week. He followed with a Kasamatsu-double twist (Lopez), with
a step out of bounds, but his 16.566 average would be impossible to beat. Japan’s Makoto Okiguchi scored 9. 40 for both his
Lopez and handspring-randi (Yeo 2) to bump Bouhail out of the
third, while Golotsutskov took the silver.
PARALLEL BARS: Less Is More
By taking the gold and silver the last two years, China has owned
p-bars recently. But American Danell Leyva showed a new—or
was it old?—style to win the event. A couple of days after knocking himself out of the all-around with a scary fall from high bar,
the 19-year-old Cuban native opened his 10-skill gem with a
peach-Diamidov so pure that it has to be one of the top skills in
the sport right now. It’s actually named for Teng Haibin (who no
longer competes it), but Leyva does it so much better.
With no somersaulting skills, Leyva swung through his routine
with technical precision. And even though his closing Diamidov
and stutz could have been more vertical, he earned a winning
15.633 largely because of his event-leading E-score of 9.233. “I
got a little scared, because after the Diamidov I was like short,
and on the stutz I was short,” Leyva told IG. “And then I didn’t
know how the dismount was going to come out, but it all worked
Said Leyva’s coach and stepfather, Yin Alvarez: “I was more
nervous than him. But inside, I was pretty sure he was going to
do great p-bars, because he was amazing on p-bars the whole
week, and for many months before.”
His closest competitors, Vasileios Tsolakidis (Greece) and
Zhang Chenglong (China), each tallied 9.033 and shared second
with 15.533. For the Greek (front uprise-Diamidov- 11⁄ 4; front
uprise-Makuts), the medal was a long time coming, having
placed fourth in 2006 and ’09. Now he finally gets to go to the
Olympics … at age 32. Zhang could have knocked Leyva out of
first had he not landed so low on his dismount, and last-up
Uchimura overarched a simple peach to drop him to fourth,
.133 behind the winner.
Defending champion Feng Zhe (China) had the routine to win
too— 23 skills!—but he fell out of a peach-full and had to improvise. Likewise, Kazuhito Tanaka sat on the bar on his reverse cut
mount when one hand missed the bar.
2009 champ Zou Kai (China) won his second world high bar title
( 16.411), but it took him 26 skills to amass the 7. 7 D-score that
helped him do it. Critics will argue that his 8.741 E-score was
much too high (loose body, legs and feet; flat Takemoto), especially when compared with the 9.033 of bronze medalist
Uchimura ( 16.333, 7. 3 D-score), whose routine was technically superior. Zou’s simply looked more like a trapeze act.
Finishing between the two was defending champion Zhang
Chenglong (China), who also completed his Takemoto late and
piked much too soon on his jams ( 16.366).
2007 champion Fabian Hambüchen (Germany) had the undesirable draw of going first, but he set a good standard with
16.233, which included his new layout Tkatchev-Rybalko-Winkler combination. He would have been in the medals without the hop on his double-double dismount.
2010 silver medalist Epke Zonderland thrilled the crowd with
his Cassina-Kolman combo and half Takemoto to Gaylord 2, but
he crashed his ankles on the bar on a Yamawaki and spun out
of contention (fifth).
Japan’s Yusuke Tanaka fell on his dismount, and Germany’s
Philipp Boy collapsed when one hand missed the bar on a
Takemoto to finish sixth and seventh, respectively. Eighth went
to American John Orozco, 18, who caught his full-twisting
Tkatchev but finished his Takemoto on the wrong side of the bar.
And so closed the worlds in Tokyo, where numerous goals,
both personal and national, were realized. And after everyone
returned home, their focus will shift squarely on the 2012
Olympics. For in London next summer, dreams of a lifetime
await to be fulfilled. IG
TOP (l-r): High bar medalists Zhang Chenglong
(China),Zou Kai (China)
and Kohei Uchimura
ABOVE: Zou Kai (China)
celebrates after his high
LEFT: Yin Alvarez reacts
after stepson Danell
Leyva wins parallel bars.
OPP. LEFT:Parallel bars
champion Danell Leyva
OPP. TOP INSET (l-r):
Vault medalists Anton
Yang Hak Seon (Korea)
and Makoto Okiguchi
OPP. BOTTOM INSET (l-r):
Parallel bars medalists
Zhang Chenglong (China),
Danell Leyva (USA) and