Artistic Gymnastics World Championships 2019 | Day 4 - as it happened

Sam Mikulak made the all-around final by the skin of his teeth as Nikita Nagornyy led the way in qualification.

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.

Defending all-around world champion Artur Dalaloyan and hot favourite European champion Nikita Nagornyy finished in second and first place respectively in the all-around at the end of qualifications, with the Russian men also leading the team standings.

USA qualified seventh, with its lead gymnast Sam Mikulak squeaking into the all-around final in 27th place.

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

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

All times below are Central European Summer Time (UTC+2 hours). Please refresh the page for updates (most recent entries first).

11:00 pm – Qualifiers

To the team final:

Russia, China, Japan, Ukraine, Great Britain, Switzerland, USA, Chinese Taipei

To the individual all-around final:

Nikita Nagornyy, Artur Dalaloyan, Xiao Ruoteng, Kazuma Kaya, Sun Wei, Petro Pakhniuk, Lee Chih Kai, Oleg Verniaiev, Pablo Braegger, Yul Moldauer, Oliver Hegi, Andreas Toba, Tang Chia-hung, Joe Fraser, Kim Han Sol, Carlos Edriel Yulo, Nestor Abad, James Hall, Manrique Larduet, Caio Souza, Lee Jung Hyo, Ludovico Edalli, Milad Karimi, Samuel Mikulak

To the floor final:

Artem Dolgopyat, Lin Chaopan, Nikita Nagornyy, Xiao Ruoteng, Artur Dalaloyan, Kim Han Sol, Carlos Edriel Yulo, Dominick Cunningham

To the pommel horse final:

Max Whitlock, Rhys McClenaghan, Lee Chih Kai, Zou Jingyuan, Daiki Hashimoto, Shiao Yu-Jan, Cyril Tommasone, Kazuma Kaya, David Belyavskiy (Kaya and Belyavskiy tied for eighth and had the same execution score, meaning both men qualified for a nine-man final)

To the rings final:

Ibrahim Colak, Arthur Zanetti, Samir Aït Saïd, Eleftherios Petrounias, Marco Lodadio, Denis Ablyazin, Nick Klessing, Artur Tovmasyan

To the vault final:

Yang Hak Seon, Artur Dalaloyan, Shek Wai Hung, Igor Radivilov, Le Thanh Tung, Marian Dragulescu, Nikita Nagornyy, Dominick Cunningham

To the parallel bars final:

Lukas Dauser, Petro Pakhniuk, Joe Fraser, Xiao Ruoteng, Ferhat Arican, Sun Wei, Ahmet Onder, Kazuma Kaya

To the horizontal bar final:

Tang Chia-hung, Samuel Mikulak, Tin Srbic, Arthur Mariano, Artur Dalaloyan, Lin Chaopan, Tyson Bull, Daiki Hashimoto

Qualified a full team to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games:

All eight team finalists, as well as South Korea, Brazil, Spain, and Germany

Qualified for Tokyo 2020 as an individual gymnast (all-around):

Carlos Edriel Yulo (Philippines), Manrique Larduet (Cuba), Ludovico Edalli (Italy), Milad Karimi (Kazakhstan), Loris Frasca (France), Robert Tvorogal (Lithuania), Alexander Shatilov (Israel), Ferhat Arican (Turkey), Artur Davtyan (Armenia), David Huddleston (Bulgaria), Bart Deurloo (Netherlands), Daniel Corral (Mexico)

In addition, the top three gymnasts in apparatus event finals not part of a team that has qualified for Tokyo and not already qualified through the all-around will also qualify for the Olympic Games individually, up to a maximum of three gymnasts per nation. In effect, this will qualify the following athletes:

Artem Dolgopyat (Israel), Rhys McClenaghan (Ireland), Cyril Tommasone (France), three non-qualified athletes from rings, Shek Wai Hung (Hong Kong, China), Le Thanh Tung (Vietnam), Marian Dragulescu (Romania), Ahmet Onder (Turkey), Tin Srbic (Croatia), Tyson Bull (Australia)

There are five athletes in the rings final fighting for the three qualifying spots: Ibrahim Colak (Turkey), Samir Aït Saïd (France), Eleftherios Petrounias (Greece), Marco Lodadio (Italy), and Artur Tovmasyan (Armenia).

