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Written by Amanda Turner    Thursday, 28 August 2014 06:12    PDF Print
Ignatyev Wins Russian Cup Men's Title
(5 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Nikita Ignatyev captured the men's all-around title Wednesday evening as the 2014 Russian Cup continued in Penza. Pictured: Ignatyev with runner-up David Belyavsky and all-around bronze medalist Mikhail Kudashov.

Nikita Ignatyev captured the men's all-around title Wednesday evening as the 2014 Russian Cup continued in Penza.

Ignatyev easily outscored European all-around champion David Belyavsky by more than four points, 90.650-86.450. Mikhail Kudashov finished a close third with 86.200.

Ignatyev, who was second to Dmitry Stolyarov at the 2013 Russian Cup, hit six events. His lowest score was 14.500 on pommel horse, with the rest of his routines earning 15.050 or higher.

Belyavsky, the 2012 Russian Cup champion, fell on vault and then suffered a 12.950 on high bar.

2010 Youth Olympian Daniil Kazachkov finished fourth ahead of Ivan Stretovich, 17. Stretovich has dominated the Russian junior events the past few years and is among a handful of young hopefuls for the 2016 Olympic Games, Russian men's head coach Valery Alfosov said.

Hometown hero Denis Ablyazin blew away the field on his three specialties, scoring 15.950 on floor exercise, 15.800 on still rings and 15.400 on vault. Nikolai Kuksenkov balanced out Ablyazin on the other three events with 15.300 on pommel horse, 15.150 on parallel bars and 15.050 on high bar.

European still rings championships Alexander Balandin, the runner-up at the 2013 World Championships, will miss the remainder of the year after undergoing shoulder surgery, Alfosov said. 2012 Olympic team captain Emin Garibov, who underwent double shoulder surgery last year, was also absent.

The Russian Cup will help decide the team for the upcoming world championships in China, Alfosov said, but also the makeup of the 2015 national team.

"First of all I want to see all the candidates aspiring to get into the Russian team for the world championships in China and onto the roster for the 2015 national team," he told Russian media. "This season basically is already over, but ahead of us we have the very crucial 2015 and 2016. After the European championships [in May] we started some updating the team. We invited a pack of young gymnasts who had been competing as juniors into the senior squad."

Artur Dalaloyan, 12th, Viktor Britan, 13th, Kiril Potapov and Nikita Nagorny are other juniors with potential for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Alfosov said.

Competition continues Thursday evening with the men's team final. The women's team final takes place Friday evening. The competition will be webcast live on the Russian Gymnastics Federation's official website.

