Men’s artistic gymnastics in Nanjing: Young stars offer a glimpse of a bright future
The world’s best young male gymnasts gathered in Nanjing to put on a sparkling display of artistry and technique that suggests the future of the sport is very bright indeed!
Giarnni Regini-Moran (GBR) admitted that he had surprised even himself after taking gold in the men’s all-around, the blue-riband event of artistic gymnastics, thanks to a hugely impressive performance. The British gymnast finished on 84.725 points, ahead of Russia’s Nikita Nagornyy (83.050 points) and Alec Yoder of the USA (82.800 points), who took silver and bronze respectively.
“I didn’t think I’d be able to do it, but to come out here today and do what I did, it’s just amazing” said Regini-Moran. “It’s an unbelievable achievement and I’m so pleased with myself. I couldn’t have done any better.”
The Briton took the lead after the first rotation with a strong performance on the floor (14.900) and was knocked from the top of the leader board just once, when Ma Yue (CHN) took over for one rotation during the vault.
“It was a tough competition,” Regini-Moran said afterwards. “It was on and off between first and second for me and when I got to the high bar I knew that the Russian boy did an easier routine, so I just had to go out there and do the best routine of my life, and I did. The outcome was unreal.”
Nagornyy performed consistently throughout the competition and moved into second place after the third rotation on the vault (14.850). He briefly dropped down to third after his parallel bars routine (13.300) before finishing with a strong performance on the horizontal bar (13.600) which brought him back up to silver. After, the Russian said he was tired but “very, very happy”.
Alec Yoder, who took up gymnastics aged four, declared himself to be “stoked” with his bronze medal. Going into the final rotation the American was lying in fifth, but his double twist, double layout dismount from the horizontal bar scored him 13.850 points and assured him a place on the podium.
“Going into the high bar, I was thinking I was fighting for fourth or fifth, but in the back of my mind I always wanted to be there, medalling,” said Yoder. “I knew that I’d put the training in back home so I thought, ‘I’m just going to go out there and hit it.’”
Crowd favourite Ma Yue couldn’t keep up with the pace and ended up in fifth despite being in the lead after the third rotation.
Quiet man Nagornyy at the double
Having already been crowned all-around champion, Regini-Moran (GBR) went on to win gold on the floor with a score of 14.766 points, ahead of Japan’s Kenya Yusas (14.133) and the Republic of Korea’s Lim Myongwoo (13.766).
“My Olympic experience feels unreal since I’ve won two gold medals. At the start I was only aiming for gold on the floor and not in the all-around, but I gave everything and now I’ve got two gold medals,” said Regini-Moran.
Starting second-last, the British gymnast had to wait to show his competitors what he was capable of, before going on to execute a challenging and assured floor routine. “I knew that some of my competitors are quite strong on the floor but I like it too and I felt a bit of pressure. But the guys that went before me didn’t do the best routines, so I felt really confident and just did what I do in training,” he said.
Winner on the night of gold medals on the pommel horse and rings, with respective scores of 13.966 and 14.000, Nagornyy showed his superstitious side. The Russian athlete refused to answer any questions during the competition, explaining, “It’s bad luck to talk before the competition’s over.”
Nagornyy’s good friend Vladyslav Kryko (UKR) took silver on the pommel horse with a score of 13.933 and bronze on the rings with 13.533. The bronze medal on the pommel horse went to Timur Kadirov (UZB) with 13.800 points while Ma Yue (CHN) took silver on the rings with 13.866.
High fives for Regini-Moran and Nagornyy
Regini-Moran and Nagornyy sealed their places among the stars of Nanjing 2014 on the final night of the artistic gymnastics competition on 24 August. Regini-Moran added to his medal haul, winning gold on the vault and bronze on the parallel bars and horizontal bar to take his total to five medals. Nagornyy also ended up with five medals, including three golds, after winning two events on the closing night of the competition.
Regini-Moran set the bar high with his first vault, posting what proved to be a winning score of 14.695. “I’m so proud that all of my work in training has ended up paying off,” he explained, describing the competition as “unreal”. “I was a little bit sick, so to end up being here now is an incredible result.”
Ma Yue, a Nanjing local, took silver with 14.616 while Nagornyy took bronze with a score of 14.383. The Russian’s friendly rivalry with Regini-Moran looks set to become a regular feature of competitions in the future.
The parallel bars once again saw the two gymnasts fighting it out for the top spot. This time it was Nagornyy who took top honours with a score of 14.033, followed closely by Hungary’s Botond Kardos (14.016) and Regini-Moran (14.000), who made it onto yet another podium.
In the horizontal bar gold went to Japan’s Kenya Yuasa who scored 13.700 to go in front of Luka van den Keybus (BEL) by just 0.034 points.
Regini-Moran picked up his fifth and final medal, finishing 0.067 behind the winner to take the bronze. Yuasa admitted it was difficult to find a balance between the level of difficulty and the execution of the routine, adding that his “goal was to win the horizontal bar”.