Artistic Gymnastics

Artistic Gymnastics World Championships 2019 | Day 1 as it happened

Women's qualification began in Stuttgart on 4 October with France, Canada, and China.

By ZK Goh and Scott Bregman ·

Welcome to the Olympic Channel's blog coverage of the FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships 2019 in Stuttgart, Germany, bringing you all the latest news, videos, and updates.

The Championships started today!

Among those in action on the first day of women's qualifying today were the reigning world champion on uneven bars, Nina Derwael, European all-around champion Mélanie de Jesus dos Santos, and the Chinese women's team. After day 1, de Jesus dos Santos leads the all-around qualification standings.

While you're here, you may also want to check out yesterday's blog.

You can also watch the Championships on Olympic Channel (starting on Tuesday 8 October), subject to territorial restrictions. Click the link below to find out if there is coverage in your area.


4 - 13 Oct 2019

2019 FIG World Championships - Stuttgart


All times below are Central European Summer Time (UTC+2 hours). Most recent updates first.

10:36 pm – Good night!

We'll be back tomorrow with more as Russia and USA go in qualification.

We leave you with a selection of photos from today's action.

World Artistic Gymnastics Championships photo gallery – Day 1

10:30 pm – Ellie Black reacts

Ellie Black of Canada reacts after qualification

Canada's Elsabeth Black speaks to Olympic Channel after qualification at th...

10:05 pm – Chen admits nerves

Chen Yile says she thinks she will make the uneven bars final tomorrow, despite having been nervous.

"After I completed my first routine [on uneven bars], I was pretty happy.

"I was nervous, obviously, because I hadn't competed in so long.

"I think I should be able to make the final."

9:20 pm – Chinese fans in good voice

China's fans are making themselves heard despite their relatively small numbers.

A chant of "Come on, Chinese team!" rings out after each apparatus.

Chinese fans cheering at the 2019 Artistic Gymnastics World Championship (Photo: Olympic Channel)

9:06 pm – Two-for-two for Chen Yile

If Chen Yile had any nerves from not having competed in nearly a year, it didn't show today as she hit both her uneven bars and balance beam routine. She just posted the second best score on beam of the day, a 14.266 and is behind only her best friend and roommate Liu Tingting.

China's anchor Li Shijia earned a 14.500, pushing Chen out of the balance beam final due to the two per country limit.

Chen Yile balance beam routine in podium training

All-Around star Chen Yile shows off her balance beam routine in podium trai...

8:56 pm – World champion Liu Tingting looking strong on balance beam

China's balance beam lead-off athlete, typically a country's weakest athlete on the event, was World Champion Liu Tingting.

Despite a .100 deduction for going overtime, she's taken the lead on the event with a 14.300. Can she hold off her teammates and advance to next Sunday's beam final to defend her title?

8:35 pm – 'All Around' star Chen Yile nails uneven bars in first competitive routine since 2018 Worlds

Chen Yile, one of three stars of the Olympic Channel's original series 'All Around', just made her competitive return from injury.

Seventh a year ago in the all-around final at the World Championships in Doha, Chen has been sidelined with both ankle and wrist injuries and hasn't competed since November 2018.

Moments ago in Stuttgart, the 17-year-old nailed her uneven bars routine, earning a 14.366. She completed a stalder Shaposhnikova to Pak salto opening sequence and dismount with a strong tucked, full-out.

8:33 pm – Mélanie de Jesus dos Santos talks training mentally

8:21 pm – Strong start from Ellie Black

Ellie Black, who won five medals at July's Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, is off to a strong start here in Stuttgart on the uneven bars. The Canadian posted a 14.266 on the event and is currently fifth in the standings.

Can she find more of the magic she showed earlier this summer and find her way back to the Worlds podium?

Ellie Black (CAN) on the uneven bars at the 2019 World Gymnastics Championships

8:13 pm – Improved vaulting for China

Vault was once a weak event for the Chinese – but not this week in Stuttgart. Qi Qi vaulted a Yurchenko double full for a 14.533. Her Rudi second vault earned a 14.666, giving her a 14.599. She's currently second in the vault standings.

