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Olympic medalist gymnast Oleg Verniaiev left off Ukraine’s Tokyo team

Gymnastics - Artistic - Olympics: Day 11

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 16: Oleg Verniaiev of Ukraine celebrates winning the gold medal in the Parallel Bars Final on Day 11 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Rio Olympic Arena on August 16, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

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Oleg Verniaiev was added to the list of 2016 Olympic men’s gymnastics champions who will not have the chance to defend their title in Tokyo later this month.

When Ukraine announced its Olympic team this week, Verniaiev was noticeably missing.

The 2016 Olympic parallel bars gold medalist and all-around silver medalist was provisionally suspended by the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) in December 2020.

Verniaiev, the 2019 World all-around bronze medalist, is still listed as suspended on the FIG website. No reason has been given for his suspension and Verniaiev has yet to publicly comment on the matter.

The 27-year-old has won a parallel bars event medal at four of the last five world championships.

He is one of three men’s gymnasts who won gold in Rio but will not be in Tokyo.

High-bar winner Fabian Hambüchen of Germany retired after Rio, his fourth Olympics.

Ri Se-gwang won the vault title but retired in February 2020; North Korea is also not sending a delegation to this summer’s Olympics.

With Verniaiev’s absence confirmed, Russian David Belyavskiy, China’s Lin Chaopan and American Sam Mikulak are the highest-placing finishers from the 2016 Olympic all-around who could be in contention for the all-around final in Tokyo. Belyavskiy was fourth, Lin fifth and Mikulak seventh in Rio.

Kohei Uchimura (gold, Japan) and Max Whitlock (bronze, Great Britain) will also be in Tokyo but no longer compete in the all-around.

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