Uchimura’s to Lose
EVEN in a perfect worlds, Japan’s Kohei Uchimura would probably have little
trouble defending his all-around
title. But the Rotterdam field will be
diluted by the absence of the silver
and bronze medalists from 2009.
Runner-up Daniel Keatings of
Great Britain is rehabbing the torn
ACL he sustained after the Europeans, and bronze medalist Yuri
Ryazanov died in a car crash after
returning to his native Russia last
Fabian Hambüchen (Germany)
In the Mix
• Fabian Hambüchen/GER
(2007 silver, injured in ’09)
• Feng Zhe/CHN (2010
• Koji Yamamuro/JPN (2010
Japan Cup silver)
• Maxim Devyatovsky/RUS
(5th AA at 2009 worlds)
• Jonathan Horton/USA (4th
AA at 2007 worlds)
don) heals in time. (He missed the
2009 worlds with a sprained ankle.)
The 2007 world silver medalist told
IG he’s been concentrating on
improving his overall execution.
“I’m working hard on my E-score
and also trying to improve my D-score, but it’s really tough to find
the right balance,” he said.
Possessing beautiful form and
technique already, Uchimura, 21,
also is looking for more horse-
power in Rotterdam. “I do
plan to upgrade my D-
score on floor exer-
cise, pommel horse
and rings,” he told
Should Uchimura show
up with harder routines along with
the same silky execution, the gold is
his. “I don’t think I could beat him
right now, but I think I can be sec-
ond-best in the world,” says U.S.
champion Jonathan Horton.
“That’s what I want.”
And that’s really all anyone can
hope for against Uchimura, who
could become the next in a long
line of Japanese legends.
A Second Chance?
AFTER American Rebecca Bross coughed up a huge lead with her final
tumbling pass on floor, she handed
the 2009 all-around title to teammate Bridget Sloan, a worthy
contender in her own right. But on
that day in London, Bross had the
goods over Sloan and everyone
else, if not the good fortune to finish the job.
Life rarely offers a second
chance, and for someone like
Bross, 17, gymnastics is life. Likewise, Sloan, 18, cannot rely on
such serendipitous circumstances to
wear the gold again.
But the most pertinent question
now could be, Who will prevent
Difficulty can help, and Aus-
tralia’s Lauren Mitchell, fourth in
2009, was second only to Bross in
London in total D-score: 23. 8 to
23. 6. But post-worlds injuries have
hampered Mitchell’s quest to add
content to her routines, particularly
on her weak event, bars.
Others are dealing with injuries
or weak events too. Romania’s
Ana Porgras, sidelined with a leg
fracture in the spring, might not be
100 percent in Rotterdam, and
Beijing bronze medalist Yang Yilin
has been slowed by a back injury.
2009 bronze medalist Koko
Tsurumi needs a more difficult
vault to boost her all-around total.
Russia still lacks a consistent all-arounder and dependable team
leader. Can it be Aliya Mustafina,
who won the Russian Cup in
August, or will Japan Cup champ
Ksenia Afanasyeva step forward
and challenge for a medal? And are
the best all-around days behind
2009 European queen Ksenia
Stay tuned. All questions to be
answered soon enough.
In the Mix Bridget Sloan (USA)
Rebecca Bross (USA)
• Rebecca Bross/USA (2009
• Lauren Mitchell/AUS (4th
AA at 2009 worlds)
• Koko Tsurumi/JPN (2009
• Aliya Mustafina/RUS (top
AAer in Europeans team
• Ksenia Afanasyeva/RUS
(2010 Japan Cup champion)
• Mattie Larson/USA (2nd
AA at 2010 USAs)