Dong Dong (CHN) and Huang Shanshan (CHN) prevailed in the men's and women's trampoline finals of the fifth and last World Cup of the 2009 World Cup Series that took place today in Salzgitter, Germany. Masaki Ito (JPN) and Elena Movchan (UKR) were the winners of the World Cup Series in individual trampoline. Masaki Ito-Shunsuke Nagasaki (JPN) and Ekaterina Khilko-Anna Savkina (UZB) won the synchronized trampoline events of the Salzgitter World Cup. By qualifying to the final, Ito-Nagasaki won the 2009 World Cup Series in men's synchronized trampoline. Kalon Ludvigson (USA) and Anna Korobeynikova (RUS) triumphed in tumbling. Korobeynikova clinched the victory in the World Cup Series. Pictures by Bo Tureby and Justen Millerbernd added.
Following back-to-back World Cups in Belgium and Poland, the fifth and last leg of the 2009 World Cup Series kicked off today at the 1,500-seat Amselstieg sports hall in Salzgitter, Germany. This Salzgitter World Cup featured 181 entries from 26 countries.
The preliminaries in synchronized trampoline took place this Saturday morning. The finals kicked off at 3 pm, starting with the synchronized trampoline finals, followed by the tumbling finals, and then the individual trampoline finals.
As the last leg of the World Cup Series, this Salzgitter World Cup was key to the determination of the winners of the 2009 World Cup Series. The final victory in the World Cup Series is based on the four best World Cup results of each gymnast. Gymnasts collect World Cup points ranging from 50 points for the 1st place to 6 pts for the 16th place in the following decreasing point numbers: 50, 40, 30, 25, 23, 20, 18, 16, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 6. The previous legs of these 2009 World Cup Series took place in Loule, Portugal, last September, in Sofia, Bulgaria, in April, in Ostend, Belgium, in August, and in Zielona Gora, Poland, last week-end.
The men's individual trampoline competition of this Salzgitter World Cup crowned Dong Dong (CHN - 42.00 pts). Martin Gromowski (GER - 41.20 pts) defended well the colors of the home country, and was rewarded with a silver medal. Tu Xiao (CHN - 40.90 pts) left Salzgitter with the bronze medal around his neck. As Jason Burnett (CAN - 8th) did not win the gold medal, Masaki Ito (JPN) won the 2009 World Cup Series. Ito finished 5th in the final.
In women's individual trampoline, Huang Shanshan (CHN) won her second consecutive World Cup. With 38.50 pts, she prevailed over Irina Karavaeva (RUS - 37.90 pts) and Li Dan (CHN - 37.70 pts). As Ekaterina Khilko (UZB - 4th) did not win the gold or silver medal, Elena Movchan (UKR) clinched the victory in the 2009 World Cup Series.
In men's synchronized trampoline, Masaki Ito-Shunsuke Nagasaki (JPN - 51.60 pts) triumphed. They had previously won the 2009 World Cup Series by qualifying for the final. Like in Zielona Gora, the silver medal went to Peter Jensen-Daniel Praest (DEN - 50.60 pts), and the bronze medal to Nikolai Kazak-Viacheslav Model (BLR - 49.60 pts). Kazak-Model beat the world record of the highest scoring first routine in the preliminaries (40.50 pts).
In women's synchronized trampoline, Ekaterina Khilko-Anna Savkina (UZB - 46.10 pts) claimed the gold medal. It was the first ever World Cup gold medal in synchronized trampoline for Uzbekistan. Viktoria Voronina-Anastasia Velichko (RUS - 45.40 pts) captured the silver medal. Sarah Syed-Jessica Simon (GER) brought a medal to the home country by taking the 3rd place with 44.70 pts. Elena Movchan-Yulia Domchevska (UKR), who withdrew from the competition, had already won the 2009 World Cup Series before the Salzgitter World Cup.
In men's tumbling, Kalon Ludvigson (USA) triumphed with 76.80 pts, winning the first World Cup gold medal in men's tumbling for the U.S. in ten years. Viktor Kiforenko (UKR - 75.10 pts) claimed the silver medal with 75.10 pts. Mikhail Kostyanov (RUS) secured the bronze medal with 74.50 pts in a final of a high level. World Champion Andrei Krylov (RUS) struggled in the final and did not do better than 4th. He had clinched the victory in the World Cup Series yesterday by qualifying for the final.