External Link: Russian Gymnastics Federation

2014 Russian Cup
Aug. 28, Penza

Men's All-AroundFXPHSRVTPBHBTotal
1.Nikita IgnatyevLeninsk-Kuznetsky15.10014.50015.30015.05015.60015.10090.650
2.David BelyavskyYekaterinburg14.90015.05014.35014.25014.95012.95086.450
3.Mikhail KudashovChelyabinsk14.70013.60014.45014.65014.55014.25086.200
4.Daniil KazachkovNovosibirsk14.85013.55015.00015.00012.45014.40085.250
5.Ivan StretovichNovosibirsk14.65014.30013.90014.20014.00014.15085.200
6.Roman SuetinYekaterinburg14.45011.80014.70015.00015.10013.25084.300
7.Vladislav PolyashovCheboksary14.80013.30013.90014.50014.60012.80083.900
8.Nikolai KovinovSyzran13.65014.15013.85013.95013.55013.35082.500
9.Pavel PavlovPenza12.25013.10014.75015.20014.45012.70082.450
10.Grigory ZyryanovKemerovo13.45013.90013.40013.75014.35013.40082.250
11.Artur DalaloyanMoscow14.55011.10014.55014.30014.25013.45082.200
12.Viktor BritanChelyabinsk14.55012.50013.65015.25013.15012.95082.050
13.Nikita LezhankinYekaterinburg12.10013.20014.15014.15013.15013.50080.250
14.Igor PakhomenkoLeninsk-Kuznetsky12.40012.95013.35014.05012.15015.00079.900
15.Sergei DanilenkoChelyabinsk13.25013.40013.05013.30013.10013.25079.350
16.Alexei RostovMoscow14.10012.25012.80014.10013.70012.00078.950
17.Boris LozhkinRostov-on-Don12.30012.40013.05013.45014.40013.15078.750
18.Vilyam KatinSaransk13.45012.00012.90013.05013.70013.15078.250
19.Kirill ProkopyevVladimir13.00012.80012.25013.50013.65010.50075.700
20.Alexander MyakininMoscow12.10013.50012.75013.45011.35012.30075.450
21.Maxim SemaginVladimir12.60011.85011.60012.80013.15012.80074.800
22.Alexander GrishinVolgograd11.90013.10011.20012.35013.50012.60074.650
23.Vadim YegorovOmsk13.10011.30011.10012.50012.75012.85073.600
24.Ilya KibartasVladimir11.20010.35014.10013.00011.55012.80073.000
25.Alexei BogdanovVladimir12.80011.70012.60011.50011.75012.15072.500
26.Ilya ZakrevskyYekaterinburg12.00010.80011.25013.40012.10011.60071.150
27.Sergei YeltsovAstrakhan13.6005.35013.65013.15010.65013.15069.550
28.Ivan TsvetkovKostrama11.00010.35010.55012.40011.45011.85067.600
29.Yevgeny VasilyevVladimir13.45011.7009.05013.05013.00060.250
30.Sergei StepanovCheboksary12.80012.8004.15012.65013.50055.900
31.Alexei KosyanovMoscow12.30013.40012.80013.05051.550
32.Alexei BykovRostov-on-Don13.60011.50010.65013.15048.900
33.Denis AblyazinPenza15.95015.80015.40047.150
34.Nikolai KuksenkovVladimir15.30015.15015.05045.500
35.Andrei CherkasovLeninsk-Kuznetsky11.85014.35014.10040.300
36.Andrei LagutovLeninsk-Kuznetsky13.65012.40013.40039.450
37.Maxim KhodykinSmolensk13.15012.60013.35039.100
38.Mark AntushevPerm12.00012.7503.45028.200
39.Dmitry KharkovPenza13.35013.65027.000
40.Dmitry TurayevPenza12.05013.20025.250
41.Andrei PerevoznikovKorolyov14.65014.650
42.Matvei PetrovKaliningrad14.50014.500
Written by Amanda Turner    Wednesday, 27 August 2014 05:25    PDF Print
Mustafina Recaptures Russian Cup Title
(7 votes, average 4.43 out of 5)

World and Olympic champion Aliya Mustafina recaptured her all-around title at the 2014 Russian Cup, which kicked off Wednesday in Penza. Mustafina topped Maria Kharenkova and Daria Spiridonova.

World and Olympic champion Aliya Mustafina recaptured her all-around title at the 2014 Russian Cup, which kicked off Wednesday in Penza.

Mustafina scored 59.133 to win the all-around title over first-year seniors Maria Kharenkova(57.834) and Daria Spiridonova (56.799).

Mustafina had the top scores of the day on vault (14.833 for double-twisting Yurchenko) and uneven bars (inside Stalder-full to Maloney half; inside Stalder blind to piked Jaeger; Stalder full to Pak salto; toe-full to stuck full-twisting double; 15.400). She added her standing Arabian back to her balance beam routine, but fell on a side aerial for 14.600 (double turn; standing Arabian; switch half, Onodi; side aerial (fall); front aerial, front aerial; switch ring; RO double tuck with one step back).

