An untraditional gymnastics meet produced familiar top-line results: Kohei Uchimura leading a victorious team and hitting a fist-pumping high bar routine.
In a mixed-gender team event in Tokyo dubbed the Friendship and Solidarity Competition, Uchimura’s “Solidarity” team of 15 gymnasts beat “Friendship” by 2.3 points. Full results are here.
The meet blended 30 elites from the world’s dominant gymnastics nations — the U.S., China, Japan and Russia — in the closest thing to a return to international gymnastics in eight months.
Spectators, reportedly up to 2,000, were allowed inside Yoyogi National Gymnasium for one of the first international sports events held inside the 2021 Olympic host nation since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
They saw Uchimura, the two-time Olympic all-around champion plagued by injuries the last three years, post the top high bar score (15.2) of the 12 men who did routines.
Uchimura, 31, is bidding for a fourth and final Olympics as a high bar specialist. He was questionable to compete on Sunday after testing positive for the coronavirus on Oct. 28, but it was deemed a false positive after three subsequent negative tests.
Uchimura’s Solidarity team also included 2019 World all-around champion Nikita Nagornyy of Russia and American women Shilese Jones and eMjae Frazier, who each did vault and balance beam.
Yul Moldauer and Shane Wiskus, two members of the U.S.’ 2019 World Championships team, competed for the Friendship team, which was headlined by 2018 World all-around champion Artur Dalaloyan and 2019 World bronze medalist Angelina Melnikova, both of Russia.
Simone Biles and the U.S.’ other top gymnasts are expected to return to competition in 2021.
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