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Uchimura Dominates World All-Around Final
(9 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

IG Editor Dwight Normile is blogging from the 2009 World Gymnastics Championships at the O2 Arena in London, where Japan's Kohei Uchimura won the men's all-around title Thursday.

2009 world champion Kohei Uchimura (Japan)

The men's all-around final proved a battle for silver and bronze, as Japan's Kohei Uchimura steamrolled the field to win the gold. He is the first Japanese gymnast to win since Hiroyuki Tomita won in 2005. Daniel Keatings became the first British gymnast to win a world all-around medal (silver), and Russia's Yuri Ryazanov won the bronze.

Rotation 1

The 24 men's all-around finalists are in four groups (FX, PH, SR, VT), and the top six seeds began on floor. Jonathan Horton (USA) drew the short straw and was first up on floor. He promptly sat down the double front at the end of his mount, which had to take the air out of his sails. He finished without any major errors, but his hill to the medals podium just got a lot steeper. Crowd favorite Daniel Keatings (GBR) went O.B. twice but avoided the big mistake to keep his medal hopes intact. Tim McNeill (USA) was steady for the most part and allowed himself a small clap as he walked off the podium. Maxim Devyatovsky (RUS) followed and opened with a clean layout full-out and stayed clean throughout, ending with a tucked full-in (15.00). Top all-around seed Kohei Uchimura (JPN) was next and looked like a sticking machine. His set included a tucked double-double, a tucked Thomas and he actually opens up his arms at the end of his triple twist dismount (15.625). Nikolai Kuksenkov, the Ukrainian champion, finished the rotation with a relatively clean set.

From the other groups: Benoit Caranobe (FRA) landed his piked double Tsukahara, Russia's Yuri Ryazanov hit pommels, while Japan's Kazuhito Tanaka came off pommels. The top two after one event came from vault (Caranobe, 16.025; Spain's Sergio Munoz, Kasamatsu-1.5, 15.95), not surprising, because that event scores significantly higher than the others. Uchimura is third.

Rotation 2

What Keatings lacked on floor, he made up for on pommels with an immaculate set, mounting with a scissor-handstand, swinging Russians between the pommels, a spindle on the end and smooth rhythm throughout (15.50). McNeill, no slouch on pommels himself, followed with a fine routine with plenty of variety (full kehre, Russian on one pommel, back travels, 15.00). Devyatovsky began smoothly and then got in trouble on his Russians on the end, breaking form but staying on. It must have sapped him because he never really got his swing back and got stuck halfway to his flair handstand (13.425). Will he throw in the towel mentally, as he's done in the past? Uchimura followed and rocked another excellent set, swinging slowly (for a short guy) with perfect form throughout (14.90). Kuksenkov hit a stock routine well, with Horton last up. Thought the compact American had fallen from pommels in prelims, he told IG he was still confident on the event, but that he has the bad habit of tightening up when he gets in trouble. This time he fell early during a single-pommel element. After remounting, he swung more aggressively until the end, when his arms buckled on the flair handstand dismount (11.10). At this point, he has little to lose or gain, except more valuable experience. After two events, Uchimura has the lead.

From the other groups: Caranobe came off PB on a giant element, and Germany's Marcel Nguyen missed a Healy and jumped off.

Rotation 3

McNeill worked a steady rings set until he had to save a front giant. He dismounted with a tucked double-double with a tiny hop (14.325), then received a high five from Horton. Devyatovsky mounted with an Azarian roll to Maltese, but it sagged below the rings, and his planche later on was above horizontal. Not his best event (15.075, seems high). Uchimura followed with better strength positions than Devyatovsky and nearly stuck his tucked double-double (15.225). Kuksenkov, the tallest gymnast of his group, swung well but struggled with his strength elements. He dismounted with a clean piked double front (one step). Horton finally hit a routine he could be proud of (solid Maltese, press to planche), but his body language spoke volumes about the disappointment he was feeling. After he walked off the podium, McNeill gave him a handshake, and then a pat on the back that seemed to say "Hang in there." Horton received a 14.90, which is ridiculous when Devyatovksy, who can't even do a Maltese, scored higher. Keatings closed the event with a solid set, but you can tell he still needs to gain strength, which should come as he gets a bit older (14.20). Uchimura has a commanding lead, which should grow after vault if he stays on his feet.

From the other groups: Caranobe nailed an intricate high bar set (stuck layout double-double), and Ryazanov hit a high Yurchenko-2.5 twist.

Rotation 4

Devatovsky probably ended his chances of a medal when he sat down his handspring-double front vault. It was extremely high, but he seemed to tweak one of his ankles when he landed (14.875). Uchimura nearly stuck a very clean Yurchenko-2.5 twist, which should give him some breathing room with two events left (16.05). Kuksenkov fell to one knee on a Kasamatsu-full, and Horton, who has been in last place since pommels, nearly stuck his double front (15.75, landed on the penalty line). Keatings did a Kasamatsu-full with a small hop, which is relatively low in difficulty, but his 15.45 put him a distant second behind the Japanese. McNeill kept his mojo going on vault with a double-twisting Yurchenko (hop). He applauded himself, and his 15.30 put him in third, .10 ahead of Ryazanov, who hit p-bars. Uchimura has a 2.4 lead.

