Recap of the 2016 World Cup Series

9:58 PM Arabian Punch Front 3 Comments

The World Cup Series has come to an end with USA winning both the men's and women's team title. On the women's side, they had a 1-2 finish at the American Cup with Gabby Douglas and Maggie Nichols. Mykayla Skinner won the World Cup in Glasgow. At the Stuttgart World Cup, Hundley finished in third place.

There were high hopes for the American Cup to be a great competition. Douglas and Nichols had gone back and forth in ranking throughout the 2015 domestic US season. At the 2015 World Championships, Nichols competed the all around in team finals. Douglas surpassed this score in the all around final where she earned the silver medal. I was hopeful that this competition would be a true battle between the two athletes for the title. The scores were close after vault, especially since neither athlete showed their Amanar vault. On uneven bars, Maggie missed a connection (added in a toe-on giant) and lost several tenths in difficulty. At that point, Douglas went into the lead by 0.7 and it continued from there. After a near flawless balance beam routine and an energetic floor exercise, Douglas secured her win with Nichols in second.

The battle for 3rd would also be interesting. Tinkler and Black had a back-and-forth going for sometime. A fall for Tinkler on floor cost her a shot at a medals after a great meet with impressive upgrades on uneven bars and her lovely gainer layout step out - loso-loso combo. Black showed consistent routines which earned her a medal. Special shoutout to Carlotta Ferlito and Tabea Alt. Ferlito looks the best she's looked since the last quadrennium with a balance beam reminiscent of her junior days that made us all fall in love with her and an excellent floor performance which draws you in. Alt made her senior international debut at American Cup and held her own relatively well.

Tisha Volleman, a member of the Dutch 2015 World team, also competed and showed a great individual competition. Lorrane Oliveira was also present but did not have a great competition with multiple (painful) falls that landed this all around finalist her in last place. Mai Murakami showed a somewhat average performance for lack of a better word. It was not the same as her illuminating performance at worlds, as she may have been affected by the time difference, but it was still a good start as Japan determines it's worlds team.

At the Glasgow World Cup, the battle was between Mykayla Skinner and Claudia Fragapane, a hometown favorite. Fragapane had unfortunate errors on bars and beam which lowered her in the rankings. Her impressive difficulty on floor, however, was able to bring her back into the medals. Skinner managed to win the competition though there was some general unsteadiness on beam and her Moors on floor exercise (laidout double double) was dangerously tucked. If the judges choose not to credit it, she would lose lots of difficulty since it would look like she does the same skill twice. She is also working on adding back her triple twist floor exercise dismount. Eli Seitz of Germany earned the silver medal here. She has taken out her Def on uneven bars and she has shown immense improvement on that event.

We wrap up the World Cup Series with the Stuttgart World Cup where countrywoman Sophie Scheder had an emotional win. She made it through vault safely and showed an excellent uneven bar routine. Her beam was secure and she sealed the win with a 3-pass floor exercise with some unsteadiness on the landings. Isabela Onyshko, like Black at the American Cup, was steady throughout to earn the silver medal. Amelia Hundley had to take an extra swing on uneven bars and then had to play catch up through the rest of the meet to earn the bronze medal. Seda Tutkhalyan, to the irony of everything in the world, fell on vault and hit her layout full and layout on beam. She also showed a new Bhardwaj on uneven bars. Unfortunately, this was not enough for her to get into the medals.

Overall, I have mixed feelings about this World Cup Series format. I think in the Olympic year, it works out well since teams get to try out multiple athletes in a 1 month block period. It was a great way to trial athletes for the Test Event, European Championships, or the ever-elusive Rio Olympics. It's great for gymnastics fans because we get to be in a gymnastics coma for an entire month. Overall, on the women's side, the World Cup Series was more exciting with battles for gold at each competition and the remaining medals not as obvious.

What were your favorite performances from the World Cup Series?


  1. If the 2016 World Cup Series were being held in 2020 and USA,GER, and CAN had already qualified teams to the Olympics at the 2018 or 2019 World Championships, they would have qualified an additional spot for their federations at the Olympics in addition to the 4 person team. Top 3 federations at the end of the All-around World Cup series qualify a non-nominative spot for their federation. The proposal for 2020 Olympic qualifying, which has to be finalized and approved in May 2016, called for the All-around World Cups to be held Feb-April but that schedule may change. I say that because the proposal also called for the individual apparatus World Challenge Cups to be held in Feb - April but there has been a change published this month in the rules for 2017-2020 individual apparatus World Cups. In those new rules for the Olympic cycle 2017-2020, there will be two series: Nov 2016 - March 2018 and Nov 2018 - March 2020. There will be 8 World Challenge Cups over each series (2 sets of 4, i.e. each of 4 hosts will hold two of the same World Cups during the series time period from Nov 2016- March 2018 and Nov 2018 to March 2020). The best three scores of the 8 competitions in the series will be counted towards a gymnast's ranking on each apparatus. The Nov 2018-March 2020 series is an Olympic qualifier and the winners of each apparatus will qualify by name to the 2020 Olympics. If the winner was a competitor on a team which qualified for the 2020 Olympic Games at the 2018 or 2019 World Championships, this nominative quota place will be lost and the place will be allocated to the next best ranked gymnast. Even if a gymnast qualifies by name by winning an apparatus at a Individual Apparatus World Cup, that gymnast can do the all-around in qualifications at the Olympics.

    1. Interesting. From what I understand, seems like it could actually work in both qualifying the gymnasts to Tokyo but also making the World Cups more popular. I also wonder if Karolyi decided to send gymnast's to all 3 WC to see how it would fit into the calendar for the future.

  2. Interesting. From what I understand, seems like it could actually work in both qualifying the gymnasts to Tokyo but also making the World Cups more popular. I also wonder if Karolyi decided to send gymnast's to all 3 WC to see how it would fit into the calendar for the future.