Rounding Off: Manrique Larduet says 'No!' to Tokyo Games

Plus, Max Whitlock 'really happy' after final trial, competition updates, and a look at Ukraine on floor from Atlanta 1996.

By Scott Bregman
Picture by 2017 Getty Images

2015 World gymnastics all-around silver medallist Manrique Larduet announced this week on Instagram that he is no longer training and will not attend the Tokyo Olympic Games, scheduled for July 2021.

“I am not training,” the Cuban said in reply to a Q&A on his story asking how his preparations were going for the Games.

A follow-up question asked, “Seriously, you’re not going to Tokyo, then?” to which Larduet replied 'No!'

If Larduet does in fact skip the Games, the Czech Republic’s David Jessen, a 2016 Olympian, would be next in line to compete in Tokyo.

Max Whitlock 'really happy' with final Olympic trial after disappointing Europeans

Two-time Olympic champion Max Whitlock is hoping the Tokyo 2020 Games in 2021 will be his third-straight Olympics, and said earlier this week he was 'really happy with the last trial.'

British Gymnastics is set to announce both its men's and women's artistic gymnastics Olympic teams in the coming weeks.

Whitlock's joy comes shortly after disappointment at the European Championships in Basel, Switzerland, where he slipped off the pommel horse on the opening day of competition and failed to advance to the medal round.

Team GB's final women's trial is Friday (7 May) and Sunday (9 May).

Competition updates: Varna World Cup roster released, Asian Championships cancelled

Olympic champion Oksana Chusovitina of Uzbekistan highlights an impressive roster for the International Gymnastics Federation's World Challenge Cup in Varna, Bulgaria.

Other notables currently on the list for the 27-29 May event include World high bar champion and Olympic bronze medallist Arthur Nory of Brazil, 2008 Olympic silver medallist Filip Ude and 2017 World high bar champion Tin Srbic, both of Croatia, World pommel horse medallist Cyril Tommasone of France, and 2019 junior world balance beam champion Elena Gerasimova of Russia.

The Asian Championships appear to have been cancelled, according to multiple reports and the FIG website. A Tokyo 2020 qualifier, the cancellation would mean that quota spots meant to be decided at the event go to the highest Asian finishers in the all-around from qualifications at the 2019 World Championships. Provincially, that means the women's spots would be awarded to Milka Gehani (SRI) and Pranati Nayak (IND), while the men's places would go to Dinh Phuong Thanh (VIE) and Loo Phay Xing (MAS).

From the vault...

This week, our dive into the Olympic gymnastics archives takes us to the highly requested Ukrainian women's compulsory floor rotation from the Atlanta 1996 Games. The 1995 World champion Lilia Podkopayeva led the team on the event, scoring 9.850. Ukraine ultimately finished fifth in the team competition. Podkopayeva went on to win all-around and floor exercise gold and balance beam silver.

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