Nikita Nagornyy shut out of gold medals in first day of apparatus finals at Russian Cup

The Tokyo favourite overpowered his opening tumbling pass and didn't finish his rings routine, as five different champions were crowned in Novosibirsk.

By Scott Bregman
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

The first day of apparatus finals at the Russian Cup in Novosibirsk Friday (11 June) contained a rare occurrence: an off day for reigning world and European champion Nikita Nagornyy.

The front-runner for all-around gold at this summer's Tokyo Olympic Games picked up only a bronze medal on the pommel horse despite entering all three men's finals. On Thursday (10 June), he captured the all-around title.

On the floor exercise, Nagornyy flew off the mat on his opening pass - the triple pike back flip he debuted at April's European Championships. He scored just 12.666. It was Ivan Stretovich who took the title, scoring 14.266. 2021 Russian Championships winner Alexander Kartsev and Mukhammadzhon Yakubov tied for second at 14.166.

Two-time Olympic medallist David Belyavskiy earned the pommel horse gold, narrowly holding off Vladislav Poliashov 15.033 to 15.000. Nagornyy scored 14.966 for his only medal of the day.

In the final men's event of the day, Nagornyy hopped off the still rings mid-routine and scored only 6.633 and finished in eighth. Instead, Denis Ablyazin scored 14.900 for the gold medal. Grigoryy Klimentev, 14.666, and Aleksei Rostov, 14.333, rounded out the podium in second and third, respectively.

2018 world all-around champion Artur Dalaloyan competed in the pommel horse and still rings finals, despite undergoing surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon in April. He did not perform a dismount off the rings to protect his recovery.

Though his status for Tokyo had seemed in question, national team coach Valentina Rodionenko said Thursday she expects him to compete at the Olympics, according to Gymnovosti.

Lilia Akhaimova won the first women's event of the day, vault, scoring 14.599. She performed a front handspring Rudi and a Tsukahara double twist. The silver medal went to 2019 world all-around bronze medallist Angelina Melnikova at 14.349 for her double-twisting Yurchenko and Yurchenko half on front layout half off vaults. Iulia Biriulia scored 13.516 for bronze.

2019 junior world uneven bars champion Vladislava Urazova claimed another bars title in Novosibirsk. She and silver medallist Melnikova performed nearly identical routines, which was reflected in their scores. Urazova scored 15.100, just ahead of Melnikova's 15.033. Anastasia Iliankova took third with a 14.933.

Competition wraps up Saturday (12 June) with the second day of apparatus finals.