Kharenkova, the 2014 European champion on balance beam, scored the highest mark of the day, 16.200, on her best event (punch front. ff, ff, two-foot layout; sissone, wolf jump; Front aerial, sheep; side aerial; switch leap, back pike. full turn with leg held horizontal to full turn. Switch leap, switch ring. FF ff stuck double pike). Veteran Daria Yelizarova had the top score on floor exercise (14.467).

2012 Olympic vault bronze medalist Maria Paseka was the top qualifier to the women's vault final (Amanar; layout Podkopayeva).

World and Olympic medalist Viktoria Komova, still nursing a sore ankle, competed uneven bars only, scoring 14.700 (Komova II to Pak salto; Komova I; inside Stalder blind to layout Jaeger; inside Stalder-full to Tkatchev; full-twisting double with a hop) to qualify third behind Mustafina and Spiridonova. Komova said she hopes to be ready to compete balance beam as well to challenge for a spot on Russia's world championships team in October.

Two-time Olympian Ksenia Afanasyeva sat out the competition with a lingering ankle injury.

Competition continues Wednesday evening with the men's all-around final and individual qualification. The competition will be webcast live on the Russian Gymnastics Federation's official website.

External Link: Russian Gymnastics Federation

2014 Russian Cup
Aug. 27, Penza

Women's All-Around QualificationVTUBBBFXTotal
1.Aliya MustafinaMoscow14.83315.40014.60014.30059.133
2.Maria KharenkovaRostov-on-Don14.10013.86716.20013.66757.834
3.Daria SpiridonovaMoscow13.83315.03314.23313.70056.799
4.Alla SosnitskayaMoscow14.53313.83314.03314.03356.432
5.Yekaterina KramarenkoSt. Petersburg13.90014.66713.60013.36755.534
6.Daria YelizarovaTula13.70013.63313.63314.46755.433
7.Tatiana NabiyevaSt. Petersburg14.26714.53313.36712.66754.834
8.Olga BikmurzinaSaransk13.53313.30013.73313.70054.266
9.Polina FyodorovaCheboksary13.60011.53314.40014.16753.700
10.Liliya AkhaimovaSt. Petersburg14.13312.50013.16713.76753.567
11.Alla SidorenkoSt. Petersburg13.33313.36713.13313.30053.133
12.Anastasia CheongSt. Petersburg13.80011.03313.66713.53352.033
13.Alexandra YazydzhyanMoscow13.53312.60011.66713.36751.167
14.Kristina KruglikovaVladimir13.70011.26712.90012.80050.667
15.Lina AkhmetshinaUfa13.13310.00011.56711.80046.500
16.Yelena ScherbakovaVolgograd12.70010.33312.53310.40045.966
17.Natalia MedvedevaRostov-on-Don13.0339.46711.06712.36745.934
18.Arina NedovesovaVladivostok11.80010.56711.36712.06745.801
19.Valeria GolenischevaVolgograd10.2679.13311.86712.00043.267
20.Maria PasekaMoscow14.63313.30014.20042.133
21.Anna VanyushkinaVeliky Novgorod12.53311.46712.10036.100
22.Anna RodionovaYoshkar-Ola14.46713.36727.834
23.Viktoria KomovaVoronezh14.70014.700
24.Anastasia OsetrovaVolgograd10.10010.100

Women's Vault QualificationScore
1.Maria PasekaMoscow14.433
2.Alla SosnitskayaMoscow14.150
3.Lilia AkhaimovaSt. Petersburg14.033
4.Tatiana NabiyevaSt. Petersburg14.000
5.Anastasia CheongSt. Petersburg13.700
6.Kristina KruglikovaVladimir13.634
7.Olga BikmurzinaSaransk13.167
8.Anna VanyushkinaVeliky Novgorod12.850
R1.Yelena ScherbakovaVolgograd12.434
R2.Daria YelizarovaTula

