Yul Moldauer, Ragan Smith swing to American Cup titles06/03/2017
Heralded as a competition where new stars rise to prominence, the AT&T American Cup did not disappoint with its 2017 edition. Americans Ragan Smith and Yul Moldauer, both newcomers on the international scene, captured their first major titles ahead of a pair of seasoned Olympic veterans as the FIG’s 2017 All-around World Cup series in Artistic Gymnastics began March 4 in Newark, New Jersey.
2017 marks the first time in three years both American Cup trophies have gone home with gymnasts from the host nation. While Smith is the latest in a long line of American women to carry on a winning streak that has lasted since 2002*, men’s competitors from outside the U.S. have enjoyed more success, particularly in recent years. In winning his first World Cup title, 20-year-old Moldauer defeated former champions Oleg Verniaiev (UKR, 2015), who settled for silver in Newark, and Ryohei Kato (JPN, 2016), sixth this year.
Like pupil like coach
In her first World Cup start, the tiny Smith, a replacement athlete for the strong U.S. team in Rio, lived up to big expectations. Smith’s overall difficulty allowed her to swallow a fall off the balance beam with little consequence to the overall rankings. The 17-year-old capped her victory with a memorable Floor exercise, much like her coach Kim Zmeskal did to win the event 25 years ago. “It’s amazing to add my name to that list especially since Kim did it also,” Smith said. “Now she has a gymnast who has done it with her.”
A best-ever finish for Japan
In the wake of the Japanese women’s fourth-place Olympic team finish in Rio - its best in half a century - veteran Asuka Teramoto proved that her engines were still revved up. With her steady silver medal performance, Teramoto turned in the best-ever finish for a Japanese woman at this competition. France’s Melanie de Jesus dos Santos, fully recovered from a knee injury that kept her from challenging for Rio, gave the best American Cup performance from a Frenchwoman in 20 years to win bronze.
Olympian medallists shaking off the rust
After gold medal performances in Rio last summer, Verniaiev (UKR, Parallel Bars) and Kato (JPN, team) were still shaking off the rust in their first major competition since the Games. In spite of the day’s best scores on Pommel Horse, Rings and Parallel Bars, Verniaiev was less than stellar on Floor and Horizontal Bar, allowing Moldauer to slip ahead of him. The normally consistent Kato had big problems on Parallel Bars and Horizontal Bar to land in sixth.
Great Britain’s Amy Tinkler, the Olympic bronze medallist on Floor Exercise, scratched her best event after falling from the balance beam.
The American Cup is the first of three Individual All-around World Cup event on the 2017 FIG calendar. After Newark, the action turns to Stuttgart March 18-19. The series concludes April 8 in London. In addition to a prize purse of 12,000 Swiss Francs, the American Cup winner gains 60 points in the All-around World Cup standings, with second place gaining 55, third 50 and so on. The national federation with the highest points total after all three stops wins the 2017 FIG World Series title.
1. Ragan Smith, USA, 56.099
2. Asuka Teramoto, Japan, 54.231
3. Melanie De Jesus dos Santos, France, 53.899
4. Kim Bui, Germany, 53.632
5. Riley McCusker, USA, 52.966
6. Xie Yufen, China, 51.599
7. Tisha Volleman, Netherlands, 49.266
8. Emily Whitehead, Australia, 48.399
9. Amy Tinkler, Great Britain, 39.566
1. Yul Moldauer, USA, 85.931
2. Oleg Verniaiev, Ukraine, 85.699
3. Akash Modi, USA, 84.398
4. Bart Deurloo, Netherlands, 80.165
5. Eddy Yusof, Switzerland, 80.164
6. Ryohei Kato, Japan, 80.065
7. Sun Wei, China, 80.032
8. Sam Oldham, Great Britain, 79.399
9. Lukas Dauser, Germany, 75.999
*(except for 2005, when the competition was an individual apparatus finals event only)
|04/03/2017 04/03/2017||AT&T American Cup Individual All-Around FIG World Cup 2017||NEWARK (USA)||MAG, WAG|