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Hambuchen continuing to shine…

Fabian Hambuchen doesn’t disappoint very often. He’s been one of the most successful and consistent gymnasts in the world over the last 4 years, particularly on his four specialties – floor, vault, p-bars, and high bar. That’s why it was quite a shock to many of his fans when he suddenly started making mistakes at the Olympics in Beijing, where he should have brought home much more than just a bronze medal on high bar. His German team finished just out of the medals in 4th. In the all-around, his best event failed him when he came off the high bar and ended up 7th overall – but just three tenths from the silver medal. He followed that up with two more 4th-place finishes on floor and parallel bars. His bad luck continued on his final performance in the high bar event finals, where he was heavily favored to win gold. After catching his Kolmann close to the bar and coming up short on his Takamoto-full, Hambuchen fought his way through to still come up with a bronze – but not nearly enough to compensate for his other medal losses.
Hambuchen has seemed to be back on track this year and looks as strong as ever.    Hambuchen is undoubtedly still one of the best in the world on floor, p-bars, and high bar, but as has been the case over the last three years, his obstacles to becoming the world all-around champion remain his two weakest events, pommel horse and rings. Hambuchen was 3rd all-around in 2006 and 2nd all-around in 2007, where 2008 Olympic all-around champion Yang Wei won both titles. Now that the dominant Chinese star is retired and finally out of Hambuchen’s way, a new challenger has emerged that is possibly even more spectacular – the 2008 Olympic all-around silver medalist from Japan – Kohei Uchimura. Hambuchen is expected by many to battle with both Uchimura and possibly American Jonathan Horton for the world all-around title next month. Hambuchen recently picked up two international titles at the Champions Trophy competitions in both Frankfurt and Berlin – the latter of which he notched a very strong 91.575 (0.325 higher than Horton’s highest all-around at the recent U.S. National Championships).
Let’s take a look at some of his most recent routines on all six events to see how ready he is to finally win that world all-around crown. All of these routines are from his recent Champions Trophy competitions except for pommel horse, which is from the American Cup.
Fabian Hambuchen Floor 2009 Champions Trophy Berlin
Fabian Hambuchen Pommel Horse 2009 American Cup
Fabian Hambuchen Rings 2009 Champions Trophy Berlin
Fabian Hambuchen Vault 2009
Fabian Hambuchen P-Bars 2009
Fabian Hambuchen High Bar 2009
That pommel horse routine started had a D-score of 4.9 and scored a 14.1.  He has been doing a 5.2/5.3 routine recently, but seemed to have some trouble at his recent competitions. You can see that he has a pretty good circle and is very clean, so I think the potential is there to improve. I think he’s going to need to get that pommel horse score up in the high-14 range to really be able to compete with Uchimura.
Next we’ll take a look at exactly how Hambuchen, Uchimura, and Horton match up as all-arounders based on their performances this year!