The Anticipated Return of Oleg Verniaiev
Oleg Verniaiev is one of the most exciting gymnasts in recent history. Of all the gymnasts that attempted to end the reign of all-time great, Kohei Uchimura, Verniaiev came the closest during the 2016 Olympic All-Around Final. Falling just short in the all-around, he had renewed momentum and claimed his first Olympic title on the parallel bars.
With medals in each of the subsequent World Championships, Verniaiev looked poised to add to his Olympic haul in the Tokyo Olympics. However, in August 2020, Verniaev tested positive for meldonium, a banned substance. Verniaev was given a four-year suspension, meaning he would miss not only the 2020 Olympics but also the Paris Olympics.
As reported by Gymnovosti, "Verniaiev fought the suspension at the Court of Arbitration for Sport claiming that the source of meldonium was contaminated food." His fight was successful and his ban was reduced by two years. Since the ban was lifted in March of 2023, Verniaev has been seen on his Instagram practicing his signature event, parallel bars.
Verniaiev has yet to show a full routine but posted a countdown to the World Championships that seems to indicate his intention to be competition ready. Last year without Verniaiev, Ukraine placed 21st in Qualifications, an usually poor performance for a team that placed 7th in the 2020 Olympics. Should he make it back to competition shape, he will be a much-needed member for Ukraine to qualify a team for the Olympics.
Article by: Kensley Behel