In women's tumbling, Anna Korobeynikova (RUS) captured the gold medal with an outstanding performance (70.40 pts), and clinched the World Cup Series. It was her fourth World Cup gold medal in these World Cup Series, sweeping all four events she entered. Elena Chabanenko (UKR - 67.20 pts) claimed the silver medal. Anzhelika Soldatkina (RUS) settled for the bronze medal with 66.40 pts.
MEN'S INDIVIDUAL TRAMPOLINE FINAL
The 2009 World Cup Series victory was still up for grabs in the final of this Salzgitter World Cup. However, Olympic silver medalist Jason Burnett (CAN) absolutely needed to win the gold medal to take over the World Cup Rankings from Masaki Ito (JPN). Burnett definitely went for the gold with an impressive beginning. Unfortunately, he had to interrupt his routine, and had to settle for the 8th place of this final. It meant that Ito was the winner of the 2009 World Cup Series.
The gold medal of this Salzgitter World Cup went to Olympic bronze medalist Dong Dong (CHN), who offered a sterling routine. The routine performed by the 2007 World silver medalist and 2008 World Cup Final winner was done with nice height maintained throughout the routine, sharp body positions, and very little traveling, despite featuring high difficulty (16.60 pt tariff). Overall, Dong Dong scored 42.00 pts. At just 20, it was the fifth World Cup gold medal in Dong Dong's career. Dong Dong was the first male Chinese trampolinist to win a World Cup when he triumphed at the 2007 Quebec City World Cup.
With the loud support from the crowd, Martin Gromowski delivered one of the best routines of his career. He was rewarded with a silver medal that delighted the crowd of the Amselstieg sports hall of Salzgitter. Gromowski performed his routine with height, confidence, and very neat execution. In the final, Gromowski kept the traveling under control, which can be his weakness sometimes. His performance yielded a score of 41.20 pts (16.20 pt tariff). It was the first career World Cup medal in individual trampoline for the 2009 German Champion. It was also the end of a three year drought for Germany as Gromowski's silver medal was the first German World Cup medal in men's individual trampoline since the 2006 Salzgitter World Cup where hometown champion Henrik Stehlik (GER), the 2003 World Champion and 2004 Olympic medalist, claimed the bronze medal.
One week after winning the silver medal in Zielona Gora, Tu Xiao won another World Cup medal. This time, it was the bronze medal. Tu Xiao relied once again on his superior difficulty (17.40 pt tariff) to have an edge over his rivals. Tu delivered a strong routine with good execution. However, some traveling cost him a few tenths. He ended up with a good bronze medal with 40.90 pts. Yasuhiro Ueyama (JPN), who was the winner of the 2006 Salzgitter World Cup, did shine again in Salzgitter. The 2-time World medalist performed a very strong routine with very sharp openings and neat body positions, while limiting his traveling. Overall, Ueyama scored 40.40 pts (16.20 pt tariff). The 2006 World Cup Final winner had to settle for the 4th place. Ueyama barely edged Masaki Ito, the winner of the 2009 World Cup Series. Ito, who had won the Sofia World Cup and medals at the Loule and Zielona Gora World Cups, had to be content with a 5th place this time. Ito relied on brilliant execution once again, but encountered a little traveling. Overall, he scored 40.30 pts (16.20 pt tariff).
Viacheslav Model (BLR), who was a bronze medalist in Ostend, claimed the 6th place of this Salzgitter World Cup with 39.10 pts (16.20 pt tariff) after a solid routine. Diogo Ganchinho (POR) also had a good showing as he claimed the 7th place with 38.90 pts.
WOMEN'S INDIVIDUAL TRAMPOLINE FINAL
The women's individual trampoline World Cup Series were also still up for grabs in this Salzgitter World Cup Final. However, Ekaterina Khilko (UZB) faced an uphill battle as she needed to win either the gold medal or the silver medal. In this final, she gave her best, but had to settle for the 4th place with 36.80 pts. It meant that Elena Movchan (UKR) was the winner of the 2009 World Cup Series.
