Daiki Hashimoto adds gymnastics world all-around to Olympic gold; U.S.’ best since 2003

0 Comments

Japan’s Daiki Hashimoto became the youngest man to add a world all-around gymnastics title to Olympic gold in the event, one year after becoming the first teenage man to claim the Olympic title.

Hashimoto, a 21-year-old who entered worlds with wrist problems, outdueled Chinese rival and defending world champion, 22-year-old Zhang Boheng, in a battle of two men who may lead the sport for years to come.

“I couldn’t win this competition last year because he won. So I felt sad,” Hashimoto said. “Competing against him was a motivation [today]. The battle with Zhang Boheng is so good.”

Hashimoto totaled 87.198 points in Liverpool, England on Friday to be crowned the world’s best male gymnast. Zhang was second with 86.765, a year after he defeated Hashimoto by 17 hundredths of a point at the world championships.

“I feel a little bit disappointed, because as defending champion I didn’t do my best in the final today,” Zhang said. “A lot of the dismounts, especially in the floor exercise, I could have improved those.”

Japan’s Wataru Tanigawa took bronze.

Americans Brody Malone and Asher Hong placed fourth and sixth, two days after the U.S. finished a disappointing fifth in the team final.

“Today went really well compared to how the last two days of competition have gone, so I’m happy with that,” said Malone, the two-time reigning U.S. all-around champion. “But it’s definitely bittersweet to be that close [to a medal] and taste it, but just not get it. I’m definitely motivated.”

GYMNASTICS WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule | Results

It’s the first time the U.S. put two men into the top 10 of a world all-around since 2003 (Paul Hamm gold, Jason Gatson eighth) and the second time in history to have two in the top six after 1979. Jonathan Horton was the last American man to earn a medal, bronze in 2010.

Hong, at 18 the youngest U.S. male gymnast at worlds since 2009 (Danell Leyva), became the second-youngest man from any nation to finish that high in the all-around since 2001. He was in fourth place going into the final rotation and fell off high bar, his weakest event.

“It’s just mind-boggling,” Hong told GymCastic of his worlds debut. “There’s still a lot to improve, so I’m going to go back home, keep training hard, work on high bar, upgrade my difficulty, clean up all the routines, but I think that there’s a big possibility [that I can win in the future] for sure.”

Hashimoto, who made his world championships debut as a high school student in 2019, has succeeded his gymnastics idol, six-time world all-around champion Kohei Uchimura, as king of the sport.

He followed two older brothers into gymnastics and was nicknamed “Mr. Infinite Stamina” by a coach for his appetite for training.

Like Uchimura, Hashimoto rocketed to individual stardom while his team has been unable to get on top of the podium.

Hashimoto owns world team silver and bronze medals and Olympic team silver. Uchimura, who made his Olympic debut in 2008, waited until 2015 to win his first team title.

Worlds conclude Saturday and Sunday with individual apparatus finals, live on Peacock.

Correction: An earlier version incorrectly reported Hong as the youngest man to place that high in a world all-around since 2001. Ukraine’s Illia Kovtun finished third last year as a younger 18-year-old.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Ilia Malinin wins U.S. Figure Skating Championships despite quadruple Axel miss

0 Comments

One year ago, Ilia Malinin came to the U.S. Championships as, largely, a 17-year-old unknown. He finished second to Nathan Chen in 2022 and was left off the three-man Olympic team due to his inexperience, a committee decision that lit a fire in him.

After the biggest year of change in U.S. figure skating in three decades, Malinin came to this week’s nationals in San Jose, California, as the headliner across all disciplines.

Though he fell on his quadruple Axel and doubled two other planned quads in Sunday’s free skate (the most ambitious program in history), he succeeded the absent Chen as national champion.

Malinin, the world’s second-ranked male singles skater, still landed two clean quads in Friday’s short program and three more Sunday. He totaled 287.74 points and prevailed by 10.43 over two-time Olympian Jason Brown, a bridge between the Chen and Malinin eras.

