FIVE all-around finalists from the 2011 Tokyo worlds were competing in the Garden, and each had a legitimate chance of winning this
Marcel Nguyen (Germany) started on floor with a
high layout double-double, and hit the rest of his
routine well for an event-high 15.266. Great
Britain’s Daniel Purvis was close on Nguyen’s heels,
scoring 15.2 for a routine that included an Arabian
double pike-stag leap and a layout Thomas.
Leyva also opened with a layout double-double,
but the crowd of over 12,000 seemed to be more
impressed with his Manna. Teammate John Orozco
wasn’t really a contender on this event due to a
lower Start Value.
Nobody got through their pommels routines
cleanly, but Kuksenkov was smoothest and made
the fewest errors ( 14.933). Once again Purvis was
close behind ( 14.733), and both he and Leyva
( 14.433) worked confidently.
Three gymnasts—Orozco, Oleg Vernyayev
(Ukraine), and Ryuzo Sejima (Japan)—fell off this
apparatus and well down the early rankings.
Looking to redeem himself, Orozco, who grew
up in nearby Brooklyn, was aggressive on rings
(nice tucked Yamawaki to planche), but that aggres-
sion backfired when he kicked out a bit too early on
his piked double front dismount and had to take a
large step backward.
The competition provided a
measure of redemption for reigning U.S. champion Leyva, who
won the men’s title in a squeaker
over 2011 runner-up Kuksenkov.