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Kato, Douglas Claim 2016 American Cup Titles
(9 votes, average 4.56 out of 5)

Gabby Douglas and Ryohei Kato grabbed the 2016 American Cup titles Saturday in Newark, N.J., and each followed a different path to the top of their respective fields.


2016 American Cup champions Ryohei Kato (Japan) and Gabby Douglas (USA)

Douglas, 20, the 2012 Olympic champion who is now a year into her competitive comeback, led throughout all four rotations. Kato (88.931), runner-up to Japanese teammate Kohei Uchimura at the 2013 worlds, could not overtake leader Donnell Whittenburg, 21, until the final rotation. Kato, 22, stayed on the high bar while Whittenburg peeled off and finished second (88.565). Sun Wei of China was third (87.665), and Sam Mikulak, who missed three routines, was fourth (85.964).

Like Douglas (60.165), Maggie Nichols (59.699), 18, went four-for-four and placed second. Both American women were clean and consistent, and it is debatable whether Nichols would have won had she vaulted the Amanar she used at the Glasgow worlds last fall.

Canada's Ellie Black finished a solid third (57.132), and Great Britain's Amy Tinkler was fourth (55.932).

Douglas stuck her first-rotation Yurchenko-double twist, and swung an aggressive set on uneven bars, employing strong inside-Stalder work in combination. But balance beam is where she really shone brightest. It what may be her most confidently performed routine on that event, she never wavered or wobbled until her dismount, where she needed a small hop to secure the landing of her double pike from two flip-flops. Every element on top of the beam was landed perfectly (standing full; flip-flop, layout; front aerial; front somi).

With a comfortable lead heading to floor exercise, Douglas hit her opening pass of Arabian double to stag jump and followed with a tucked full-in. She needed only to avoid a fall to remain ahead of Nichols, and she did. Her 14.833 was enough to keep her atop of the standings, even if it was the only event she conceded to her compatriot. Nichols had earned 15.20 with her tucked double-double mount, tucked and piked full-ins and a double tuck ending.

The men's meet had Whittenburg going five-for-five and enjoying a comfortable lead until high bar, where he caught his Cassina but missed the Kolman. Had he left out the Kolman, he might have won the Cup, but we'll never know. The takeaway for him is the improvement in form and consistency he showed throughout. Kato, meanwhile, the tortoise to Whittenburg's hare, was able to catch the same two high bar releases that Whittenburg attempted. For the American, it also was similar to the 2015 American Cup, where Ukraine's Oleg Vernyayev took control on high bar, Whittenburg's weakest event.

Mikulak was a different story, but one that fans have seen before. As at last year's American Cup, he fell on his first two events, floor and pommels, to take himself out of the hunt. His touchdown after his closing triple twist on floor might have been caused by the slightly torn Achilles' tendon that kept him out the 2015 worlds, but the slip off pommels and missed Kolman on high bar continued a trend that began years ago. If the U.S. men plan to contend for a medal in Rio in August, they will need consistency from the talented three-time national champion.

Read complete coverage of the American Cup in the April issue of International Gymnast.

External Link: Official Website

2016 AT&T American Cup/FIG World Cup
March 5, Newark, New Jersey

Women's All-AroundVTUBBBFXTotal
1.Gabby Douglas5.815.1006.515.2666.314.9666.014.83360.165
2.Maggie Nichols5.815.0335.814.6336.314.8336.315.20059.699
3.Ellie Black5.814.8005.813.8666.214.4005.814.06657.132
4.Amy Tinkler5.814.8335.713.8336.114.2005.913.06655.932
5.Carlotta Ferlito5.314.1005.512.6666.114.5665.614.26655.598
6.Mai Murakami5.814.6665.413.0665.912.8335.613.86654.431
7.Tabea Alt5.814.6665.913.9336.113.3005.412.50054.399
8.Tisha Volleman5.014.0004.913.0335.212.9005.612.73352.666

Men's All-AroundFXPHSRVTPBHBTotal
1.Ryohei Kato6.715.1006.414.4666.214.6665.614.9006.214.5666.915.23388.931
2.Donnell Whittenburg6.815.4336.113.6006.715.5006.015.2666.915.4666.213.30088.565
3.Sun Wei5.914.1006.415.0336.113.7006.015.1006.714.7666.414.96687.665
4.Sam Mikulak6.414.1666.213.7666.114.5005.614.7666.715.4006.213.36685.964
5.Nile Wilson5.513.2665.612.7666.414.6335.614.5007.015.2666.213.70084.131
6.Pablo Brägger6.413.6665.412.9005.113.6665.614.8666.313.4006.915.16683.664
7.Park Minsoo5.613.6666.014.4336.014.5665.213.9006.114.1005.512.70083.365
8.Andreas Bretschneider5.713.9665.113.3666.314.1335.214.2006.113.5336.613.90083.098
9.Lucas Bitencourt5.911.2335.812.5006.114.0665.613.6005.712.9665.712.63376.998
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