The 2011 World Gymnastics Championships came to a close over the weekend in Tokyo. Here's a recap of the newly crowned World Champions on the men's side. All eyes will be on these gymnasts as we head into the 2012 Olympic Games.
2011 Men's Team Champion: CHINA, 275.161
Despite a lackluster performance on the qualification day, the Chinese men were once again dominant and successfully defended their World title anchored by an incredible floor routine from 2008 Olympic Floor Champion Zou Kai. Japan nearly slipped into the bronze medal position after a surprise fall on a kovacs from reigning World Champion Kohei Uchimura in the team's final routine of the night. The USA contingent thought they would move up to the silver medal position, but once the final tallies appeared, the Japanese still had the slightest edge, 273.093 over 273.083. In the end it was China with gold, Japan silver, and USA bronze.
2011 All Around Champion: Kohei Uchimura, JAPAN, 93.631
Kohei Uchimura made history by becoming the first gymnast to win 3-straight World All Around titles. In a decisive victory, he captured the gold medal with more than three points to spare. Philipp Boy of Germany was the surprise silver medalist at last year's Worlds. He came to Tokyo with higher expectations and struggled through the qualification round and Team Finals. He put it together for the all around then delivered the high bar routine of his life to finish second for the second straight year. Koji Yamamuro of Japan passed Daniel Purvis in the final rotation to take the bronze medal.
This was one of the more stacked finals with numerous former floor medalists in the field. 2005 & 2007 World Floor Champion Diego Hypolito of Brazil started off the final with a stuck whip to piked double arabian and a competitive 6.80 D score. His score of 15.466 held until Kohei Uchimura threw an upgraded routine with an incredible triple twisting double tuck to earn 15.633 (6.70/8.933) and the gold medal. More impressively, this was less than 24 hours after winning the 2011 All Around title. Reigning Olympic Floor Champion Zou Kai took the silver, and Alexander Shatilov of Israel competed the final routine of the night to tie Hypolito for a place on the podium.
Louis Smith of Britain competed 2nd up and gambled with his most difficult routine. He nailed everything until his dismount where he lost balance to score a 15.066 (7.0/8.066). He expected to be quickly knocked out of the medals with the elite list of pommel swingers yet to compete. However, we saw unexpected falls from Uchimura, Prashanth Sellathurai, and even Teng Haibin. Smith's score hung on for the bronze medal, with Frenchman Cyril Tommasone winning the silver. Defending World Pommel horse Champion Krisztian Berki showed off his long lines and cruised through his difficult routine to score an amazing 15.833 and win a second consecutive World Gold Medal.
2011 Still Rings Champion: Chen Yibing, CHINA, 15.800 (6.80/9.00)
Chen Yibing defended his title with impressive strength and a stuck full twisting double layout dismount. He competed 2nd in the lineup and his score of 15.80 remained unattested. Arthur Nabarrete Zanettti made history for Brazil with the silver medal and Koji Yamamuro of Japan took the bronze.
2011 Vault Champion: Hak Seon Yang, KOREA, 16.566 average
The defending World Vault Champion Thomas Bouhail of France started off the competition with an incredible, stuck Dragulescu vault to set the tone for the competition. He then stumbled backward on a tusk double pike and opened the door for the rest of the field.
Deservingly, the Gold Medal went to Hak Seon Yang of South Korea who threw the most difficult vault in the world, a handspring triple twist laid out. He did it impeccably to score a 16.866. This was with a massive 7.40 difficulty score and 9.466 execution. He followed it up with a clean tsukahara triple twist to surpass Anton Golotsutskov of Russia for the World title. The Japanese men grabbed another medal to the delight of the home crowd as Makoto Okiguchi took the bronze. Defending Champ Bouhail was knocked out of the medals in 4th place.
2011 Parallel Bars Champion: Danell Leyva, USA, 15.633 (6.40/9.233)
Danell Leyva won the 2011 World Title on parallel bars and became the first US man to win a World Gold medal since Paul Hamm back in 2003. Leyva competed 4th up and worked smoothly through an intricate peach to Diamidov, and stuck his double pike dismount. His routine earned him a 15.633 and the gold medal, just one tenth ahead of Vasileios Tsolakidis of Greece and Zhang Chenglong of China who tied for the silver.
2011 High Bar Champion: Zou Kai, China, 16.441 (7.70/8.741)
The high bar final was the battle for the highest D score, and who could stay on the bar. In the end, 2008 Olympic High Bar Champion Zou Kai took the title with the most difficult routine in the field, valued with a 7.70 D score. He edged his teammate, and defending high bar World Champion, Zhang Chenglong, by one tenth. Kohei Uchimura competed the final routine in Tokyo and won yet another medal, high bar bonze with a 16.333, to close out his 2011 World Championships with 4 medals.