8:03 pm – Final sub-division introduced

The last four rotations of tonight have been introduced. There's a small but vocal group of Chinese fans near us who gave China a loud "jia you" welcome.

7:47 pm – WATCH: Oksana Chusovitina's vaults

7:35 pm – Chen Yile on return from injury

China and Chen Yile will go in the last sub-division of the day shortly.

She told the Olympic Channel her confidence is growing after recent injury.

Gymnast Chen Yile is gaining confidence following her return from injury

The Chinese gymnast has recovered just in time for the Artistic Gymnastics ...

7:25 pm – De Jesus dos Santos into the all-around lead

Mélanie de Jesus dos Santos is into the all-around lead!

It's 13.316 on balance beam for the Frenchwoman – but an inquiry goes in about her difficulty score and it's increased to 13.616.

That puts her top of the balance beam standings after the 5th subdivision. And she's now 1.341 points clear of Nina Derwael in the all-around.

Melanie de Jesus dos Santos on balance beam in podium training

France's reigning European all-around champion Melanie de Jesus dos Santos ...

7:10 pm – Meanwhile… 'robot judges' invoked

For the first time at the Worlds, the FIG is making use of 'robot' video technology to help in judging inquiries.

And we've just seen it in use on vault.

6:58 pm – A medal for France... in the team?

The French women are 🔥🔥🔥 today and have posted the top team totals on all three of the events they've competed so far today. Could we see them upset the 'big three' – USA, Russia and China – when team medals are decided on 8 October?

6:55 pm – Going deaf!

The French fans are certainly making themselves known. They are deafeningly loud.

De Jesus dos Santos just finished her uneven bars routine to a massive roar. 14.600 – that's third best today. She had a little moment where it looked like she might not have enough momentum to go over the bar, but she handled it well and made it. She's had an awesome day today.

6:30 pm – Super vaulting from France

Melanie de Jesus dos Santos boomed a Yurchenko double twist on vault for a 14.600. Then, teammate Aline Friess followed that up with a stellar Rudi of her own, which scored 15.000! A 9.200 execution score. It was superb.

6:24 pm – The long wait is over...

After nearly 6 minutes, Melanie de Jesus dos Santos' score, a 13.966, was posted. That's the top mark today on the event.

6:18 pm – de Jesus dos Santos works the crowd

The crowd are loving de Jesus dos Santos' floor routine! She opened her routine with a flawless full-twisting double layout and followed it up with same skill tucked. She closed out with a nearly stuck double pike.

You can watch it (from podium training) below:

Watch Melanie de Jesus dos Santos' floor routine from podium training

France's two-time European champion on floor, Melanie de Jesus dos Santos, ...

5:50 pm – French fans are ready!

We are seated next to a group of very loud and noisy French fans. They are ready for this next sub-division to start!

"Allez la France!"

France will begin on floor.

5:15 pm – Mélanie de Jesus dos Santos could break French drought

We're waiting for the next sub-division, which includes France and 2019 European all-around champion Melanie de Jesus dos Santos.

She recently spoke to the Olympic Channel about training with Simone Biles in Houston, and possibly becoming the gymnast to break France's medal drought in World and Olympic competitions.

The road back for Melanie de Jesus dos Santos

After a knee injury ruled her out of the Rio 2016 Olympics, the Martinique-...

5:00 pm – Olympic spots on the line

3:50 pm – WATCH: Is It Possible to land a beam front flip with a full twist?

We investigate with Laurie Hernandez

Is It Possible for a Gymnast to land a Beam Front Flip with a Full Twist?

The USA’s Olympic Artistic Gymnast Champion Laurie Hernandez pushes the phy...

3:40 pm – Chusovitina thinking "positive thoughts"

Oksana Chusovitina on having to wait to find out if she's qualified for her eighth Olympic Games:

"I will try not to be nervous. I will try to distract myself because I’ve already competed and everyone prepared how they prepared. For the next 24 hours, I will maybe go take a walk. I will not watch the competition and will not think about it, but I will peek into my phone sometimes.