10:35 pm – Mikulak makes it... but only just

We said Sam Mikulak could only afford two men to pass him in the last session.

That's exactly what happened with Swiss pair Pablo Braegger and Oliver Hegi finishing ninth and 12th respectively.

It means the American goes through to the all-around final along with team-mate Yul Moldauer.

8:15 pm – Check back later…

We're pausing the blog until the end of qualifications tonight. Check back later for a full list of qualified gymnasts.

7:59 pm – Verniaiev: "I would go and cry, then prepare for the team final"

Ukraine's Oleg Verniaiev has been reflecting on qualifying in fourth for the team final, but missing out on every apparatus final (he's made the individual all-around).

"We worked with the team, prepared hard. I think this is our first high result like this.

"We let a lot of people think about ... those people who didn’t believe in us and put us in 13th or 14th place.

"Physically I don't have enough resilience, I slowed down because of that.

"I think I burned out a little, worried too much. Also everything is connected to preparation. I performed just like I prepared. 51% was aimed for the team license, 49% for personal. We made it, what can you do.

"I would go and cry and then we'll prepare for the team final."

Oleg Verniaiev performs on parallel bars in qualification at the 2019 World Championships (Photo: REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay)
Oleg Verniaiev performs on parallel bars in qualification at the 2019 World Championships (Photo: REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay)Oleg Verniaiev performs on parallel bars in qualification at the 2019 World Championships (Photo: REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay)

7:54 pm – Whitlock "[hasn't] felt like that for a long time"

Reacting to his top-scoring pommel horse routine, Max Whitlock said:

"I haven't felt like that in a competition for a long time, in terms of my arms feeling fresh and feeling comfortable. For the last two years, it's been quite difficult.

"You know, I've been fatiguing quite quickly and that was a feeling today that was just unbelievable. So I need to sort of work out how I get that feeling more, because it obviously meant I do a routine like that, and that's what I need to try and do more which is which is really good.

"I was so pleased. There was a lot of pressure on me going into that, and you know I got such a great reaction after, with the boys as well, because I think they all felt the pressure that I was under."

Max Whitlock performs on pommel horse during qualification at the 2019 World Championships
Max Whitlock performs on pommel horse during qualification at the 2019 World ChampionshipsMax Whitlock performs on pommel horse during qualification at the 2019 World Championships

7:40 pm – What does a top gymnast take to competition?

We asked the USA's Yul Moldauer that very question…

7:25 pm – Happy birthday Andreas Toba

Andreas Toba, Rio 2016 Olympian, turns 29 today. He's just been up on stage watching a number of recorded video messages from fellow gymnasts, and has just received a cake brought out by his team-mates.

Now Happy Birthday to You rings out around the arena.

Toba is currently 11th in the all-around standings.

Team Germany are staying in the arena to watch the final sub-division. They face an anxious wait to find out if they've qualified a team for Tokyo 2020.

7:18 pm – Cowbells and horns

The Swiss and Dutch fans are in the house!

Their teams go at 7:30 and it's going to be noisy in here.

6:55 pm – Mikulak watch

Sam Mikulak now sits in 25th in the all-around standings with one sub-division still to go.

Even with a number of athletes who will miss out on the two-per-country maximum, the American is on the brink of missing the all-around final.

As it stands, Russia, China, and Ukraine all have three athletes in the top 24 – meaning Mikulak is effectively 22nd in terms of all-around final qualification. He can't afford to be passed by more than two athletes in this evening's last session.

