Viktoria Listunova, Nikita Nagornyy win Russian Cup titles

The competition is the last domestic event for Russian artistic gymnastics prior to Tokyo Olympics.

By Scott Bregman

European all-around champion Viktoria Listunova staged a come-from-behind win Thursday (10 June) at the Russian Cup in Novosibirsk to keep her season's unbeaten streak alive.

With this victory, she has won the Russian Championships, European Championships and Russian Cup all-around crowns in 2021. She earned a two-day total of 113.698, ahead 2019 Russian Cup champion Vladislava Urazova, who earned 113.666. 2019 World all-around bronze medallist Angelina Melnikova was third with a 113.463 total score.

Melnikova led coming into Thursday's all-around final, after earning a 56.831 in the qualifying round. She started solid with a strong double-twisting Yurchenko vault (14.366) and a 14.900 effort on the uneven bars. But then, the 2021 European all-around silver medallist slipped off the beam in the third rotation on a crosswise split jump with a half turn. Her 12.933 put her in third place heading to the floor exercise.

Melnikova appeared frustrated after the event, a reminder of errors at April's European Championships that forced her to settle for silver behind Listunova.

"The main lesson [from Europeans] was that you can't fall because when there is a fall - you lose almost everything. The falls I had were just silly, but in the end they cost me a gold medal," Melnikova told Olympics.com of those errors. "And this is of course, remains in your head - that you just can't fall, especially falling in a silly way because it then hurts twice."

Her mistake opened the door for Listunova and Urazova, who capitalised, scoring 14.600 and 14.500, respectively, on beam to move ahead of the veteran going to the floor exercise. The trio of medallists were strong on the floor exercise with Listunova earning a 14.266 to take the all-around gold.

Nagornyy continues to reign

Earlier in the day, reigning world and European all-around champion Nikita Nagornyy easily won the men’s title.

He was nearly seven points clear of second place’s Alexander Kartsev, who won the Russian Championships earlier this year. Nagornyy earned a 174.598 two-day all-around total to Karstsev’s 167.963.Nikita Ignatev was third at 165.031.

Nagornyy will head to Tokyo as the odds-on favourite for all-around gold, having won the 2019 world all-around title in addition to back-to-back victories at the European Championships.

An Achilles injury to 2018 World champion Artur Dalaloyan in April puts his Tokyo ticket – and the Russian team’s chances for gold – in doubt. Dalaloyan competed four events in qualifying Tuesday (8 June) but without dismounts.

"Today, I once again felt a competitive atmosphere, I am satisfied with my competition and I am gaining confidence," Dalaloyan wrote on Instagram. "Everything is fine."

The Russian men are the reigning world team champions, seeking their first Olympic team gold medal since 1996.