"Let’s not think about it. Let’s think positive thoughts."

Asked about her mistake on her second vault, she added: "Let’s not talk about it. I made a mistake and that’s it. I could have done an easier vault but I didn’t. That's that."

3:25 pm – Team USA announces line-up

The American women will compete in qualifying tomorrow night.

3:02 pm – Derwael still leads

That's the end of the third sub-division of 12. Belgium's Nina Derwael continues to lead the all-around standings.

We're hoping to hear from Oksana Chusovitina shortly.

2:52 pm – Not the day Chusovitina wanted or needed

The 44-year-old finished her competition on the balance beam with a fall on her acrobatic series (back handspring to back pike) and then dismounted with a single layout. Her 11.100 beam score gave her a 48.433 in the all-around.

To qualify to Tokyo, she'll need to finish among the top 20 individuals not from countries already qualified to the Games.

Oksana Chusovitina looks disappointed after her all-around qualification at the 2019 World Championships (Photo: Olympic Channel)

2:06 pm – Chusovitina likely to miss the vault final

After opening with an impressive front one-and-a-half twist vault, Oksana Chusovitina came up short on her Kasamatsu full twist second vault. She earned scores of 14.833 and 13.333 for a 14.083 average.

Oksana Chusovitina performing her second vault in qualification at the 2019 World Championships (Photo: Olympic Channel)

2:00 pm – Re-use and recycle

1:33 pm – Chusovitina's quest for her eighth Olympics underway

The Olympic legend just finished her floor routine in Stuttgart. She's competing in the all-around for the first time this season since 2016, when she also needed to do so in order to qualify to the Games.

Her floor routine included a double back, a back double twist and a front full to score 11.300.

Oksana Chusovitina performing on floor at the 2019 World Championships (Photo: Olympic Channel)

1:25 pm – Oksana Chusovitina and Germany get huge reception

The German crowd love Oksana Chusovitina, the Uzbek 44-year-old who represented Germany at Beijing 2008 (where she won a silver medal) and London 2012. A huge roar goes around the arena when she's introduced.

Unsurprisingly, when the home team is announced mere seconds later, the crowd absolutely erupts.

Oksana Chusovitina is introduced to the crowd at the 2019 World Championships (Photo: Olympic Channel)

1:12 pm – Danusia Francis finally gets her chance?

Danusia Francis, who was the alternate for Great Britain at London 2012 and missed out on a chance to qualify for Rio 2016, looks like she's in a good position to finally qualify for her first Olympics – now representing Jamaica.

She teared up when speaking to us about perseverance.

12:58 pm – Derwael on what's changed since the 2016 Olympics

"At the Rio Olympics, I was first year senior at the Olympics, so I was I was still young and I was there with nothing to lose. I just really enjoyed the competition and being there, I didn't really have set goals for myself. Making the all around final was already a big achievement for me.

"After the Olympics I think I made a little click in my head, like, I want not only to compete in big competition but I also want to try and be in finals, try and medal, so I think I went to training each day a little bit different.

"I always wanted to improve something to be better, to have a goal in mind to really get a Europeans or maybe, you know, Worlds medal.

"Last year was just an incredible world championship for me. Coming fourth in the all-around, then becoming world champion on bars, and also to come fourth on beam. That was really really incredible for me and it just gave me a lot of confidence and also made me realise why I love the sport and why I've put all these hours in the gym."

Nina Derwael speaks about Rio experience and how she's grown

The 2018 world uneven bars champion Nina Derwael talks about how she learne...

12:25 pm – Waiting to hear from Derwael

That's the end of the sub-division, with the next group due on in an hour's time. It should get loud in here for that, with the hosts Germany in that sub.

For now, we're waiting to hear from Nina Derwael in the mixed zone.

12:18 pm – Belgium thank fans

The Belgian gymnasts are waving to all corners of the arena. Their fans have made the short journey here in big numbers and they want to thank them.

Belgium currently lead the Team standings on a total of 161.238.