6:52 pm – Ukraine, Great Britain, South Korea qualify for Tokyo 2020

All three full teams in this sub-division have done enough to book their Olympic spots.

Three teams left tonight: Netherlands, Romania, and Switzerland. Spain, Germany, and Italy will watch with bated breath.

6:47 pm – Verniaiev in all-around final

Verniaiev closes with 13.233 on the high bar to sit him seventh overall on 84.299 in the all-around standings. He's in the final.

6:26 pm – No final for Verniaiev

Olympic parallel bars champion Oleg Verniaiev of Ukraine will miss out on the final on his signature event after posting a 14.800. He's currently 10th. It was a solid routine but a slight overbalance on his stutz and a hop on his dismount cost him.

Meanwhile, Verniaiev's teammate Petro Pakhniuk moves into second on the apparatus, knocking out current all-around leader Nikita Nagornyy of Russia from the parallel bars final.

6:23 pm – Max's masterclass

Wow. Stunning routine for the double Olympic champion on pommel horse.

His rhythm was perfection the entire routine, such intricate single pommel work and impressive flairs. He earns a 15.266 – into the lead!

5:53 pm – Whitlock sitting out floor

Whitlock may be the reigning Olympic champion in floor exercise, but the Briton is missing the apparatus this week.

Asked about it after podium training, he said:

"Basically, I wanted to do floor, but for me floor wasn't ready. I tried very hard to make sure it was ready and be ready on four apparatus but it just wasn't meant to be. You know, my fitness wasn't up to scratch.

"I don't want to go out to another world stage or big competition, major event, without my floor being crisp. I just don't want that.

"Hopefully by the time Europeans comes round, I can work out how to prepare on floor to the best of my ability and go out with a strong routine."

5:27 pm – REPORT: Mikulak survives early scare to likely reach two finals

The six-time American national champ, Sam Mikulak, recovered from a poor start to in all likelihood reach all-around and high bar finals in Stuttgart earlier today.

Read our recap here.

UPDATE (7:07 pm): Mikulak is on the bubble for making the all-around final with one sub-division to go. He sits in 25th, with three athletes ahead of him ineligible to make the 24-strong final. He cannot be passed by more than two athletes in the last session.

5:05 pm – Whitlock underway

Max Whitlock begins his night on parallel bars.

Everything looks clean and he nails his dismount. 14.000 puts him 27th in that event, although he's not doing the all-around.

4:47 pm – Verniaiev struggles on floor

That wasn't clean from the Olympic all-around silver medallist on floor. A couple of out of bounds will mean deductions. 0.400 points worth, actually.

13.000 on floor for the Ukrainian.

4:30 pm – Sub-division 7 begins now

Two sub-divisions left to go, here comes sub-division 7 featuring South Korea, Great Britain, and Ukraine. Double Olympic champion Max Whitlock (GBR) and Olympic champion Oleg Verniaiev (UKR) are the ones to watch here.

Great Britain start on vault; Ukraine are on floor. Whitlock is not doing the all-around.

3:50 pm – Qualified teams for Tokyo

There are six teams left to compete tonight.

Last year's medallists, China, Russia, and Japan, all booked their tickets to Tokyo 2020 in Doha.

That leaves nine more spots to be filled today – and we now know that the top three teams not already qualified are also through to the Japanese capital.

They are USA, Chinese Taipei, and Brazil.

Russia and China have also confirmed their spots in the team final here in Stuttgart.

3:35 pm – Xiao Ruoteng explains slip on pommel horse

Speaking to Chinese media in the mixed zone, the 2018 pommel horse world champion – who did not qualify for the 2019 final on that apparatus – says he felt nervous.

"I didn't expect it, I was a bit nervous, I wasn't expecting this to happen. I guess it was psychological.

"It affected me mentally for the rest of my apparatus. I definitely didn't show what I'm capable of."

