A few videos from the all-around at the Japan Cup…thanks to YouTube user Tenshiguy78!

Kohei Uchimura Rings and High Bar 2010 Japan Cup All-Around

Amazingly, I wasn’t all that impressed with his rings.  In fact, I think he should be getting some deductions for waiting SO, SO LONG in an inverted hang…not once, not twice, but THREE times in that routine.  Not only is it a bit strange (especially at the beginning of the routine before he’s even done anything), but it really breaks the flow and rhythm of the routine.  I wonder if the judges are too “scared” to deduct because he is Kohei Uchimura.  The dismount is awesome though.  On the other hand, I absolutely love his high bar, and that routine was RIDICULOUSLY good.  The Kovacses are gorgeous and caught fully extended.  The Yamawaki, which was a little too close, caused really the only visible deduction in the routine.  Do you notice how he shows FLIGHT on his hopping elements?  That Rybalko is one of the best I’ve ever seen because he actually makes it appear like a flight skill, as opposed to many gymnasts who hardly hop their hands at all.  And that dismount has to be one of the best double-doubles ever done – he absolutely floats to the ground, with impeccable form and body line.  A huge ending to a monstrous all-around effort of 93.45!

Fabian Hambuechen P-Bars, High Bar, Floor 2010 Japan Cup All-Around

Well obviously he’s still an awesome gymnast, but it really speaks to the incredible depth of men’s gymnastics right now that he only placed 6th in the all-around here, despite looking really good.  His pommel horse score of 12.55 was a big reason why, but even if we added a generous TWO points to his score, he would have still been nearly three points behind Uchimura and still a few tenths behind Koji Yamamuro.  I’m not quite sure the cockiness after the high bar routine was called for…but I still would love to him battling for an all-around medal in Rotterdam this year.

Ksenia Afanasyeva Beam 2010 Japan Cup All-Around

Ksenia Afanasyeva Floor 2010 Japan Cup All-Around

Aliya Mustafina Floor 2010 Japan Cup All-Around

Afanasyeva was obviously the big story at this competition…what an incredible comeback she is making after being sidelined last year and looking like she was possibly on her way down.  Not only is she fit, confident, and performing brilliantly, but she even has some NEW SKILLS!  The standing Arabian is a great addition to her already wonderful beam routine, and the double layout on floor is downright magnificent.  I absolutely love watching her, and especially when she is in this kind of shape.  I haven’t seen her bars yet from this meet, but it scored a pretty solid 14.3 here.  I would say that bars is without a doubt the event she’ll want to beef up and clean up the most if she wants a shot at WINNING the all-around at worlds, which is starting to look somewhat realistic for her.

This looks almost like an off-season time for Mustafina, which I think is fine considering how much she has competed this year and the fact that worlds is still a few months away.  She looked a little bit exhausted and sluggish at this meet, but I think when worlds rolls around, she’ll get rejuvenated and will have TONS of international experience to fall back on when she goes out there to compete.  I expect she’ll sharpen up quite a bit, and if she does, she’ll be an all-around contender for sure.