The 2018 World Challenge Cup series concluded this past weekend in Paris, where defending World silver all-around medalist Ellie Black of Canada picked up a medal on each apparatus, living legend Oksana Chusovitina of Uzbekistan continued to impress with her longevity, and France’s top athletes showed strong performances after a second-place team finish at the European Championships in August.

Photo: French Gymnastics Federation

At a stunning 43 years-old, Chusovitina is still among the top vaulters in the world. At this weekend’s competition, she performed a handspring front full and a Tsuk one-and-a-half for an average of 14.250, winning the gold medal over Black. Black was not far behind however, averaging a 14.200 for the silver medal and performing the same vaults as Chusovitina. Tjasa Kysselef of Slovenia won the bronze with an average of 13.600, performing two slightly lower difficulty vaults but with execution scores in the high 8.0’s.

Juliette Bossu of France won the gold medal on uneven bars, performing a clean but difficult routine for a 14.200. Jonna Adlerteg of Sweden finished 0.350 points behind Bossu with a 13.850, continuing a strong season after winning silver at the European Championships. Black finished third with a 13.600, continuing her medal-winning streak this weekend under the lights of the AccorHotels Arena in Bercy, Paris. Unfortunately, Ukraine’s Diana Varinska, an uneven bars finalist at worlds last year, fell on her Hindorff release, finishing sixth with a 13.150.

Black won her third medal of the competition on the balance beam, finishing first with a respectable 13.900 and showing that she will be a valuable member of this year’s Canadian worlds team. Marine Boyer of France impressed the home crowd, finishing second with a 13.350 while Helena Bonilla of Spain finished third with a 13.050, gaining valuable international experience before she heads to Doha as part of Spain’s World Championships team. Varinska finished fourth with a 12.850, showing that Ukraine’s women’s program is once again on the rise.

On the floor exercise, France again emerged victorious, where home hope Melanie De Jesus Dos Santos won the event with a 13.750. Her routine included a big full-twisting double layout and a front layout to double tuck pass. Black finished second with a 13.050, showing some lower difficulty tumbling passes that will most likely be upgraded for Worlds in a month’s time. Aneta Holasova of the Czech Republic earned a bronze medal on floor with a 12.850, opening with a double Arabian and performing clean tumbling passes and dance throughout to earn a podium spot.

This World Cup in Paris concluded the 2018 World Cup series, with the top gymnasts in the world now fully focused on this month’s World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Doha, Qatar. The apparatus World Cup series starts back up again following worlds in late November with the Cottbus World Cup in Cottbus, Germany.

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