Asked if he was affected by a fan in the crowd shaking a cowbell, he said: "Actually it happened so quickly I wasn't sure what had happened myself. But actually we can talk about this or that, I think it's still a problem for myself."

Could it affect him if it happens again in the team final? "I need to not think about that or anything else. Just perform to my best."

2:55 pm – Short break

That concludes that sub-division, with China moving past Japan into second in the team standings.

2:30 pm – Zou out of p-bars final

That's nice from Xiao on parallel bars! In fact, 14.966 puts him into second on the apparatus, and third overall in the all-around standings. That should be a spot in the event final.

Following him is defending event champion, Zou Jingyuan. It's only 12th for Zou! So both Xiao and he will not be defending their apparatus titles, but will in all likelihood be in the event finals for the other's event.

Update (2:40 pm): Zou submitted an inquiry into his score, but it appears to be unchanged. He will not make the final.

2:05 pm – Mixed day for China individually so far

The defending team champions currently have two gymnasts in the floor final as things stand, but only one in the pommel horse final (and it's Zou Jingyuan rather than reigning pommel horse champion Xiao) and none in the rings final.

None of their gymnasts have vaulted twice, a requirement to attempt to qualify for the event final on that apparatus.

That said, they're third in the team standings through four rotations.

1:35 pm – More from Mikulak

1:32 pm – Xiao out of pommel final

Defending pommel horse world champion Xiao is out of the pommel horse event final after falling and only managing a 13.400, good for 25th on the apparatus to this point.

Disappointing for the 23-year-old.

1:07 pm – 2017 AA world champ Xiao into third on floor

Xiao Ruoteng, the 2017 world all-around champion and last year's silver medallist, just moved into third on floor with a 14.833. He's followed by Deng Shudi, Rio 2016 team bronze medallist, but a 0.300 deduction leaves him down in 16th on 14.166. Without the deduction, he would've been seventh.

1:02 pm – China underway

Defending men's team champions China are in action in this second sub-division of the day, starting on floor.

12:55 pm – Mikulak on likely making horizontal bar final

"I'm not a guy that looks at the scores, I was glad… If I had to pick one event to make event finals on, it was definitely high bar. I was just happy that I finally lived up to my expectations and my potential.

"Unfortunate it took so long to finally do that, but I got one in there and I can only hope that's the standard I can set going forward."

12:52 pm – Mikulak "never woke up"

Speaking to media after that session, Sam Mikulak reflected on his sub-par performance.

"I never woke up. That's the best way I can put it, I don't know if I just haven't found my diet right? I thought I was doing everything right, but I just felt so heavy and sluggish today.

"All these trainings leading up to today, I felt fresh, light and strong; today my feng shui was not where I wanted it to be. It took a couple of events for me to feel right.

"Rings is where I started waking up. I felt really good on vault, p-bars, high bar. I was honestly just really upset that I finally felt good and I still made the mistake on p-bars. Skills that I haven't fallen on in months."

12:25 pm – Firing on the international stage

Mikulak knows better than most that he doesn't always perform well at big international meets.

Today was one of those days.

He reflected on this in our Top Performers special with him.

12:06 pm – Mikulak hits high bar routine!

14.866 for Mikulak on the horizontal bar – he was the only gymnast still in action of the sub-division and had every single pair of eyes in the arena on him.

Second place on the apparatus and should be good for an event final spot.

He's also moved ahead of teammate Akash Modi in the all-around qualification standings, albeit 14th overall – it's going to be touch-and-go for him to make the AA final.

Team USA moves into third in the team standings and should have sewn up their spots in the team final as well as Tokyo 2020. Ten teams left to go today.

11:43 am – Mikulak falls again!

Uh-oh, that may be the end of Sam Mikulak's all-around hopes. He's fallen off parallel bars too.

14.333 – what would it have been had he done his routine cleanly?