“This wasn’t the skate that I wanted,” said Malinin, who was bidding to become the second man to land six quads in one program after Chen. The Virginia chalked up the flaws at least partially to putting more recent practice time into his short program, which he skated clean on Friday after errors in previous competitions.

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Results

Brown, a 28-year-old competing for the first time since placing sixth at the Olympics, became the oldest male singles skater to finish in the top three at nationals since Jeremy Abbott won the last of his four titles in 2014. As usual, he didn’t attempt a quad but had the highest artistic score by 9.41 points.

Brown’s seven total top-three finishes at nationals tie him with Chen, Michael WeissBrian Boitano, David Jenkins and Dick Button for the second-most in men’s singles since World War II, trailing only Todd Eldredge‘s and Hayes Jenkins‘ eight.

“I’m not saying it’s super old, but I can’t train the way I used to,” Brown said after Friday’s short program. “What Ilia is doing and the way he is pushing the sport is outstanding and incredible to watch. I cannot keep up.”

Andrew Torgashev took bronze, winning the free skate with one quad and all clean jumps. Torgashev, who competed at nationals for the first time since placing fifth in 2020 at age 18, will likely round out the three-man world team.

Japan’s Shoma Uno will likely be the favorite at worlds. He won last year’s world title, when Malinin admittedly cracked under pressure in the free skate after a fourth-place short program and ended up ninth.

That was before Malinin became the first person to land a quad Axel in competition. That was before Malinin became the story of the figure skating world this fall. That was before Malinin took over the American throne from Chen, who is studying at Yale and not expected to return to competition.

Malinin’s next step is to grab another label that Chen long held: best in the world. To do that, he must be better than he was on Sunday.

“You always learn from your experiences, and there’s always still the rest of the season to come,” he said. “I just have to be prepared and prepare a little bit extra so that doesn’t happen again.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Mark McMorris breaks Winter X Games medals record; David Wise wins first title in 5 years

Mark McMorris
Getty
0 Comments

Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris broke his tie with American Jamie Anderson for the most Winter X Games medals across all sites, earning his 22nd medal, a slopestyle gold, in Aspen, Colorado.

On the final run of Sunday’s contest, McMorris overtook Norway’s Marcus Kleveland with back-to-back 1620s on the last two jumps. McMorris’ last three Aspen slopestyle titles were all won on his final run (2019, 2022).

“It’s something I never thought would ever come to me as a kid from Saskatchewan,” McMorris, 29, said on the broadcast. “Everything’s just been a bonus since I became a pro snowboarder.”

In a format introduced three years ago, athletes were ranked on overall impression of their best run over the course of a jam session rather than scoring individual runs.

McMorris won his record-extending seventh X Games Aspen men’s slopestyle title, one day after finishing fourth in big air.

“It just keeps getting crazier because I keep getting older,” he said. “People just keep pushing the limits, pushing the limits. Last night was such a downer, almost bums me out, like, dude, do I still have it? … To have one of those miracle wins where you do it on the last run and someone makes you push yourself, those are the best feelings.”

McMorris won slopestyle bronze medals at each of the last three Olympics and reportedly said last February that he was planning to compete through the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games.

Canadian Max Parrot, the 2022 Olympic slopestyle champion, is taking this season off from competition.

Anderson, a two-time Olympic snowboard slopestyle champion, is expecting her first child.

Later Sunday, American David Wise earned his first major ski halfpipe title since repeating as Olympic champion in 2018. Wise landed back-to-back double cork 1260s to end his winning run, according to commentators.

“I wouldn’t still be out here if I didn’t think I had a chance,” Wise, 32 and now a five-time X Games Aspen champ, said on the broadcast. “I’m not going to be the guy who just keeps playing the game until everybody just begs me to stop.”

U.S. Olympian Mac Forehand won men’s ski big air with a 2160 on his last run, according to commentators. It scored a perfect 50. Olympic gold medalist Birk Ruud of Norway followed with a triple cork 2160 of his own, according to commentators, and finished third.

Canadian skier Megan Oldham added slopestyle gold to her big air title from Friday, relegating Olympic champion Mathilde Gremaud of Switzerland to silver.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!