U.S. men perform well in qualification round at 2011 World Championships
posted on 10/09/2011

© John Cheng

TOKYO, Oct. 9, 2011 – The U.S. Men's Team earned a total of 361.583 points in the first session of two days of men's qualification rounds at the 2011 World Championships at the Tokyo (Japan) Metropolitan Gymnasium. The men's qualification round concludes on Oct. 10, which determines which countries and athletes advance to the final rounds. The U.S. women will compete in the women's team finals on Oct. 11.

The U.S. Men's Team includes Jake Dalton of Reno, Nev./University of Oklahoma; Jonathan Horton of Houston/Team Hilton HHonors (Cypress Academy); Steven Legendre of Port Jefferson, N.Y./Team Hilton Honors (University of Oklahoma); Danell Leyva of Homestead, Fla./Team Hilton HHonors (Universal Gymnastics); Alexander Naddour of Gilbert, Ariz./University of Oklahoma; John Orozco, Bronx, N.Y., U.S. Olympic Training Center; and alternate, Chris Brooks, Houston/Team Hilton HHonors (Cypress Academy).

The U.S. men had the highest team totals in the first session for both the floor exercise (60.499) and vault (64.316). The team scores for the other events were: pommel horse, 58.299; still rings, 59.448; parallel bars, 59.923; and horizontal bar, 59.098. Japan was also in the USA's subdivision, and the two finished in the top two spots in the team rankings for the event thus far, with Japan taking the lead.

"The guys did an absolutely outstanding job today, and I am so proud of them," said Kevin Mazeika, the World Championships head coach and men's national team coordinator for USA Gymnastics. "They went out there and competed with their hearts and did an incredible job. I was really pleased with the consistency rate. That's what we look for in the three-up, three count format (in the finals) because it is going to be about consistency. We've got to clean up a few details here and there and sticking as many landings as we can. I'm looking forward to it (the finals)."

In the all-around, Orozco earned a 90.532 for the highest U.S. score in the qualification round and second in the subdivision's rankings. His top score of the day came on vault, earning a 15.900 for his front handspring double twist. On the horizontal bar, his routine included a full-twisting laid-out Tkatchev, also known as a Liukin, and he stuck his full-twisting, double-layout dismount for a 15.266. His other event scores were: floor exercise, 14.300; pommel horse, 15.000; still rings, 15.033; and parallel bars, 15.033.

"We're doing great as a team right now and we did really well," said Orozco. "Pommel (horse) was the highlight of today. We hit all of the pommel horse routines.

Photos by John Cheng

"I don't think I have ever said this, but I am proud of myself," said Orozco. "Coming back after an injury, I wasn't expecting these results at all. I tried to go out there and hit all of my routines for the team and do what I am used to doing. I tried to focus on my routines . . . not really about the scores and placements."

Leyva netted the USA's second best all-around score at 89.848, putting him in third for the subdivision. He tallied the USA's best score on the parallel bars at 15.366 for his routine that featured a peach full, peach Diamidov and double-pike dismount. On vault, he earned a 16.100 for his Kasumatsu one-and-a-half. His other event scores were: floor exercise, 14.800; pommel horse, 14.633; still rings, 14.483; and horizontal bar, 15.086.

"I feel like the team really did their job and did what we were supposed to do, what we said we were going to do," said Leyva. "It's prelims so there are still kinks to work out and that's what today was for. (On my performance) I think every single event I did was really good up until high bar. Not that I did a bad high bar routine, I just didn't do what I feel like I do every day. Now I know where I need to pay more attention."

For the all-around, Horton posted an 89.689. He posted the team's highest still rings score at 15.366 for a routine that included an inverted cross and finished with a tucked double-double dismount. His high bar routine that includes a Cassina (a laidout Kolman), Kolman, layout Kovacs and full-twisting, double layout received a 15.086. His other event scores were: floor exercise, 14.900; pommel horse, 13.308; and vault, 16.083.

"I think the team did awesome," said Horton. "I am extremely excited with how well everyone did. I think we only had one or two missed routines the entire day, and it is just phenomenal in team prelims. I know if you put us in a three-up, three-count format, we are an even better team so I can't wait.

"Already I've had people asking me how does it feel not making the all-around final," said Horton. "There is that little bit of disappointment, but I will say it again – all I care about is this team. I've accomplished a lot of things as an individual already. I want to stand at the top of the awards podium at a World Championships or Olympic Games with that gold medal around my neck with my team."

