Though this year’s FIG All-Around World Cup series does not count toward Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games qualification, these competitions still provide valuable international competition experience ahead of this year’s World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Stuttgart. The Tokyo World Cup this year will feature a rematch between 2017 World all-around medalists Ellie Black of Canada and the US‘ Morgan Hurd. The host country of Japan will send two strong competitors in Aiko Sugihara and Asuka Teramoto, both of whom were members of Japan’s 2016 Olympic team.

This competition will be Hurd’s 2019 competitive debut, where she will battle for gold with Canada’s Black. Earlier this year, Black placed third at the American Cup with a 55.732, the same score that earned Hurd third place in the all-around at the World Championships in Doha in 2018. Both gymnasts are strong all-arounders with powerful tumbling on floor, confident and aggressive work on beam, and solid, well-executed Yurchenko double full vaults. Hurd may have a slight edge over Black with her high start value on bars, but will need to perform at her best with strong execution to earn the gold medal in Tokyo. Hurd will be competing in her first competition of the season after undergoing two procedures on her elbow following Worlds at the end of last year.

Morgan Hurd competes on the uneven bars during podium training at the Tokyo World Cup in Tokyo, Japan/Gymnastics Japan- Rimako Takeuchi

First-year senior Ksenia Klimenko will be competing for Russia and will be hoping to finish on the podium. Her strongest event is the uneven bars, where she has great extension and a high start value. Klimenko has struggled with consistency on beam, but is always beautiful to watch and has a great front handspring-front tuck series.

For Japan, Teramoto has been one of their top all-arounders since she became a senior in 2010 and has plenty of international competition experience. Her consistency and experience will make her a top medal contender in Tokyo just behind Hurd and Black.

Other new names include Lee Yun-Seo of South Korea, who could be a major contributor to South Korea’s program in the next few years. Though she struggled a bit at the American Cup earlier this year, she earned a bronze medal in the all-around at the Asian Junior Championships last year and shows great potential on all four events. Liu Jingxing of China, another young competitor, will be competing in just her second international competition in Tokyo. She had a strong showing in Jesolo earlier this year, scoring a 53.434 in the all-around. Over the past few years, Jingxing has posted consistent scores on all four events, showing true all-around potential.

Carina Kroll of Germany will also be competing, along with Carolyne Pedro of Brazil and Aiko Sugihara of Japan. For Kroll and Pedro, this will be a great competition for them to gain more experience at major competitions. Sugihara will also be hoping to show that she can be one of Japan’s top all-arounders and continue to contribute to the Japanese team.

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