The gold medal of this Salzgitter World Cup went to Huang Shanshan, the 2004 Olympic bronze medalist, just one week after she won the Zielona Gora World Cup. Huang, who had won the 2006 Salzgitter World Cup as well, was competing last after dominating the preliminaries. She delivered a sterling routine with height and nice execution, scoring 38.50 pts. It was the sixth career World Cup gold medal for the 2007 World silver medalist and 2008 World Cup Final winner. Huang Shanshan was also the first Chinese to ever win a World Cup gold medal when she prevailed in Savognin, Switzerland, three years ago. With this new gold medal, she showed everybody she will be the woman to beat the upcoming World Championships in St Petersburg, Russia, in November.
Irina Karavaeva, the 2000 Olympic Champion and 5-time World Champion, is coming back into top shape, as witnessed by the silver medal she won in this final. Karavaeva proved she is building momentum as she performed a very good routine. She jumped high and with her characteristic sharp body positions in the air. She performed her routine with good execution, scoring 37.90 pts (14.00 pt tariff). With a little less traveling and stepped up difficulty, Karavaeva should be able to compete for the gold medal at the St Petersburg World Championships. This Salzgitter World Cup silver medal was only her fourth career World Cup silver medal. In contrast, her collection of World Cup gold medals features 28 pieces.
Li Dan won the second World Cup medal of her career as she claimed the bronze medal in this final. She performed a routine with a very difficult beginning (14.60 pt tariff) and scored 37.70 pts, just 0.20 pts off Karavaeva. Li Dan's routine was of very good quality, but she lost a few precious tenths due to a little traveling. Khilko, the Olympic bronze medalist, scored 36.80 pts thanks to a good routine with high difficulty (14.60 pt tariff). She had to settle for the 4th place. Haruka Hirota (JPN), the 8-time Japanese Champion, came in 5th place with 35.80 pts. She relied on very good execution with moderate difficulty. Marina Kyiko (UKR) took the 6th place with 35.60 pts with a good routine that experienced some traveling here and there. Andrea Lenders (NED - 7th) and Luba Golovina (GEO - 8th) unfortunately could not complete their routines and had to settle for the last two places of the final.
MEN'S TUMBLING FINAL
World Champion and World Games Champion Andrei Krylov (RUS) had already secured the victory in the World Cup Series before the final started as a qualification to the final had mathematically put him out of his rivals' reach. Nevertheless, the final of this Salzgitter World Cup did not disappoint. It proved to be suspenseful and of a very high level. Pan American Champion and world record holder Kalon Ludvigson (USA - pictured left) was seeking his first World Cup gold medal after having to settle for the silver medal five times in the past. Competing third to last in the final, Ludvigson put a lot of pressure right off the bat with his first routine. His routine displayed great difficulty (12.40 pt tariff - the highest of the final), amazing pace, neat execution, and a mastered landing. Overall, Ludvigson scored 39.40 pts, which put tremendous pressure on 2007 Kunshan World Cup winner Mikhail Kostyanov (RUS) and, more importantly on Krylov, who were left to compete after him. Kostyanov did well (37.40 pts with a 10.80 pt tariff), but not well enough. Krylov, who had won the Loule and Ostend World Cups in these Series, followed. The World Champion however proved to be very nervous due to the pressure put on by Ludvigson's pass. Krylov struggled in his first pass, and could not land properly his final skill. Overall, he scored only 35.50 pts, which meant that the gold medal would most likely be out of his reach.
After this first pass where he built a 1.40 pt advantage over his rivals, Ludvigson had to deliver a strong second pass to avoid any upset. He delivered exactly that, scoring 37.40 pts with a well mastered second pass that proved to be the best second pass of the final. Overall, Ludvigson, who is coached by Justen Millerbernd, scored 76.80 pts and clinched his first career World Cup gold medal. Ludvigson mentioned that having his coach on the floor, rather than having him officiate as a judge, gave him the confidence to go for the gold and put pressure on Krylov. Ludvigson's gold medal was the first gold medal in men's tumbling in more than 10 years for the United States. The last U.S. World Cup gold medal in men's tumbling dated back to May 1999 in Aachen, Germany, where Rayshine Harris (USA), the always spectacular 1996 World Champion, won his ninth and last career World Cup gold medal. This great achievement for Ludvigson comes after a string of great achievements for the U.S. gymnasts with gold medals in Ostend for Logan Dooley (USA) in individual trampoline and for Logan Dooley-Steven Gluckstein (USA) in synchronized trampoline.
