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  • Writer's pictureKensley Behel

What’s Happening in Men’s Gymnastics (July 24)

A. FIG Removes Sanctions for Russia and Belarus beginning in 2024

The International Federation of Gymnastics (FIG) announced that the bans on athletes from Russia and Belarus will be lifted beginning January 1, 2024. Though the ban has been lifted, athletes will only be granted participation as "individual neutral athletes." Athletes wishing to compete in Olympic qualifying events must agree to the "Ad-hoc rule" that the FIG will specify in the coming weeks. Participation in the 2024 Olympic Games is the "responsibility of the IOC [International Olympic Committee]".

B. Australia Names Its Worlds Team without National Champion, Heath Thorpe

Gymnastics Australia named its World Championships Team and notably missing was National AA Champion, Heath Thorpe. Gymnastics Australia's primary stated goal in choosing a team for the World Championships was to qualify a team for the Olympics [Which would require a top-12 finish at the 2023 World Gymnastics Championships]. According to these calculations, Thorpe would have been on the highest-scoring team.

Based on the team selected, it's improbable that Australia will be able to put up three gymnasts on floor and vault, meaning they would not be able to put up a competitive team score. [Note: based on the aforementioned highest-potential team score, Australia would still not likely qualify a team to the Olympics, but it would at least give them a fighting chance].

GymCastic sent an inquiry to Gymnastics Australia to learn more about their selection. This was their response. By all accounts, Gymnastics Australia went with a team of individual event specialists (the national champions on floor, pommel horse, vault, and high bar + Tyson Bull – a high bar specialist who has been very competitive on the world circuit but didn't compete at Australian nationals).

Neutral Deductions broke down their chances for qualifying for the Olympics here.

C. Genki Suzuki Named OU Assistant Coach

Photo: OU Gymnastics

Oklahoma is the first MAG NCAA team in the country to add a fourth, paid coaching position. Former Sooner and national team member, Genki Suzuki served as the volunteer assistant coach from January 2023 - June 2023; Suzuki will now serve as assistant coach for the Sooners.

Read the full press release here.

D. 2023 Spanish National Gymnastics Championships

Thierno Diallo improved his AA score by over four points in a year to take the all-around title at the 2023 Spanish National Championships. In addition to his gold in the all-around, Diallo took home medals on five events. Nestor Abad and Pau Jimenez took silver and bronze respectively in the all-around.

2022 All-Around champion, Joel Plata, did not compete as he is still recovering from a severe and extremely dangerous car accident.

Full results can be found here.

E. 2023 Bulgarian Gymnastics National Championships

The 2023 Bulgarian National Championships took place in Sofia, Bulgaria where Bozhidar Zlatanov took home the all-around title with an 80.726. As Bulgaria is unlikely to qualify a team to the Olympics, that score will be competitive to qualify an individual spot via the all-around competition in Antwerp. Ruslan Delibaltov and Teodor Trifonov took silver and bronze respectively in the all-around. Note: Neither Kevin nor Eddie Penev competed.

Full results can be found here.

F. 2023 FISU University Games Updates

This past week, China announced its team for the 2023 FISU University Games led by World Champion, Zhang Boheng, and Olympic Champion, Zou Jingyuan. It is no exaggeration to say that the all-around fight for gold will be more competitive and exciting than the competition in Antwerp.

Roster details can be found here.

G. Tomas Gonzalez Releases New Book

Chilean gymnast, Tomas Gonzalez, released his autobiography entitled, Campeon: Lecciones, Triunfos y Caidas de un Gimnasta Olympico (Champion: Lessons, Triumphs and Falls of an Olympic Gymnast). In the book, he details his path to becoming the most successful Chilean gymnast in history as well as overcoming "extremely difficult circumstances personally and professionally." Gonzalez used this opportunity as a chance to come out as gay.

As reported by the Olympic Channel, “I guess it’s not a topic anymore, but yes, I’m gay,” Gonzalez said, according to El Desconcierto. “If it’s about making it public, I prefer to do it in this book.”

You can purchase the book here.

H. Competitions This Week

Two major competitions are taking place this weekend. The 2023 FISU University Games and the 2023 European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) are scheduled for this week. See below for event information.

  • Information about the FISU University Games can be found here.

  • Information on how to watch EYOF can be found here.

  • Information on the EYOF rosters can be found here.

I. Interview with Paul Juda

Photo: UM Athletic Department

Kensley sat down with University of Michigan's Paul Juda to hear his story of perseverance and his plans for the future, which includes a comeback at the 2023 Core Hydration Classic. Read the full interview here.

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Article by: Kensley Behel


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