2017 World all-around champion and 2018 World all-around bronze medalist Morgan Hurd of the US made her 2019 debut at the Tokyo World Cup this weekend in a venue just 20 miles from where she and the rest of Team USA hope to compete in 15 months’ time at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games next summer. Due to an elbow surgery repairing bone chips in December, Hurd has stayed out of competition for the beginning of the season, which has made the anticipation of this competition all the more exciting as she comes back.

Ellie Black of Canada was a front runner of the competition as well after an entertaining performance at the Superstars of Gymnastics event two weeks ago in London, as well as podium finishes at Elite Canada and American Cup in the last month.  Asuka Teramoto of Japan was a crowd favorite at the event in front of her home crowd and fought to stay with the top competitors the whole time.

Hurd started off the competition on vault with a clean Yurchenko double full despite nearly missing her right hand on the table as she came off the board a bit crooked. Being as mentally tough as she is, Hurd fought through the landing and just took a small step out of bounds. Teramoto followed with a clean and powerful front handspring Rudi with a near stuck landing. Ellie Black came in with one of the best front handspring full twists of her life, and her feet did not move an inch on the landing and kept her leg form in control.

Morgan Hurd competes on the uneven bars at the Tokyo World Cup in Tokyo, Japan/Aflo Sports

The women moved to the uneven bars where Teramoto hit a powerful and difficult bars set despite a few short handstands, and form breaks. Black successfully fought to prove that she is indeed a bar worker, with a smooth set culminating in stuck unique front barani dismount. Hurd proved her mental toughness and innate ability to compete well because on her pad salto in warmups, Hurd was just too far from the low bar to support herself which caused her to flip under the bar and onto the ground. This was out of her mind when she saluted the judges and Hurd hit a stunning routine which was highlighted by an inbar stalder to a full-twisting double back with a stuck landing which put her in the lead.

Teramoto began the beam rotation with a crisp and powerful routine. However, her execution score suffered a bit due to the pauses she took before a few leaps and acro skills. Black followed with an aggressive routine of her own which featured a massive backhandspring stepout to back layout. Hurd allowed her nerves to show a bit on the beam with a check on her standing back full and on a ring leap. However, she redeemed herself by hitting the newest addition to her routine: a gorgeous layout stepout, layout-stepout combination as well as nailing her double pike dismount.

Heading into the floor exercise, Teramoto was in third place, Hurd in second, and Black leading the way. All three of these leaders excel on the floor exercise, and the gold medal was entirely still up for grabs. Teramoto opened her routine with a gorgeous two-and-a-half L turn directly into her first pass which consisted of a round off whip back, whip back, back handspring, triple twist. She continued to balance artistry and power throughout the routine to put pressure on Hurd and Black who followed.

Morgan Hurd performs on the floor exercise at the Tokyo World Cup in Tokyo, Japan/Aflo Sports

Hurd debuted a new routine beginning with a double-double, which came in a bit short, but she followed that with a double layout that was stuck cold. Hurd’s routine was beautifully composed and immediately pushed her into first place. Black finished off the competition with a beautiful routine highlighted by her one-and-a-half twist into a double tuck. However, an uncontrolled step out of bounds on her second pass may have lost the competition for her.

Hurd won the Tokyo World Cup title by .067 points with a score of 55.099 followed by Black in second and then Teramoto in third. All three of these competitors will hope to improve upon these scores as the year progresses. However, all three of these gymnasts will be pleased for hitting all four of their respective routines.

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