Uneven Bars QualificationScore
1.Aliya MustafinaMoscow15.400
2.Daria SpiridonovaMoscow15.033
3.Viktoria KomovaVoronezh14.700
4.Yekaterina KramarenkoSt. Petersburg14.667
5.Tatiana NabiyevaSt. Petersburg14.533
6.Anna RodionovaYoshkar-Ola14.467
7.Maria KharenkovaRostov-on-Don13.867
8.Alla SosnitskayaMoscow13.833
R1.Daria YelizarovaTula13.633
R2.Alla SidorenkoSt. Petersburg13.367

Balance Beam QualificationScore
1.Maria KharenkovaRostov-on-Don16.200
2.Aliya MustafinaMoscow14.600
3.Polina FedorovaCheboksary14.400
4.Daria SpiridonovaMoscow14.233
5.Alla SosnitskayaMoscow14.033
6.Olga BikmurzinaSaransk13.733
7.Anastasia CheongSt. Petersburg13.667
8.Daria YelizarovaTula13.633
R1.Yekaterina KramarenkoSt. Petersburg13.600
R2.Anna RodionovaYoshkar-Ola13.367

Women's Floor Exercise QualificationScore
1.Daria YelizarovaTula14.467
2.Aliya MustafinaMoscow14.300
3.Maria PasekaMoscow14.200
4.Polina FyodorovaCheboksary14.167
5.Alla SosnitskayaMoscow14.033
6.Liliya AkhaimovaSt. Petersburg13.767
7.Daria SpiridonovaMoscow13.700
8.Olga BikmurzinaSaransk13.700
R1.Maria KharenkovaRostov-on-Don13.667
R2.Anastasia CheongSt. Petersburg13.533
Written by dwight normile    Sunday, 24 August 2014 14:19    PDF Print
Mikulak Rallies to Claim Back-to-Back National Titles
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

Well that was entertaining. What a difference two days can make. On Friday the defending champion looked out of sorts with poor efforts on two events. But at the P&G Championships today, Sam Mikulak looked like a different gymnast altogether, and earned the big scores that enabled him to leap from fourth to first (180.650). Going six-for-six helped, of course, especially since the trio ahead of him all made mistakes.

First-day leader John Orozco (second, 180.200) performed a handspring-double-twisting front that was devalued to a tuck, and he got a bit tight on parallel bars and was unable to follow a Healy with a reverse pirouette.

"I got ahead of myself," Orozco said. "I started trying to be too perfect."

Jake Dalton (third, 179.850), Friday's runner-up, had a good chance to win his first nationals, but he landed his Kasamatsu-double twist low and staggered out of bounds. "I opened a bit early and that led to the steps," Dalton said.

And Danell Leyva (fifth, 177.500), third two days ago, struggled a bit on high bar (bent-arm giant after a layout Kovacs and his half-Takemoto finished on the wrong side of the bar).

"If it wouldn't have been for that, for me it would have been a perfect day," Leyva said.

So all of that, plus Mikulak's incredible balance across every apparatus (and his ability to stick dismounts), gave the former Michigan gymnast back-to-back national titles, the first to do so since Jonathan Horton in 2009 and 2010. His 92.25 was the day's highest, and 0.60 higher than his best total last year in Hartford, Conn.

Heading into vault in the last rotation, Mikulak, Dalton and Orozco all had a chance to win.

"I knew it was close," Mikulak said. "I'm not going to change my gymnastics … just make sure I didn't fall on my butt (on vault)."

That's also the event that started Orozco's downfall. He had been training a double front, but he said his coach said to stick with the double-twisting front.

"After vault I caught myself glancing [at scores] but it didn't help me so I stopped," Orozco said. Asked about Mikulak, and Orozco had nothing but praise. "Sam is Sam. He's such a gamer. He does it when the time is right. Everything he does seems so effortless, and it inspires me."

