U.S. men finish third during qualifying at the World Championships
posted on 10/04/2014

© John Cheng

NANNING, China, Oct. 4, 2014 – The U.S. Team, led by Donnell Whittenburg of Baltimore, Md./Team Hilton HHonors (U.S. Olympic Training Center), finished third during qualifications at the 2014 World Championships in Nanning, China. The U.S. Team earned a 360.393, behind China (362.698) and Japan (361.609). Whittenburg is currently fourth in the all-around standings with an 89.361 total.

The U.S. women compete at 6 p.m. local time/6 a.m. ET tomorrow on the first of two women's qualification days. Fans in the United States can watch live coverage on the USA Gymnastics YouTube channel.

The U.S. Men’s Team consists of Jake Dalton of Reno, Nev./Team Hilton HHonors (University of Oklahoma); Danell Leyva of Miami, Fla./Team Hilton HHonors (Universal Gymnastics); Sam Mikulak of Newport Coast, Calif./University of Michigan; Alexander Naddour of Queen Creek, Ariz./Team Hilton HHonors (USA Youth Fitness Center); John Orozco of the Bronx, N.Y./Team Hilton HHonors (U.S. Olympic Training Center); and Whittenburg.

Whittenburg and Mikulak advanced to the all-around final. The other U.S. final berths were: Dalton, floor and vault; Naddour, pommel horse; Leyva, parallel bars; and Whittenburg, parallel bars.

The U.S. Team came out strong on the pommel horse, an event that can make or break a competition. Leyva got the team started strong with a 14.566, while Whittenburg followed with his first routine on the World stage and delivered a 14.466. The U.S. posted the highest total of qualifying on the event, a 59.598, behind the strength of Naddour, 15.633, and Mikulak, 14.933. Naddour finished in second place on the event.

The momentum continued on the still rings, where they hit five-for-five and earned a 61.266. Dalton saw his first action as the leadoff. He executed an Azarian cross, piked and tucked variations of the Yamawaki before dismounting with a tucked double-double and earning 15.400. Whittenburg closed the routine with a big layout double-twisting, double back dismount for the team’s highest score, 15.500.

On the vault, Whittenburg posted the highest score for the team with a 15.200 on his soaring Dragulescu (handspring double front half out). Dalton added a 15.133 for his Kasumatsu full and earned a two-vault average of 15.183. Mikulak posted a 15.100, and Leyva scored 14.700. They totaled 60.133 on the event.

Team USA continued to cruise on the parallel bars where 2013 World bronze medalist Orozco got things underway with a 15.400. Whittenburg followed and dismounted with a double front half-out for a 15.533. Leyva, the 2011 World champion on the event, showed the form that won him gold in Tokyo. His routine began with intricate peach and giant work. His score, 15.900, was the highest in qualifying. The USA earned a 60.099 total.

Orozco led the way for the Americans on the high bar, where he scored a 14.700, for his routine that included a Liukin and full-twisting, double layout dismount. Dalton added a 14.300 for his routine that began with a half Takamoto to a layout Tkatchev-Gienger combination. Whittenburg, 13.666, and Mikulak, 13.633, rounded out the USA’s 56.299 on the event.

The U.S. squad closed out the competition on the floor exercise. Naddour was the leadoff and posted a 15.366. Whittenburg delivered explosive tumbling before dismounting with an Arabian double pike half out for a 15.266. As the last U.S. performer, Dalton stuck his triple full dismount for a 15.466, giving the U.S. a 60.988 on the event.

2014 World champions and medalists will be determined for both men and women in the team, all-around and individual events. The qualification round determines which countries and athletes advance to the team and individual event finals, respectively: team finals – top eight countries; all-around finals – top 24, maximum two per country; and individual event finals – top eight, maximum two per country, for each apparatus. In addition, the top 24 teams from Nanning will advance to the team competition at the 2015 World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland.

The field of more than 600 includes all of the reigning World champions from the 2013 Worlds except one: all-around – Kohei Uchimura (Japan) and Biles (USA); men’s individual events – Kenzo Shirai (Japan, floor exercise), Kohei Kameyama (Japan, pommel horse), Arthur Zanetti (Brazil, still rings), Yang Hak Seon (Korea, vault), Lin Chaopan (China, parallel bars, tied with Uchimura), and Epke Zonderland (Netherlands, horizontal bar); and women’s individual events – Huang Huidan (China, uneven bars), Aliya Mustafina (balance beam) and Biles (floor). McKayla Maroney of Long Beach, Calif./All-Olympia Gymnastics, was the 2013 World vault champion and is recovering from knee surgery early this year. No team competition was held in 2013.

Ways to follow the action
Here's a quick overview of the ways to watch and follow the U.S. Team's performances at the 2014 World Championships in Nanning, China. The time difference between Nanning and New York City is 12 hours; when it is noon in Nanning, it is midnight in New York. For more information on the World Championships, please go to usagymworlds.com.

  • Live webcasts. USAGymWorlds.com will have live webcasts (U.S. viewers only) of selected qualification sessions, including those that feature U.S. athletes. The coverage will also be archived for on-demand viewing. The schedule is below.

    • Oct. 4
      9-10:45 p.m. ET – Women’s Qualifying, Sub. 1 (Russia)
    • Oct. 5
      6-7:45 a.m. ET – Women’s Qualifying, Sub. 5 (USA)
      11 p.m. – 12:45 a.m. ET – Women’s Qualifying, Sub. 8 (China)
    • Oct. 6
      3:30-5:15 a.m. ET – Women’s Qualifying, Sub. 10 (Romania, Great Britain)
  • UniversalSports.com will have live webcasts of the team, all-around and individual event finals from Nanning, which will also be available at usagymworlds.com. For U.S. Eastern Daylight Savings time, the live webcasts are scheduled for: Oct. 7 –men's team final, 7 a.m.; Oct. 8 – women's team final, 7 a.m.; Oct. 9 – men’s all-around, 7 a.m.; Oct. 10 – women’s all-around, 7 a.m.; Oct. 11-12 – individual event finals, 1 a.m.

  • Cable TV. Universal Sports Network will air each finals session of the 2014 World Championships daily from 8-10 p.m. ET on Oct. 7-12. In addition, UniversalSports.com will provide LIVE streaming of the final six sessions. The network’s broadcast team includes Olympic gold medalists Bart Conner and Amanda Borden. Live webstreams of the finals sessions will also be available at usagymworlds.com.

  • NBC. NBC will broadcast coverage of the Worlds on Oct. 11 at 2 p.m. and Oct. 12 at 3 p.m. ET, hosted by NBC Sports Group’s gymnastics team of Al Trautwig, Tim Daggett, 1984 Olympic team gold medalist, and Nastia Liukin, 2008 Olympic all-around champion.

  • usagymworlds.com. USA Gymnastics will provide enhanced coverage from Nanning, including results, photos, interviews and the webcast. Fans can also follow the action on Facebook, facebook.com/USAGymnastics, and Twitter, @usagym, #FIGWorlds2014ART or #USAGymWorlds.

  • Live scoring. The International Gymnastics Federation provides live scoring from its World Championships. For more information and access, go to fig-gymnastics.com.