With last month’s World Championships in Doha in the rearview mirror and the 2019 season fast approaching, the final World Cup event of the 2018 season is here, also serving as the first World Cup competition with Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualification on the line.

Always boasting a stacked field of gymnasts in top form fresh off the World Championships, the 2018 Cottbus World Cup will see top senior international elites like Jade Carey, Oksana Chusovitina, Elizabeth Seitz, Nina Derwael, Flavia Saraiva, and others.

Jade Carey on floor Photo: John Cheng

As an individual apparatus World Cup, the competition in Cottbus will feature qualifications on day one, with the top eight gymnasts on each event qualifying to the event final on day two with the two per-country rule in effect.

For top stars like Jade Carey of the U.S., one of the biggest goals will be finishing top three on an event to earn points for the individual apparatus World Cup series, in hopes of winning the series to qualify an individual spot to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in less than two years’ time.

Vault

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On vault, the top contenders for the event final will be Carey of Arizona Sunrays in the U.S., Uzbekistan’s Oksana Chusovitina, Rebeca Andrade of Brazil, India’s Dipa Karmakar, and World vault bronze medalist Alexa Moreno of Mexico. Carey, the silver medalist on vault at last year’s World Championships, opted not to compete at Worlds in Doha this time around, instead favoring the apparatus World Cup circuit to earn a direct qualification to the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Depending on how much difficulty Carey is planning on competing in Cottbus, the American could have a very sizeable difficulty advantage over the other top gymnasts in the field, competing an Amanar and a Kaz full in her silver medal win at last year’s World Championships.

Finishing fourth at this year’s Worlds was 43 year-old legend Chusovitina, performing a powerful Rudi vault and a Tsuk one-and-a-half last month in Doha. However, the woman who bested Chusovitina in the Doha vault final for the bronze, Moreno, will be back in Cottbus competing a Rudi and a Tsuk double, giving her the edge on Chusovitina.

Uneven Bars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The uneven bars could be the most exciting event in Cottbus this year, with top bar workers like Nina Derwael, Elizabeth Seitz, Georgia Mae-Fenton, Fan Yilin, and Daria Spiridonova entered on this apparatus.

Derwael, the reigning World champion on this event, soared in Doha with her incredibly consistent, yet uber difficult routine, winning the gold, while last year’s World champion Fan Yilin of China will make her return to the international scene as well. Add in German Seitz, who won the bronze in Doha, and the bars field in Cottbus should make for a thrilling final.

Derwael packs the most difficult bars routine in the World at the moment, owning a 6.5 difficulty score with a Nabieva release, her eponymous skill the Derwael-Fenton, and Ezhova and Bhardwaj transitions all performed incredibly consistently by the Belgian.

Yilin, the 2015 and 2017 World champion on the bars, has a beautiful bars set as well with a 6.5 difficulty score in 2017, with beautiful inbar work along with a Komova II, pak salto, Gienger, and a double tuck dismount.

Seitz came in just behind Derwael and Biles in Doha last month, owning a 6.2 difficulty-score with big skills such as a Ricna, piked Jaeger, and a Downie all in her routine. Seitz also has become one of the most consistent athletes on bars in the world, regularly making uneven bars finals, making her a medal threat here in Cottbus as well.

Balance Beam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If bars will be the most exciting event final at Cottbus, beam may just be a close second with lovely beam workers like Flavia Saraiva, Nina Derwael, Denisa Golgota, and Marine Boyer all competing this event.

As the only finalist on beam from this year’s World Championships entered in Cottbus, Derwael will be a favorite to win gold this weekend in Germany after finishing fourth on this event in Doha. Derwael is extremely consistent here just as she is on the bars, only owning a 5.4 difficulty score despite a very difficult layout-stepout mount, a side somi, and a triple wolf turn in her routine.

Saraiva, Golgota, and Boyer could all be medal threats as well, with Saraiva owning beautiful acro elements on the beam on top of lovely artistry there, while France’s Boyer has grown into a strong beam worker of her own in the last year, medalling at the Paris World Cup just before Worlds.

Floor Exercise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Floor exercise will see some powerful contenders for the event final in Cottbus, with Carey, Saraiva, Golgota, and Lara Mori all competing on floor.

Carey won her second World medal on this event in Montreal last year, performing powerful tumbling throughout her difficult routine, and this year the American has now debuted a Moors, double-twisting double-layout, increasing her difficulty score even higher for Cottbus.

While not owning the powerful tumbling of the likes of Carey, Brazil’s Saraiva showed a 5.5 difficulty score in Doha with a whip to full-in on top of a double layout. However, Saraiva’s biggest asset on floor is her incredibly charismatic dance and personality, always a crowd favorite.

For Romania’s Golgota and Italy’s Mori, both will rely on their powerful tumbling and strong execution to possibly medal in Cottbus as well, something both can do given their past pedigrees on the event.

The 2018 Cottbus World Cup runs from November 22nd-25th in Cottbus, Germany, with qualifications and then event finals for the competition.

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