3.30 p.m. on 28th July is when Men’s Subdivision 2 will compete to qualify for the various finals. To my friends in USA and Japan – this is your time to cheer on your country’s athletes! Here’s the guide of who to watch out for.
Kohei Uchimura (JPN) – It has been said that Kohei Uchimura is the best male gymnast there has ever been. In 2011 in front of a home crowd, he achieved something that had never been done by anyone before. He won the World All-Around Gold for the 3rd year in a row. He was only a teenager when he won Silver in Beijing, and even though I’d love to see Daniel Purvis on top, I will be kinda sad if Uchimura doesn’t get that Olympic Gold having stayed on top for so long. His gymnastics has both power and elegance. It is just awe inspiring – and he always shows good humour and great sportsmanship to boot. Whatever the results, Uchimura is one to watch in London and he wants Japan to beat the Chinese men’s team this summer.
Watch out for him in: Men’s Team Final, Men’s All-Around, Horiztonal Bar final, Men’s Floor final, Parallel Bars final, Pommel Horse final, Still Rings final (he’s amazing at everything really!)
Koji Yamamuro (JPN) – Yamamuro is another excellent All-Around gymnast from Japan, though his strongest event remains on the Men’s Rings. He came 4th at Worlds in 2010 on the event, and then last year he won Bronze in the All-Around and Bronze on Still Rings. Medals are not guaranteed, but they are very possible – maybe even probable. Japan came close to winning Gold as a team in Tokyo, and they desperate want Olympic Team Gold. Yamamuro’s gymnastics may be overshadowed by the awesomeness of his teammate Kohei Uchimura, but he is also one to watch in London
Watch out for him in: Men’s team final, Men’s All-Around, Men’s Still Rings
The American Men’s Team - This team led by 2008 veteran Jonathan Horton want Gold, and they want it bad. It’s also probably the best USA men’s team they’ve had in a long time. Plus, the depth of the USA means that probably several members have a chance for individual medals as well.
John Orozco – This guy has quite the ‘rags to riches’ story, having grown up in the Bronx and had a family that did whatever they could to support his improbable dream. He is superb to watch, and like the British Daniel Purvis, his strength is in the All-Around having no really strong event, but no really weak events either. He came 5th in All-Around finals, and made the Horizontal Bar finals at worlds, and has improved in all of his events since then.
Watch out for him in: Men’s Team Final, Men’s All-Around, Men’s Horizontal Bar and (possibly) Men’s Parallel Bars
Danell Leyva – Don’t only watch out for Danell, but his step dad who is probably the most energetic and loud coach you’ll ever see – Yin Alvarez! He had a nasty fall in the All-Around finals in Tokyo placing him last, but then came back to become World Champion on Parallel Bars.
Watch out for him in: Men’s Team Final, Men’s All-Around, Men’s Parallel Bars, Men’s Horizontal Bar
Jonathan Horton – This guy is a team player, and letting the younger guys come through, his strengths have changed. Likely to be edged out of All-Around and Horizontal Bar finals by his teammates, he is the current US champion on Rings, and might have been a World medallist on the event had he not broken his foot during Team Finals.
Watch out for him in: Men’s Team Final, Men’s Still Rings
Krisztian Berki (HUN) – The archnemsis of Britain’s Louis Smith, this guy is the current World and European Champion on the Pommel Horse. As a specialist, and as Hungary didn’t qualify a team to the Olympics, he’ll have more time to concentrate and focus on the finals so it’s sure to be a nailbiting competition to see if he can once again defend his title and not let Louis take it!
Watch out for him in: Men’s Pommel Horse
Alexander Shatilov (ISR) – This Israeli gymnast shines on floor and has been a World Bronze medallist twice in this quadrennium. Can he bring an Olympic medal home to Israel at this Olympics? We hope so!
Watch out for him in: Men’s Floor
Diego Hypolito (BRA) – This Brazilian is another Floor star and has many times been on the medal podium next to to his Israeli competitior. He won Gold twice in the last quadrennium, but contracted Dengue Fever not long before the 2008 Olympics and didn’t end up medalling (though he managed to compete). He since made it back onto the podium at Worlds last year, and Brazil have hopes he’ll bring them an Olympic medal.
Watch out for him in: Men’s Floor
Arthur Zanetti (BRA) – No one expected much from Zanetti in Tokyo, but he ended up taking home Silver on Rings – he might not have had the highest difficulty, but he got through his routine clean unlike some of his more accomplished competitors. If he’s upped his difficulty and can perform with that same consistency - a medal is possible.
Watch out for him in: Men’s Still Rings