11:31 am – Time to rally for the U.S. team

Parallel bars is a strength of this U.S men's team and they'll need to be at their best here to avoid a nerve-wracking wait to see if they'll advance to either the team final or qualify to the Olympics. Moldauer got them off to a good start with a nearly stuck double front half out dismount and a 14.400.

11:24 am – Mikulak still third American

We're rotating to the fifth apparatus now.

Sam Mikulak has a fight on his hands to make the all-around final – he's currently the third-placed American by about 2.2 points, and only the top two per country in the top 24 will make the final.

11:05 am – Kaya into fourth on parallel bars

Japan's Kazuma Kaya records 14.800 on parallel bars to move into fourth on that apparatus and second in the all-around after four rotations.

10:57 am – Team battle

There are three full teams in this sub-division – but you'd have been hard-pressed to make the argument before it started that Japan would be leading USA by over 7 points after the first three apparatus. In fact, Canada are also ahead of the States.

Team USA is rotating to vault next. Japan are on parallel bars.

Those schoolchildren in the building, by the way, continue to keep the atmosphere up for the gymnasts. The arena has filled up a bit more since the start.

Kazuma Kaya reacts after vaulting in 2019 World Championships qualification (Photo: Olympic Channel)
Kazuma Kaya reacts after vaulting in 2019 World Championships qualification (Photo: Olympic Channel)Kazuma Kaya reacts after vaulting in 2019 World Championships qualification (Photo: Olympic Channel)

10:47 am – All eyes on Mikulak…

The reigning American national champion is now on rings. Can he salvage his qualifications?

It's good, and he lands his dismount. 13.700 still leaves him 68th in the all-around on 37.833 after three rotations.

10:35 am – Mikulak falls on pommel horse too

It's not going well for Mikulak. The 26-year-old, who turns 27 next week, came off the pommel horse during his routine. 12.600 is only good for 50th and he's in danger in the all-around too now.

10:14 am – Tough start for Mikulak on floor

The six-time U.S. champ had a rough start to his Worlds as he sat down on two of three opening passes. He scored just 11.533 – so obviously no apparatus final for the man who finished fourth a year ago. He'll be lucky to finish in the top 100 of qualification on floor this year.

Sam Mikulak falls during his floor routine in qualification at the 2019 World Championships (Photo: Olympic Channel)
Sam Mikulak falls during his floor routine in qualification at the 2019 World Championships (Photo: Olympic Channel)Sam Mikulak falls during his floor routine in qualification at the 2019 World Championships (Photo: Olympic Channel)

10:05 am – Japan without two big names

Japan are here without either Kohei Uchimura or Kenzo Shirai, two of their biggest stars.

But no worries, Kazuma Kaya just earned a 14.633 on pommel horse, despite a little pike throughout his swing. That's the fifth best number to this point of qualifications.

10:00 am – Overnight leaders

Let's run through the leaders in each event after the first day of qualification…

Team: Russia

Individual all-around: Nikita Nagornyy (Russia)

Floor Exercise: Artem Dolgopyat (Israel)

Pommel Horse: Rhys McClenaghan (Ireland)

Still Rings: Ibrahim Colak (Turkey)

Vault: Artur Dalaloyan (Russia)

Parallel Bars: Lukas Dauser (Germany)

Horizontal Bar: Tang Chia-hung (Chinese Taipei)

9:55 am – Introductions

The gymnasts in this first sub-division are being introduced, starting with USA on floor. The arena isn't full by any means, but it is early on a Monday morning.

Japan get the biggest cheer from those in the hall.

9:40 am – Sam Mikulak changes approach to Tokyo 2020

9:30 am – Good morning from Stuttgart

It's a packed day of qualification today as we not only find out who will be making the finals here in southern Germany, but also the final list of teams qualified to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and an additional 12 individual gymnasts who've also secured tickets to the Japanese capital next summer.

It's busy, busy in the arena already with large numbers of schoolchildren having been given tickets this morning. USA and Japan are among the teams they'll get to see in action.

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