In addition, Kalon Ludvigson's first pass was the highest scoring pass ever under the new code of points. The current world record of 40.60 pts held by Wang Jiexu (CHN) for a pass performed at the 2007 Sofia World Cup had a degree of difficulty of 14.5 pts under the old code of points. Under the new code of points, it would have a degree of difficulty of 12.10 pts, which means that the record would have been 38.2 pts under the old code of points. In comparison, Ludvigson scored 39.40 pts with a 12.40 pt tariff.
In this final in Salzgitter, World Games bronze medalist Viktor Kiforenko (UKR) captured the silver medal one week after claiming the bronze medal in Poland. Kiforenko scored 75.10 pts thanks to two very strong passes. His first pass scored 38.00 pts (10.50 pts) and his second pass 37.10 pts (10.40 pt tariff). Mikhail Kostyanov secured the bronze medal for Russia with two strong and consistent passes as well. Kostyanov scored 37.40 pts for his first pass (10.80 pt tariff) and 37.10 pts for his second pass (10.50 pt tariff). Krylov had to settle for the 4th place with 70.70 pts. His second pass also struggled, especially the landing, despite some high difficulty (12.10 pt tariff).
Sebastian Sondel (POL) took the 5th place of a World Cup for the third time of these World Cup Series. Sondel performed two consistent passes and scored 69.70 pts, but his relative lack of difficulty prevented him from getting closer to the race for the medals. World bronze medalist Sergei Artemenko (BLR) was in the mix for the medals after a solid first pass (36.60 pts with a 10.10 pt tariff). Unfortunately, some struggles in his second pass meant that he had to settle for the 6th place with 65.00 pts. Mickael Gosset (FRA - 64.00 pts) and Morgan Sauton (FRA - 54.40 pts) also struggled and finished in the last two places of the final.
WOMEN'S TUMBLING FINAL
The women's tumbling final was very suspenseful as the stakes were very high. Anna Korobeynkova, the 2-time reigning World Champion and World Games Champion, and Elena Chabanenko (UKR), the 3-time former World Champion and 2-time former World Games Champion, could both win the World Cup Series if they won this Salzgitter World Cup. Elena Chabanenko, who was competing second to last and just before Korobeynikova in this final, set the tone of the dual with a great first routine (34.20 pts with a 7.40 pt tariff). Korobeynikova responded with a brilliant pass with great pace (35.00 pts with a 7.60 pt tariff) and neat landing, thus taking over the lead. The pressure was on Chabanenko for the second pass. She delivered a pretty good pass, but the landing was not mastered enough to threaten Korobeynikova. Chabanenko scored 33.00 pts (6.80 pt tariff), for a grand total of 67.20 pts. In her second pass, Korobeynikova just had to perform a solid pass to clinch the gold medal and the World Cup Series. She did even better than that as she competed the best pass of the final (35.40 pts with a 7.50 pt tariff), which yielded a total score of 70.40 pts. As a result, Korobeynikova won the 2009 World Cup Series with a perfect score of 200 pts in the World Cup Rankings. She had previously won the 2002, 2004, and 2008 World Cup Finals. With this Salzgitter World Cup gold medal, Korobeynikova has now won the past 9 World Cups in which she competed, including four in the 2009 World Cup Series. Her last World Cup defeat dates back to the 2007 Sofia World Cup. Overall, she has earned 19 career World Cup gold medals, a record in tumbling.
With 67.20 pts, Chabanenko, who had won the Zielona Gora World Cup last week, took the silver medal, the 11th World Cup silver medal of her career. World Games silver medalist Anzhelika Soldatkina (RUS) had a nice performance that earned her the bronze medal in Salzgitter. Soldatkina scored 66.40 pts thanks to two consistent passes (33.00 pts with a 6.70 pt tariff and 33.40 pts with a 6.80 pt tariff). Karen Wilson (RSA - 4th) had once again a solid competition as she claimed the 4th place with 63.20 pts, also with two consistent passes (32.10 pts with a 6.30 pt tariff and 31.10 pts with a 6.10 pt tariff). Jessica Courreges-Clerq (FRA) had a solid display as she placed 5th with 61.40 pts, barely edging Nele van Heck (BEL - 6th with 61.30 pts). Bianca Budler (RSA) came in 7th with 57.70 pts after struggling in her second pass. An van Laerebeke (BEL) struggled in both passes and had to settle for the 8th place.