Rotation 5

Uchimura finally made a mistake, an intermediate swing after a Belle, front uprise. He made everything else in his p-bars set (peach-half, Dmitrienko, Morisue, Belle with half turn to upper arms, front-1.25 to upper arms (14.65). Kuksenkov had some form issues but nothing too terrible, and Horton hit an excellent set with a stuck double pike (15.125). Keatings came through big on p-bars, a great event for him, with smooth technique and hit handstands (15.05, front-1.25 to support catch-L, perfect Healy, Tippelt). McNeill looked tight on p-bars, as his peach-half was low and he had to save a pirouette. He gave away valuable tenths on an event in which he usually shines (14.20, ouch). Meanwhile, Ryazanov was looking great on high bar until he slung his double-double too far from the bar and put his hands down (14.50). Tanaka, who earlier hit a clean high bar set, climbed to third behind Keatings, with Ryazanov fourth and McNeill fifth.

Rotation 6

Kuksenkov started high bar with a fall, and Horton ended his day as he began, with a fall (Kolman). After he dismounted, Horton gave a wave to the appreciative crowd. With the bronze, and possibly silver, up for grabs, Tanaka needed a solid floor set. He mounted with clean tucked double-double, then raced through his next two combination passes. After a layout Arabian-1.75 and front-1.75, he made a triple twist dismount (14.65). Keatings followed on high bar with a deliberate routine (elgrip Endo) and various pirouettes. When he stuck his layout full-out, the crowd erupted in what would surely be the first world all-around medal for a British gymnast (14.475). McNeill was next on high bar and needed the routine of his life to get into the medals. He hit his set and was left to wait for both Ryazanov and Uchimura to determine his final standing. Ryazanov rifled off four quick passes before some transition work on the mat, then finished with a 2.5 twist. Just a few landing shuffles marred the set (14.825, bumped Tanaka by .10). Uchimura then mounted high and showed why he's the indisputable best gymnast in the world. His three releases (piked Kovacs, Kovacs, Kolman) were breathtaking and he finished with a layout double-double. Only then did he allow himself a wave to the crowd (14.975). Finals standings: Gold, Uchimura 91.50; Silver, Keatings 88.925; Bronze, Ryazanov 88.40.

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Comments (5)add comment

Nicki T. said:

Congradulations to Uchimura, Keatings, and Ryazanov. And congrats to Tim McNeil for placing well in his first international competition. As for Jonathan Horton, what happened?
October 15, 2009
Votes: +1

Willard Felsen said:

All that Universal Sports does here is lock up my computer:
no video, no sound, nothing. And I can't close it out or do
anything else with the computer while it's locked onto
the immobile Universal Sports video website. The only way
out is to shut down. May not be a widespread problem, but
ought to be worth looking into at your end.
October 15, 2009
Votes: +1

Vncntdl said:

After a few glitches early on, I had no problems with the video website. It was great to watch a relatively unbiased telecast of the All-Around competition, with footage of many of the competitors and not just focusing on 4 or 5 gymnasts from specific countries. (I watched the live stream and followed the IG posts on Facebook; a far better alternative than the typically lousy broadcast footage with the "terrible trio".)
Uchimura was AMAZING. He stood heads above the rest of the field in overall difficulty, and he also showed full mastery of this difficulty. His awesome performance on High Bars was icing on the cake. (As an aside I have to say that I found it ludicrous that his routine only scored .5 higher than Keating's. Although I thought Keating deserved his medal for his consistency, he was often over scored by the judges IMO. He only did one very simple release on high bars, compared to three dazzlingly difficult and high flying releases by Uchimura.)
Despite the complete absence of the Chinese, as well as Hambuchen, it was actually a very entertaining AA competition. I'm thrilled that Russia managed to squeak out a bronze medal. I was also impressed by both Tim McNeill and Kristian Thomas. They have lots of potential.
October 15, 2009
Votes: +4

iLOVEvault said:

I had a lot of problems after the 4th rotation ended. I never saw another video just bits and pieces and not many of them

My friends had the same problems.

Better then nothing but I hope it is better tomorrow
October 15, 2009
Votes: +1

Vicki said:

Great to see Uchimura deliver -- not only someone who figured out the current code but also a stylish and complete gymnast by any criteria; hope someone is able to challenge him in the current quadrenium.
Glad to see Ryazanov instead of Devyatovsky take the bronze -- no matter how good he is, his attitude will always mar his image.
Too bad about Horton. It looks like he got carried away with the expectations instead of focusing on the routines. McNeill seems to be quite a revelation; the US finally has a pommels guy who is strong on other events as well (which will be important with the five-member Olympic team).
October 15, 2009
Votes: +4

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