Olympic medalist Jonathan Horton leads the U.S. men as the first day of competition concludes in Subdivision 5.
Subdivision 5 also includes Australia, fresh off their gold-medal performance at the Commonwealth Games, and Belarus, the 2001 world champions. Bulgaria is also competing, with veteran Jordan Jovtchev still going strong at 37.
Jonathan Horton (U.S.)
Belarus: Floor Exercise
Belarus begins on floor exercise, where veteran Dmitry Kasperovich anchors. Kasperovich, the only member of Belarus' 2001 world champion squad still competing, will try to make the finals on vault, where he is as dynamic as ever. Kasperovich, who turned 33 on Friday, was second on vault at the 2006 Worlds and sixth at the 2008 Olympics.
Another potential finalist is Alexander Tsarevich, who was seventh on high bar in 2009 and won parallel bars at the 2010 Paris World Cup. Tsarevich is returning from injury, however.
Like neighbors Russia and Ukraine, Belarus missed out on this past spring's European championships because of the Icelandic volcano. Eighth in 2006, the former world champions will be looking to get back into team finals after finishing 12th in 2007.
Australia: Pommel Horse
Like their female counterparts, the Australian men are hoping their experience in Delhi will serve as a warm-up to a better performance in Rotterdam. The team starts out on pommel horse, where two-time world medalist Prashanth Sellathurai hopes to reach the final.
Australia was 14th in 2006 but fell to 19th in 2007. This year the team is without former high bar world champion Philippe Rizzo, sidelined with a shoulder injury.
Bulgaria: Still Rings
The Bulgarian men begin on still rings, where 13-time world medalist Jordan Jovtchev anchors. The 37-year-old Jovtchev is not only one of the oldest gymnasts in Rotterdam, he is also the president of the Bulgarian Gymnastics Federation.
Jovtchev will go up last on all events but high bar and floor exercise, where Ukrainian-born Yaroslav Vovk anchors. 2004 Olympic vault finalist Filip Yanev will skip vault and floor after multiple knee surgeries.
In addition to its veterans, Bulgaria has two young gymnasts in 17-year-old Velislav Valchev and 19-year-old Eddie Penev. The Bulgarian-American Penev, a sophomore at Stanford University, has a chance at finals for the all-around, floor exercise and vault. The springy Penev finished eighth on floor at the 2009 Europeans and won vault at the 2010 NCAA Championships.
Mixed Group 5: Vault
Mixed Group 5 begins on vault, where Latvian world medalist Yevgeny Sapronenko will try to land both his difficult vaults to get into finals. Sapronenko is hit or miss on the event, but took second last month at the Ghent World Cup.
Yemen Olympian Nashwan Al-Harazi, coached by American Jim Holt, also will try two vaults.
Slovakia's only competitor, Samuel Piasecky, is a frequent World Cup medalist on floor exercise, pommel horse, parallel bars and high bar.
Portugal: Parallel Bars
Portugal, 22nd at both the 2006 and 2007 Worlds, will be aiming for the top 24. The team hasn't shown enough improvement to jump into the top 15, but competing in Rotterdam is the gymnast who brought the Portuguese their best-ever results: Gustavo Simoes, who took third all-around and second on still rings at the 2008 Junior Europeans.
The United States: High Bar
The United States men will try to recapture the team spirit that landed them on the podium at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, where they finished third. Two-time national champion Jonathan Horton is the only Olympian competing in Rotterdam, where the U.S. men will try to win their first world team medal since 2003.
The U.S. men failed to win any medals at the 2009 Worlds, where Horton was off his game. The team was fourth in qualification at the 2007 Worlds after finishing a worst-ever 13th in 2006. But the team has plenty of chances for medals in Rotterdam. In addition to a team medal, the U.S. is hoping for hardware from Steven Legendre (floor exercise and vault), Horton (all-around, floor exercise and high bar) and Danell Leyva (all-around, parallel bars and high bar).
Next Up: The world and Olympic champion Chinese men take to the floor as competition continues Tuesday morning!
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