Men’s gymnastics qualifying at the Tokyo Olympics begins Friday night with the medal favorites – Japan, China and Russian Olympic Committee – taking to the floor, bars, pommel horse, vault and rings.
In Subdivision 1, China – the defending silver medalists – finished with the top team score of 262.061. The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), who won gold in Rio, were a very close second at 261.945. Both teams are medal contenders and will advance to the team finals, while teams like Ukraine and Spain will have to wait and see the results of the last two subdivisions.
The top three individual performers were also neck and neck: Nikita Nagornyy of the ROC had the top individual all-around score with 87.897, followed by two Chinese athletes, Xiao Ruoteng (87.732) and Sun Wei (87.298).
Denis Abliazin, the bronze medalist in rings at the 2016 Olympics, had another strong performance:
Artem Dolgopyat had the top score in the subdivision on floor exercise:
No qualifying scores are carried over to the finals. For the individual events, the top eight athletes will advance to the finals, except no more than two athletes from each country can compete in any single individual event, meaning some top performers from China and Japan may be left out.
Japan, seeking its second straight gold medal, had the top team score in Subdivision 2 with 262.251.
Japan’s men’s gymnastics team is competing at the Tokyo Games without two-time all-around champion Uchimura Kohei, who opted to focus on the individual high bar competition. But Japan will still be favored to win a medal with a foursome of Olympic rookies: Hashimoto Daiki, Kaya Kazuma, Kitazono Takeru and Tanigawa Wataru. Hashimoto will be a contender for the individual all-around and several event finals, as well.
Daiki was the top individual performer in Subdivision 2 with a score of 88.531.
The U.S. men, led by Sam Mikulak, are in the third and final qualifying subdivision, beginning at 6:30 a.m. ET.