Legendre also competed on all six events, tallying an 86.598 total for seventh in the subdivision. He scored the USA's best on floor, earning a 15.433 for his performance that included a two-and-a-half twisting double-back and Arabian double-pike full-out. His other event scores were: pommel horse, 13.433; still rings, 14.066; vault, 15.233; parallel bars, 14.133; and horizontal bar, 14.300.

Dalton competed in five events for the team. He posted the USA's best vault score at 16.233 for his Kasumatsu double full. To be considered for the vault finals, he also did a second vault, a handspring front double full, and received a 15.800. His floor exercise that earned a 15.366 included an Arabian double layout and he stuck his triple full dismount. His other event scores were: 14.566, still rings; 14.558, parallel bars; and 13.466, horizontal bar.

Naddour was the star of the USA's pommel horse effort, earning a 15.233 for his routine that included a full Kehr on one pommel, intricate pommel work and a swing to handstand pirouette dismount.

The U.S. men competed in the first of eight subdivisions in the qualification round, along with gymnasts from Puerto Rico, Japan, Portugal and mixed groups of Vietnam, Peru, Kuwait, and South Africa.

The finals schedule for the World Championships is: Oct. 11, women's team; Oct. 12, men's team; Oct. 13, women's all-around; Oct. 14, men's all-around; and Oct. 15-16, individual events.

The women competing for the USA are: Gabrielle Douglas of Virginia Beach, Va./Chow's Gymnastics and Dance Institute; McKayla Maroney of Laguna Niguel, Calif./All Olympia AOGC; Alexandra Raisman of Needham, Mass./Brestyan's American Gymnastics; Sabrina Vega of Carmel, N.Y./Dynamic Gymnastics; and Jordyn Wieber of DeWitt, Mich./Gedderts' Twistars USA. Team member Alicia Sacramone of Winchester, Mass./Brestyan's American Gymnastics, who tore her Achilles tendon during training, has returned to the States for medical treatment, and Anna Li of Aurora, Ill./Legacy Elite Gymnastics LLC, is the alternate.

Fans can follow the action at the 2011 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships via the web, cable TV and network television. Universal Sports will carry a live webcast of the finals, as well as same-day coverage on its cable network. In addition, usagym.org will have photos and updates from Tokyo, with expanded coverage of "USA Gymnastics: Behind the Team presented by AT&T." NBC Sports will broadcast coverage of the World Championships on Oct. 15-16.

Here's a quick overview of the various ways to watch and follow the U.S. Team's performances at the 2011 World Championships in Tokyo.

  • Live webcast. UniversalSports.com will have a live webcast of the team, all-around and individual event finals from Tokyo for $19.99. For U.S. Eastern Daylight Savings time, the live webcasts are scheduled for: Oct. 11 – women's team final, 6 a.m.; Oct. 12 – men's team final, 5 a.m.; Oct. 13 – women's all-around final, 5 a.m.; Oct. 14 – men's all-around final, 6 a.m.; Oct. 15 – individual event finals, 12:30 a.m.; and Oct. 16 – individual event finals, 1 a.m. (NOTE: Tokyo is 13 hours ahead of New York City; when it is midnight in Tokyo, it is 11 a.m. in New York.)

  • Cable TV. Universal Sports will show all of the finals on its cable network during prime time. At 8 p.m. ET each day, Universal Sports will show the men's team final on Oct. 12; men's all-around finals on Oct. 14; and individual event finals on Oct. 15-16. The women's team final will air at 11 p.m. on Oct. 15, and the women's all-around final, with men's highlights, will air at 11 p.m. on Oct. 16.

  • NBC. NBC Sports' coverage of the World Championships will broadcast the women's team final at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15, and the women's all-around final at 2 p.m. on Oct. 16.

  • "Behind the Team." "USA Gymnastics: Behind the Team presented by AT&T" will provide expanded coverage from the World Championships, including John Macready's take on the championships and Tokyo, interviews, and more. To enjoy this added coverage, you can go to att.net/teamusa or access it from usagym.org.

  • Usagym.org will provide enhanced coverage from Tokyo that will include results and exclusive photos from the competition, as well as daily video interviews. USA Gymnastics will also post event updates on Facebook and Twitter.