The 2010 World Gymnastics Championships is scheduled for October 16-24 at Ahoy Arena in Rotterdam, Holland. As this is one of the last major competitions before the London Olympics, top gymnastics countries are sending their best gymnasts to the event. The United States will also field a strong team at the 2010 Worlds, headlined by defending all-round women champion Bridget Sloan and men’s Olympic medalist Jonathan Horton. In this article, I will offer predictions and schedule information for the 2010 World Artistic Gymnastic Championships.
Gymnastics is known for intense team rivalries. The 2010 Gymnastics Worlds will feature some of these high-profile rivalries. On the women’s side, the U.S. and China will be competing for gymnastics supremacy. This is not a surprise as either team has ranked first or second in every major competition since 2005. At the Beijing Olympics, the Chinese team defeated the Americans for the title by a margin of slightly more than 1 point. The victory, however, was shrouded in controversy as some Chinese gymnasts were alleged to have been under the legal age limit. The U.S. women’s team will have a chance to avenge the contentious loss at the 2010 World Gymnastics Championships.
On the men’s side, the rivalry is between China and Japan. In point of fact, men’s gymnastics at the last two Olympics have been dominated by the two Asian powers. The 2010 Worlds won’t be any different, as both countries are sending their most talented gymnasts to the event. The Chinese team is comprised exclusively of current and former individual gold medalists. Japan will be led by reigning all-around world champion Kohei Uchimura, who has not lost a competition since 2008. As all-round skills are highly valued in the team event and Japan has many of the top all-round gymnasts, the Land of the Rising Sun is a slight favorite to win the world title over the Olympic champion.
Aside from the team events, the spotlight will be on the individual competitions. World champion Bridget Sloan is a favorite to repeat as women’s all-round champion. Her biggest rival at worlds will be fellow American gymnast Rebecca Bross. At the 2009 World Gymnastics Championships, Bross was leading Sloan for most of the all-round competition until an uncharacteristic mistake at the last minute dropped her to second place. Bross is hoping to erase that painful memory with a victory here in Rotterdam. Other contenders for the all-round title include U.S. national champion Mattie Larson, China’s Huang Qiushuang, and reigning European champion Viktoria Komova.
Compared to the women’s event, the men’s all-round competition is a little bit more predictable. The clear favorite for the world title is Japan’s Kohei Uchimura. The defending champion has won every event he entered since the 2009 worlds, often by significant margins. Unless there is a serious injury, the odd of Uchimura failing to repeat as world champion is very slim. Germany’s Fabian Hambuchen is expected to be Kohei’s most significant rival at worlds. Although Hambuchen has never beaten Uchimura in any major competition, he has been the most competitive against the Japanese star. If he could deliver a career performance and Uchimura (by any chance) failed to perform his best, Hambuchen has a decent shot at winning his first major title. Other contenders include Jonathan Horton from the U.S. and the British up-and-coming star Louis Smith.
My predictions for 2010 Gymnastics Worlds: United States defeats China for the women’s team title; the Japanese win the men’s event. The competition is set for October 16-24, with team finals slated for October 20-21. Finals of individual events are scheduled for October 22-24. This year’s worlds will be broadcast by NBC (event finals) and replayed on Universal Sports.