Top gymnasts gather for ‘Friendship and Solidarity’ meet on Olympic Channel

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Olympic all-around gold medalist Kohei Uchimura and 2017 U.S. champion Yul Moldauer headline the deepest field for an international gymnastics meet in seven months, live on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA on Saturday night.

The Friendship and Solidarity Competition in Tokyo, nine months before the Japanese capital hosts the Olympics, blends elites from the world’s dominant gymnastics nations — the U.S., China, Japan and Russia.

The mixed-gender team event is Saturday at 11 p.m. ET. TV coverage also streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app for Olympic Channel subscribers.

Up to 2,000 spectators will be allowed inside the arena, according to Kyodo News.

Uchimura is one of 15 gymnasts on Team Solidarity, which also includes 2019 World all-around champion Nikita Nagornyy of Russia and American women Shilese Jones and eMjae Frazier.

Team Friendship includes two members of the U.S.’ 2019 World Championships team — Moldauer and Shane Wiskus — as well as 2018 World all-around champion Artur Dalaloyan of Russia. Plus, 2019 World women’s all-around bronze medalist Angelina Melnikova of Russia and Asuka Teramoto, Japan’s top female all-arounder at 2019 Worlds (13th place).

The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) organized the event as a showcase of international camaraderie “at a time when unity has never seemed more important.” The top three scores per apparatus per team will count to a final team score. There is no individual competition.

“One goal is to prove that staging a high-profile event in Tokyo is possible in the current context of the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to the FIG.

Uchimura, the 2012 and 2016 Olympic all-around champion for Japan, tested positive for the coronavirus last Wednesday. But three subsequent tests came back negative, and last week’s result has since been deemed a false positive, according to the FIG. Uchimura was cleared to compete.

Top gymnasts not entered in Saturday’s meet, including Simone Biles, are expected to return to competition in 2021.

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