolf turn, managed the final spot with a 12.55, a score that can absolutely improve with a stronger set in tomorrow’s final.
MAG FLOOR EXERCISE
Olympic champion Artem Dolgopyat had an easy first-place qualifications finish today, more than half a point ahead of the rest of the field, which included Tang Chia-Hung of Taiwan and Yuri Guimaraes of Brazil in second and third with scores of 14.25.
France saw Benjamin Osberger qualify in fourth place, Japan had its two young competitors Kaneta Kiichi and Tsumura Ryota in fifth and sixth, Ireland’s standout Eamon Montgomery was seventh, and William Emard of Canada came back onto the scene after an extended absence to finish eighth.
The reserve spots went to Harry Hepworth of Great Britain, Dominick Cunningham of Ireland, and Milad Karimi of Kazakhstan. Most notably missing out were Rayderley Zapata of Spain and Aurel Benovic of Croatia, both of whom had falls. Both of the U.S. men, Donnell Whittenburg and Brody Malone, missed the final, as did the Italians, with Niccolo Vannucchi finishing 45th following falls, while Thomas Grasso had to stop his routine early, though he thankfully wasn’t injured.
After missing the gold at Commonwealth Games with a weaker-than-usual routine, Rhys McClenaghan showed he was back here as he qualified first into the pommels final with a 15.0. As good as his routine was here, however, he’s going to have to keep fighting for the gold in tomorrow’s finals, as he had both Tsumura and Shiao Yu-Jan of Taiwan on his heels with scores of 14.9 and 14.85.
Croatian pommels king Filip Ude was fourth with a 14.5, ahead of Vedant Sawant of Australia in fifth with a 14.5, Zachary Clay of Canada in sixth with a 14.3, Nariman Kurbanov of Kazakhstan in seventh with a 14.15, and Ferhat Arican of Turkey in eighth with a 13.95. Of these, Kurbanov – who competed the highest difficulty at a 6.7 today but had a fall – has the best shot of sneaking onto the podium, and even into the gold medal position, but pommels is pommels, so anything can happen.
Santiago Mayol of Argentina (ninth with a 13.75), Abderrazak Nasser of Morocco (10th with a 13.7), and Malone (11th with a 13.6) are the reserves, while those who I thought would make the final but missed out include Joshua Nathan of Great Britain (12th with a 13.5) and Euros silver medalist Loran de Munck of the Netherlands (22nd with a 12.95), among a few others with the potential to get in.
Euros silver medalist Adem Asil qualified first into this final with a 14.9, ahead of fellow Euros finalist Vinzenz Höck of Austria with a 14.7 and then Whittenburg in third with a 14.3.
The rest of the final was pretty straightforward with no major surprises, including Ali Zahran of Egypt in fourth with a 14.2, Sokratis Pilakouris of Cyprus and Malone tied in fifth with scores of 14.15, Caio Souza of Brazil in seventh with a 14.0, and Lin Guan-Yi of Taiwan in eighth with a 13.95.
The reserves include Tsumura (ninth with a 13.9), Mathias Philippe of France (10th with a 13.85), and Casimir Schmidt of the Netherlands (10th with a 13.85).
The Brazilians – Souza and Guimaraes – ruled the competition in vault qualifications, finishing first and second with averages of 14.525 and 14.4, respectively. Both were clean and solid here on both attempts, and still have a tiny bit of room to improve going into the final, though there are going to be a few guys capable of making big moves tomorrow, and with the top eight scores all within under three tenths from one another, this is going to be a wildly unpredictable podium.
Dolgopyat showed lower-difficulty but super tidy vaults to finish third with a 14.375 average, ahead of a few guys with higher difficulty but mistakes, including Asato Keisuke of Japan in fourth with a 14.375 and Asil in eighth with a 14.25 after a fall on his second vault.
The others who qualified include Grasso in fifth with a 14.350, Joel Plata of Spain in sixth with a 14.325, and Omar Mohamed of Egypt in seventh with a 14.3, while the reserves include Vannucchi (ninth with a 14.25), Léo Saladino of France (10th with a 14.25), and Cunningham (11th with a 14.125).
Andrey Medvedev of Israel, Loris Frasca of France, Tseng Wei-Sheng of Taiwan, and Zapata were four I thought should have made the final but missed out due to falls, while it looks like Whittenburg had a miss on his first vault and opted to not compete a second.
Overall, it wasn’t the best p-bars day, but the final is still shaping up to be a strong one. Malone leads the field with a 14.5, narrowly ahead of France’s Cameron-Lie Bernard (second with a 14.5) and Philippe (third with a 14.45).
Others who made the final include Nicolau Mir of Spain in fourth with a 14.35, Arican in fifth with a 14.15, Souza in sixth with a 14.0, Whittenburg in seventh with a 13.9, and Kaneta in eighth with a 13.85, and nearly all of these guys have lots of room to improve, with Arican – the 2020 Olympic bronze medalist – most likely to step up into podium contention, though I think Souza could also be a big threat.
Mohamed (ninth with a 13.8), Lorenzo Bonicelli (10th with a 13.7), and Hung Yuan-Hsi (11th with a 13.7) are the reserves, and there were many other guys today who I thought should have made it but unfortunately missed out due to mistakes, with Samuel Zakutney of Canada and Robert Tvorogal of Lithuania the two biggest losses in my opinion.
This should be another tight race for tomorrow’s final, especially between today’s three leaders, Marios Georgiou of Cyprus in first with a 14.45, Malone in second with a 14.4, and Arthur Mariano of Brazil in third with a 14.3.
All three would have been my top three picks for the podium based on what we’ve seen so far this year, but there’s also some depth throughout the rest of the group of guys going into the final, especially among Ilias Georgiou of Cyprus in fourth with a 14.2, Tin Srbic of Croatia in fifth with a 13.9, and Tvorogal in sixth with a 13.8, while Kotoge Kazuma of Japan (7th with a 13.75), Ahmed El Maraghy of Egypt (8th with a 13.7), and Alexander Myakinin of Israel (8th with a 13.7) round out the field.
The reserves are Jordi Hagenaar of the Netherlands (10th with a 13.45), Alexander Benda of Austria (11th with a 13.35), and Kiplin Smith of Australia (12th with a 13.3), while the most notable routines not making it here were probably Tang, Karimi, Souza, and Plata.
Article by Lauren Hopkins