As good as Mikulak was, there was definitely a new star in the making. Donnell Whittenburg, who started the day in sixth, climbed to fourth with some amazing amplitude and difficulty. He's incredibly strong and rings and he put down two of the hardest vaults in the Code: a Dragulescu and Ri Se Gwang (Tsukahara-full-in, back-out). High bar may be his weak event, but his potential seems off the charts.

Whittenburg says pommel horse and high bar are his weak events right now, and that he "needs to control my nerves" on the former. "There's always pressure at this event," he said. "But I try to stay in my own bubble."

Rounding out the top 10 in order were Alex Naddour, Paul Ruggeri, Jonathan Horton, Brandon Wynn and CJ Maestas.

So for another year, Mikulak is the top U.S. all-arounder, and his coach Kurt Golder said this year's win was better than in 2013.

"That's sweet to pull out a championship coming from behind," said Golder, adding that Mikulak's demeanor contributes to such a turnaround. "He doesn't put all that undue pressure on himself [after mistakes] like some guys do."

Mikulak, however, will savor something else from his meet in Pittsburgh.

"To be able to hit two great pommel horse routines was the best part of my weekend," he said.

Event champions: Dalton (floor), Mikulak (pommels), Wynn (rings), Whittenburg (vault), Leyva (parallel bars), Orozco (high bar).

Though the 2014 U.S. world team hasn't been announced yet, the top six from the all-around looks like a formidable squad. Stay tuned.

National Team: Mikulak, Orozco, Dalton, Whittenburg, Leyva, Naddour, Ruggeri, Horton, Wynn, Eddie Penev.

Check out the IG Facebook page for Quick Hits.

Written by dwight normile    Saturday, 23 August 2014 20:07    PDF Print
Biles Wins Second Consecutive All-Around National Title
(5 votes, average 3.40 out of 5)

Starting Saturday night with a 3.15 advantage, defending U.S. champion Simone Biles was in a rare place. And after four rotations, she had matched Jordyn Wieber's double win from 2011-12.

Wieber ran away from the field for her first victory, but in 2012 she edged Gabby Douglas by only 0.20. Biles' back-to-back was just the opposite. Last year she defeated Kyla Ross by 0.20, but this year she beat her by 5.25. And all with a smile on her face.

It wasn't a fair fight. Biles began her night on floor with another sensational effort, opening with a tucked double-double, following with a Biles (double layout-half), a double layout and tucked full-in (15.50). On vault she matched her 15.90 for what is easily the highest, cleanest Amanar on the planet right now. She improved on bars from Thursday with a tidy 14.750 and closed her night on beam, where a wolf hop to side aerial left her standing on the mat.

"I've been having problems with my side aerial, but it's fixable," said Biles.

Said Marta Karolyi, U.S. national team coordinator: "A fall is a fall, and we definitely need to take care of that."

So Biles, coached by Aimee Boorman, is human after all. Knowing her, that mistake will make her better next time, which will likely be in Nanning, China, in October, to defend her world title.

For the record, Biles' 122.550 was 2.10 higher than last year's winning total, and Ross's 118.300 was about 2.0 lower. Sense a trend?

Ross also opened on floor and replaced her whip to Arabian double front with a flip-flop Arabian double front, stag jump. She was clean elsewhere, improved on bars from day one, and closed with a 15.350 on beam, looking as calm as ever.

"I know, after worlds, I need to get back in the gym and work on my difficulty," said Ross, who plans to start college after the 2016 Olympics.

Following Ross were Maggie Nichols (117.900), Alyssa Baumann (116.100), MyKayla Skinner (115.450), Amelia Hundley (112.200), Madison Desch (111.200) and Macy Toronjo (109.150).

Event winners were Biles on vault and floor, Ashton Locklear on bars (strong inside Stalder work, Pak-Maloney, Jaeger, clean full-out), and Ross on beam.