MEN'S SYNCHRONIZED TRAMPOLINE FINAL
After having secured the victory in the 2009 World Cup Series by qualifying for the men's synchronized trampoline final of this Salzgitter World Cup, World Games Champions Masaki Ito (pictured on the left)-Shunsuke Nagasaki (JPN) left no doubt as to who is currently the best pair in the world. One week after a jaw-dropping performance that yielded the gold medal in Zielona Gora, Ito-Nagasaki offered a new dazzling routine that gave the impression of a trampoline routine being reflected onto a mirror. Their synchronization was almost perfect, earning a 9.70 pt mark. With a mix of neat execution and difficulty (15.40 pt tariff), they scored 51.60 pts, just 0.30 pts off the world record. It was the third World Cup gold medal for the Japanese pair in these World Cup Series.
Like in Zielona Gora, Peter Jensen-Daniel Praest (DEN - 50.60 pts) earned the silver medal after a very neat routine with solid execution and good difficulty (15.40 pt tariff). Their synchronization was very good (9.30 pt synchronization mark) but not as good as Ito-Nagasaki's, and that is what made the difference in the end. European Champions Nikolai Kazak-Viacheslav Model (BLR), who had set a new world record for the highest scoring first routine in the preliminaries, did not disappoint in the final. They delivered a routine with brilliant synchronization (9.50 pt synchronization mark). However, some traveling and a lower execution meant that they had to settle for the bronze medal with 49.60 pts.
Former European Champions Alexander Chernonos-Yuri Nikitin (UKR) took the 4th place with 48.60 pts with a neat routine featuring high difficulty (15.80 pt tariff). However, a little lack of synchronization meant that they would not prevail in the battle for the medals. One week after taking the bronze medal in Poland, Blake Gaudry-Ben Wilden (AUS) delivered another solid performance, claiming the 5th place with 48.30 pts thanks to a solid synchronization. They barely edged Sergei Azarian-Viacheslav Kuznetsov (RUS - 48.00 pts), who came in 6th. 2006 European silver medalists Nuno Merino-Diogo Ganchinho (POR) finished in 7th place with 45.40 pts, ahead of Dario Aloi-Flavio Cannone (ITA - 8th), who struggled.
WOMEN'S SYNCHRONIZED TRAMPOLINE FINAL
The 2009 World Cup Series were already won by Yulia Domchevska-Elena Movchan (UKR), who withdrew in Salzgitter, before this Salzgitter World Cup. That did not prevent Ekaterina Khilko -Anna Savkina (UZB) from giving their best to claim the first synchronized trampoline World Cup gold medal for Uzbekistan. Khilko-Savkina, who had previously won six World Cup medals but never the gold, made the difference over their rivals in Salzgitter thanks to superior difficulty (13.10 pt tariff). Overall, they scored 46.10 pts. The silver medal went to Viktoria Voronina-Anastasia Velichko (RUS), who earned their third career World Cup medal. The Russian pair relied on the best execution of the final and solid synchronization. They scored 45.40 pts.
Jessica Simon-Sarah Syed (GER - 44.70 pts) earned a medal for the host country thanks to a solid routine. Zita Frydrychova-Petra Anyzova (CZE) came close to the medal with 44.20 pts, but had to settle for the 4th place. The young Czech pair offered a quality routine with the best synchronization of the final (9.50 pt tariff), but their lack of difficulty (9.70 pt tariff) was a handicap too burdensome in this final. Marina Kyiko-Natalia Moskvina (UKR), who had qualified for the final in 1st place, suffered from the pressure. Their routine was performed with neat execution and featured solid difficulty, but their synchronization was somewhat poor. They scored 44.10 pts and finished 5th. Kirsten Boersma-Karin de Vries (NED) followed in 6th place with 43.80 pts, ahead of Mina Terada-Natsumi Yamashita (JPN - 7th with 41.60 pts). The Sofia World Cup medalists uncharacteristically lacked synchronization despite performing their routine at moderate height. Loule World Cup winners Tatiana Petrenia-Ekaterina Mironova (BLR), who were among the favorites for the gold medal, struggled and were unable to complete their routine. They came in 8th place.