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Japan Cup All-Around Finals

Two of the world’s newest all-around stars took top honors in the all-around finals of the Japan Cup this past weekend. Huang Quishuang improved upon her preliminary performance by over two full points to hold off new young Russian sensations Aliya Mustafina and Tatiana Nabiyeva. On the men’s side, an exciting two-way battle took place between Japan’s Kohei Uchimura and Germany’s Fabian Hambuchen, with Uchimura coming out on top by a .65 margin:
Women’s All-Around
VT
UB
BB
FX
AA
1.
Huang Qiushuang
14.950
14.250
15.350
14.350
58.900
2.
Aliya Mustafina
14.750
15.100
13.850
14.550
58.250
3.
Tatiana Nabiyeva
14.900
14.250
14.300
14.000
57.450
4.
Koko Tsurumi
13.700
14.800
14.750
14.150
57.400
5.
Lauren Mitchell
14.100
13.900
13.850
14.450
56.300
6.
Miki Uemura
13.900
14.550
13.850
13.100
55.400
7.
Zhang Jing
14.950
13.150
13.650
13.000
54.750
8.
Britt Greeley
13.700
12.850
12.750
13.150
52.450
Men’s All-Around
FX
PH
SR
VT
PB
HB
AA
1.
Kohei Uchimura
15.800
15.150
14.750
16.250
15.450
15.350
92.750
2.
Fabian Hambüchen
15.600
14.000
15.150
16.200
15.450
15.700
92.100
3.
Kazuhito Tanaka
14.850
14.450
15.100
16.050
15.500
14.900
90.850
4.
Yoo Won-Chul
14.450
14.200
15.250
15.750
15.550
14.850
90.050
5.
Guo Weiyang
13.100
15.250
15.200
15.500
15.200
15.450
89.700
6.
Lu Bo
14.050
14.150
15.550
16.000
14.950
14.650
89.350
7.
Danell Leyva
14.500
13.950
14.150
15.600
15.200
15.100
88.500
8.
Maxim Devyatovsky
14.250
14.100
15.450
14.850
15.050
14.600
88.300
9.
Eugen Spiridonov
14.350
13.700
14.850
15.450
14.700
14.500
87.550
10.
Steven Legendre
15.400
12.800
14.000
14.900
13.100
14.150
84.350
11.
Sergei Khorokhordin
13.150
13.550
13.850
15.500
14.750
13.250
84.050
12.
Kim Seung-Il
15.100
10.900
14.400
12.800
13.800
14.300
81.300
I’m not sure why China competed Zhang Jing rather than Xiao Sha, who led the all-around in the preliminaries. It also would have been great to see how Jonathan Horton would have stood up against Uchimura and Hambuchen, although I don’t believe Horton is quite in his best competition form just yet. Hopefully this competition, and particularly the opportunity to watch two of his biggest competitors, did a lot to motivate Horton into trying to get onto the podium in London this fall. The U.S. competed youngsters Danell Leyva and Steven Legendre instead, providing some extremely valuable experience for two of our future stars. Leyva performed much more solidly than he did in preliminaries, putting up a strong 88.5 to finish 7th – about four points behind the leaders. I’d say his performance definitely showed his potential to be a real all-around threat in the very near future. If he can continue to improve his pommel horse and rings and get them closer to the 15-mark, he’ll have six very strong events and a realistic shot at challenging the very best in the world. Legendre is undoubtedly one of the very best tumblers in the world. Although his all-around was somewhat lackluster here, check out this video if you haven’t see what this guy has been doing!
Steven Legendre FX 2009
HOLY COW. I’d say this definitely qualifies as the hardest floor routine ever done. In case you couldn’t tell, that first pass was a 2 ½ twisting double layout – never done before to my knowledge. The second pass was a Hypolito – a piked Arabian double front with a full out. I think we should send this guy to worlds this year for this routine ALONE. Of course he’s an awesome vaulter as well. This is simply too amazing to not show to the rest of the world.
Mustafina and Nabieva are definitely two to watch out for. Let’s look at a couple of videos from these two during the all-around finals:
Nabieva Vault 2009 Japan Cup AA Finals
Was she trying a Yurchenko triple full??!!! I don’t think so actually – in fact she stated after the meet that she was doing her 2 ½, and also indicated a 2 ½ with her vault number. If you slow-mo the vault, you’ll see that she does actually land past the half position – almost at a ¾ position. Why did she do that? I have no idea, but that was pretty amazing. I’m POSITIVE a Yurchenko triple full has never been done in competition by any female, and only a couple of males have attempted it that I know of. Aside from being awfully sloppy, that type of vault is going to help her tremendously as she attempts to become an all-around threat over the next few years.
Mustafina FX 2009 Japan Cup AA Finals
Very nice! She has great dance ability AND strong tumbling – a very nice Memmel turn (leg by her face), a high Arabian double front, a well-controlled 2 ½ front full, and a completed triple full dismount. She can clean up the form on her twisting, but she has lots of potential here.
Mustafina BB 2009 Japan Cup AA Finals
Fantastic! Obviously she left out something out of that random back handspring at the beginning, but what an awesome standing Arabian! She also had a great variety of skills – the attempted Onodi-side somi combo will be really cool, and of course a double turn is always risky. She also got that triple full all the way around – again I’d like to see her work on those crossed feet. Unfortunately neither Nabieva nor Mustafina will be eligible for world’s this year because they both turn 15 this year. We’ll have to wait until next year to see how these two stack up. What a shame!