The 13-gymnast field included five gymnasts who did not do all four events, and some of them could end up making the 2014 world team, which will be named at a selection camp in September. Those gymnasts were Felicia Hano, Madison Kocian, Ashton Locklear, Veronica Hults and Brenna Dowell. Hano worked every apparatus but bars; Kocian, Locklear and Hults competed bars and beam; and Dowell did bars only.

Until then, Biles is clearly the top gymnast in the country and, according to her, it doesn't mean all that much.

"Winning is not what I focus on," she said. "I focus on having fun."

Written by dwight normile    Saturday, 23 August 2014 14:56    PDF Print
Foberg Wins Junior P&G Championships
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Whether it's a Level 4 meet or the Olympic all-around final, it always helps to hit all your routines. And that was the recipe Jazmyn Foberg followed in claiming the 2014 junior title at the P&G Championships in Pittsburgh. It also helped that she showed no weak event, and each routine had plenty of punch.

Coached by Maggie Haney at MG Elite, Foberg led by 0.60 after Thursday's competition, and held on for the win over Nia Dennis, 114.950-114.500. She also topped the bars standings (Maloney-half, Ricna, Maloney, half-in half-out). Not bad for someone who failed to even qualify to this meet last year.

"It feels great," she said. "I'm so excited."

Even with the title on the line, Foberg said she was more relaxed today.

"I was actually less nervous because I got all the kinks out [on day one]," she said.

Dennis (Buckeye) certainly had the goods to win, but she fell on her double layout off bars on Thursday, and on her standing Arabian front on beam both days. She won vault (Yurchenko-double twist) and floor (double layout, double Arabian, 1.5 twist through to double tuck, double pike), however. Even with the mistakes, she was all smiles afterward.

"I feel really good," she said. "I tried my best."

Third-place Norah Flatley (Chow's) also missed an opportunity to win. Ironically, it happened on her best event, balance beam, where she fell on a sheep jump Thursday and a layout to two feet today (112.550).

"It wasn't my best," she said of her beam effort. "I'm going to go back in the gym and work on it."

U.S. Classic winner Jordan Chiles did well after missing her first event Thursday (bars). With two events remaining today she was still in ninth, so she hit vault and bars to climb to fourth (111.600).

Flatley's teammate Alexis Vasquez posted the top beam total (29.400; flip-flop, layout, layout; switch ring leap; 2.5 twist dismount) to help lift her to fifth, while Emily Gaskins (Cincinnati), second after day one, fell from bars today and finished sixth.

The top six gymnasts made the junior national team.


• 2012 Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman has been training at her old gym, Brestyan's, since last September. Her goal is to return to competition at the 2015 U.S. Classic and make the 2016 Olympic team. She plans to attend her first national team training camp in October, after the 2014 world championships. She met with a group of reporters at the Consol Energy Center prior to the junior competition Saturday afternoon. Here are a few quotes:

"I'm happy to be back in the gym. I'm taking it slow. I have a better relationship with Silvia and Mihai (Brestyan) than ever before."

"My goal is to do all-around … and clean up bars…."

"[Having already won Olympic gold] I feel like I have a huge weight lifted off my shoulders."

Her advice for young gymnasts: "Love what you do … and never give up."

Oh, one more note: Aly said that after her interview she was headed to Kyla Ross's room to do her makeup for tonight's competition.

Shilese Jones' (Auburn) floor mount of full-in half out is really cool. It's looks like a full to Arabian front.

• Chow's trio of gymnasts on beam were superb in terms of leap quality, extension and presence: Alexis Vasquez, Victoria Nguyen and Norah Flatley.

Tiny Morgan Hurd (First State), who wears glasses, showed excellent technique on bars.

Taylor Lawson (Parkettes) partially missed the beam on her takeoff and landed on the back of her neck. She was able to walk away under her own power after being evaluated. She scratched her final three events.

• 100.000: Jazmyn Foberg's score with one event remaining.

• After each gold medal was given to the winner during the event awards ceremony, a replay of the champion's routine was shown on the jumbotron. Nice effect.


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