Preview: Uchimura Aims for Third World Title
(3 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

After a disappointing silver in the team final, Japanese superstar Kohei Uchimura will be gunning for gold in the men's all-around final Friday evening at the 2011 World Gymnastics Championships in Tokyo.

Uchimura, the 2009 and 2010 world champion, is set to join Russian legend Svetlana Khorkina as gymnastics' only three-time world all-around champions. If he takes the gold, he will be the first male gymnast to accomplish the feat, eclipsing double world champions Yuri Korolyov (1981 and 1985), Dmitry Bilozerchev (1983 and 1987), Ivan Ivankov (1994 and 1997) and Yang Wei (2006 and 2007).

Uchimura is heavily favored to win the gold, but there will be plenty of gymnasts chasing him on the way to the podium. There are three medals up for grabs Friday, and the competition should be a thriller.

Using scores and rankings from the qualification, let's take a look at the top qualifiers to the men's all-around final:

Qualification Rank/ScoresFXPHSRVTPBHBTotal
1.Kohei Uchimura15.46615.43315.23315.20015.39115.53392.256

Kohei Uchimura
Strengths: Style, execution, difficulty, experience
Weaknesses: None

Uchimura is not only the best gymnast in Tokyo, he's arguably the best male gymnast ever. He qualified to five apparatus finals, an unheard of feat in this age of specialists. He's so superior to the rest of the field that he could basically afford to fall twice and still win. With that cushion, he is able to compete with less stress than his competitors carry. Unless disastrous strikes, he should win his third consecutive world all-around title with ease.

Qualification Rank/ScoresFXPHSRVTPBHBTotal
2.John Orozco14.30015.00015.03315.90015.03315.26690.532

John Orozco
Strengths: Youth, mental composure
Weaknesses: Injury, execution

Orozco has excelled so far in his first world championships, competing seemingly unfazed by the pressure. He suffered a torn Achilles' tendon a year ago, however, and his tumbling and vault seem a little tentative. He's not as clean as Uchimura, but his form and execution have improved tremendously since his switch to coach Vitaly Marinitch. If he hits six events, the New Yorker should be in the medals.

Qualification Rank/ScoresFXPHSRVTPBHBTotal
3.Danell Leyva14.80014.63314.48316.10015.36614.46689.848

Danell Leyva
Strengths: Parallel bars
Weaknesses: Still rings

Like Orozco, Levya competes calmly, and usually hits. His long lines that benefit him on on parallel bars and high bar are a liability on still rings, where he usually scores his lowest mark.

Qualification Rank/ScoresFXPHSRVTPBHBTotal
4.Koji Yamamuro14.53314.70015.53316.40014.06614.53389.765

Koji Yamamuro
Strengths: Still rings
Weaknesses: Inconsistency

Yamamuro is a solid all-arounder capable of scoring well on all six events, and can outscore the field on still rings. He is only 22, but has international experience dating back 10 years. A Japanese 1-2 finish is certainly possible if Yamamuro can hit six events.

Qualification Rank/ScoresFXPHSRVTPBHBTotal
5.Daniel Purvis15.20014.56614.10015.90015.13314.23389.132

Daniel Purvis
Strengths: Execution, floor exercise
Weaknesses: Still rings, high bar

Along with Louis Smith on pommel horse, the elegant Purvis is one of only two British men to make a final in Tokyo. Purvis has gorgeous form and cat-like landings on floor and vault, but is relatively weak on rings and high bar.

Qualification Rank/ScoresFXPHSRVTPBHBTotal
6.Philipp Boy14.30013.36614.46616.06615.23315.26688.697

Philipp Boy
Strengths: Experience
Weaknesses: Inconsistency

Boy, the defending all-around silver medalist, has been disappointing so far in Tokyo. If he can pull himself together in the all-around final, he could take another medal.

Qualification Rank/ScoresFXPHSRVTPBHBTotal
7.Emin Garibov14.43314.46614.36615.43315.03314.93388.664

Emin Garibov
Strengths: High bar
Weaknesses: Inexperience

Competing in his first worlds, Garibov is a fresh new face for the Russian men. The lanky Muscovite scores well on parallel bars and high bar, but lacks the power needed to score well on vault and floor exercise.

Qualification Rank/ScoresFXPHSRVTPBHBTotal
8.Nikolai Kuksenkov14.90014.40014.20015.81614.66614.66688.648

Nikolai Kuksenkov
Strengths: Composure
Weaknesses: Still rings

Kuksenkov was a controversial fourth in 2010, and the Ukrainian was not shy about voicing his opinion on the result. The 2006 Junior European champion is already a veteran at 22, and has been very consistent this year. His injured knee appears better, and he vaulted a clean Yurchenko 2 1/2 in qualification.

Qualification Rank/ScoresFXPHSRVTPBHBTotal
9.Marcel Nguyen14.46613.73315.03315.83315.13314.26688.464

Marcel Nguyen
Strengths: Parallel bars
Weaknesses: Consistency, execution

Nguyen is a great all-around gymnast, but has not been consistent in Tokyo. He's excellent on parallel bars and high bar, but tends to lose form on big skills.

Follow IG Publisher Paul Ziert's live commentary from Yoyogi Stadium, broadcast simultaneously on IG's official Facebook Page and Twitter account.

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