12:02 pm – Derwael's day is done

She's gone cleanly through all four events – highlighted, of course, by her spectacular effort on the uneven bars. Her balance beam routine was mostly solid with a check after her back handspring, layout step out series and a nervous moment on one of her wolf turns. She scores 13.200.

And finishes with an 55.441 in the all-around. She leads in the all-around, uneven bars and balance beam standings at this point.

Nina Derwael tumbles on the balance beam at the World Championships (Photo: Olympic Channel)

11:47 am – Derwael hits uneven bars

Nina Derwael will almost certainly find herself defending her uneven bars World title on 12 October during the first day of apparatus finals, after nailing her routine moments ago in Stuttgart. She appeared slightly off on the catch of her Ezhova (front flip with a half turn from high bar to low) and her toe-on full pirouette, but handled it smoothly.

15.141 – the top score by 1.408!

11:34 am – Williams savoring the moment

Jamaica's Toni Ann Williams flashed a big smile after nailing her uneven bars routine, which earned an 11.800. The former NCAA star did not think she'd be here after tearing her Achilles tendon in February.

"After I tore my Achilles, I said, ‘I am retired. I’m done with this. I’m not doing this anymore'," Williams told Olympic Channel in July at the Pan American Games.

But she is doing it Stuttgart, looking for a return trip to the Olympic Games.

A Day in the Life of an Olympic Gymnast with Toni-Ann Williams

Toni-Ann Williams made Olympic gymnastic history in Rio - this is her stor...

11:23 am – Derwael clean through two

World uneven bars champion Nina Derwael of Belgium is hoping to lead her team to Tokyo 2020 qualification – and so far, so good. She opened on the floor exercise with a clean routine with two tumbling passes (a double back and a back one-and-a-half to front full) for a 13.600. Her full-twisting Yurchenko vault earned a 13.500. Her specialty, the uneven bars, is up next!

11:15 am – PHOTO: Derwael on floor

Nina Derwael competes on floor at the World Championships (Photo: Olympic Channel)

11:10 am – BREAKING: FIG issue statement on difficulty grade of Simone Biles' beam dismount

The FIG have issued a statement defending their difficulty value assigned to Simone Biles' double-double beam dismount, saying the assigned difficulty takes into account the "safety of the gymnasts".

11:02 am – NCAA stars underway in Stuttgart

UCLA's Danusia Francis and the University of California-Berkeley's Toni Ann Williams are underway in subdivision two. The duo is hoping to earn a berth to next summer's 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Both opened their competitions with clean Yurchenko full twists with small hops backward.

10:54 am – Jamaica do the Bolt!

Jamaica's three athletes are introduced to the crowd and they do Usain Bolt's signature pose. We're sure the eight-time Olympic champ wishes them all the best.

10:52 am – Huge cheers for Belgium!

Belgium and Nina Derwael get the crowd going as they are introduced – huge cheers for the reigning uneven bars champ!

10:50 am – Live stream information

The next three sub-divisions today are being live-streamed by the FIG on their YouTube channel, subject to geo-restrictions.

10:45 am – All Around episode three is out!

In case you haven't heard, the third episode our All Around series is out now.

You can catch up on all three episodes below.

10:30 am – All you need to know

Need a primer on what and who to look out for at these Championships?

Why not read our preview article or watch our preview below?

World Artistic Gymnastics Championships preview - All you need to know

Simone Biles, Artur Dalaloyan and the world's best look ahead to the champi...

10:15 am – Yamilet Peña out with injury

The Dominican Republic's Yamilet Peña, a 2012 Olympian, was wheeled out on a stretcher by the medical team. She had ice on her ankle and had clearly been fighting tears after a rough landing on her second vault before falling again on beam. Wishing her a speedy recovery.

10:05 am – Stands filled with fans

Good morning from the first day of competition at the 49th FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Stuttgart!

The fans have packed in as women's qualification gets underway here in southern Germany. The first sub-rotation is underway.

Today, we'll be following Nina Derwael, Oksana Chusovitina, Mélanie de Jesus dos Santos, and the Chinese team on the live blog, with the occasional update from the other teams and athletes too.

Stay with us for what promises to be an exciting day of gymnastics!