© Tom Theobald

STUTTGART, Germany, Sept. 10, 2015 – Five-time Pan Am Games gold medalist Laura Zeng of Libertyville, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, advanced to the clubs and all-around finals at the 2015 World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships today in Stuttgart, Germany. Zeng is the first U.S. gymnast to qualify to the clubs final at the Worlds since Mary Sanders in 2003. The clubs finals will be live streamed on the USA Gymnastics YouTube channel, beginning at 2 p.m. ET this afternoon. The USA also placed ninth in the team competition.

Zeng wasted no time in her clubs routine, opening with a high toss that included quick movements under the apparatus to a clean catch. With the clubs connected, she showed a unique mastery, dropping the clubs and performing a 360-degree turn before catching the clubs with her foot. She earned a 17.700 and finished 8th in the event to earn a spot in tonight’s finals. Zeng’s all-around qualification score was 52.500, which placed her 11th and earned a spot in the top group in tomorrow’s all-around final.

Camilla Feeley of Highland Park, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, made her World Championships debut, showing the poise of a veteran. Her clean performance with the clubs ended with a big smile and earned a 16.525.

Two-time World all-around finalist Jazzy Kerber of Highland Park, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Academy, also performed today with the clubs, scoring a 16.166. Her all-around qualification score was 48.690, which was good for 39th place.

The U.S. team posted a score of 135.557 to finish in ninth place. Russia took the gold medal, posting a 149.990. Belarus was second, 141.314, and Ukraine took the bronze with a 141.196 total.

The finals schedule is:

  • Sept. 10, 2 p.m. ET, clubs and ribbon
  • Sept. 11, all-around, 10 a.m. ET (gymnasts ranked 13-24) and 1:30 p.m. ET (gymnasts ranked 1-12)

The competition schedule for group is:

  • Sept. 11, all-around finals and event qualifications, 7 a.m. ET (USA)
  • Sept. 12, 5 ribbons and 3 clubs/2 hoops finals, 7 a.m. ET

The format for individual rhythmic gymnastics has competition for team, all-around and the four events (hoop, ball, clubs and ribbon). Qualification rounds determine advancement to the all-around and individual event finals, with the team rankings determined at the conclusion of qualification rounds (Sept. 10). The team competition consists of 10 routines (two hoop, two ball, three clubs and three ribbon), and up to four gymnasts may perform the routines. Each gymnast may perform from one to four routines. The eight best scores are added together and determine the team score. The top 24 individual gymnasts in the all-around qualification rankings advance to the all-around finals on Sept. 11. For individual events, the top eight on each event from the qualification rounds qualify for the finals (Sept. 8 and 10). A maximum of two gymnasts per country advances to the finals. For group, competition is in both the all-around and events [5 ribbons and 3 pairs of clubs (six total)/2 hoops]. The all-around competition on Sept. 12 serves as the qualification round for the event finals. The event finals are on Sept. 13

In addition to determining the 2015 World champions and medalists, the top 15 athletes from the individual all-around final, with a max of two per country, in Stuttgart will earn a spot for their country at the Games. The top eight Groups will earn their countries’ berths for the competition in Rio. An additional two Groups may also earn their places based on the continental representation requirement, for a total of 10 Groups qualifying to the Games. The second opportunity to qualify for the 2016 Games is the Olympic Test-Event in April 2016. Individual rhythmic gymnasts will also qualify for the individual event competition at the 2017 World Games based on performances in Stuttgart.

USA Gymnastics will have results, photos and other information on the U.S. Team’s efforts in Stuttgart, along with access to live scoring and webcast at usagym.org. In addition, follow the U.S. Team on Facebook at www.facebook.com/USAGymnastics and on Twitter, @usagym or #FIGWorlds2015RG. Information on participating countries, the draw, live scoring, results, etc., is available on the website of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG), fig-gymnastics.com.