This week in gymnastics: U.S. championships, Max Whitlock’s return, rhythmic worlds, trampoline worlds draw

By Patricia Duffy | August 22, 2023
Max Whitlock at the 2019 World Gymnastics Championships.
© Amy Sanderson

This week in gymnastics covers the latest happenings in the Olympic gymnastics disciplines, including artistic, rhythmic, and trampoline.


Xfinity U.S. Gymnastics Championships descend on San Jose

The finale of the U.S. elite season will take place at the Xfinity U.S. Gymnastics Championships from Thursday to Sunday.

In addition to national champions being crowned, national teams and the men’s world team will be announced.

Simone Biles headlines the women’s competition while an exciting three-way battle for the men’s title is expected between Fred Richard, Asher Hong, and Yul Moldauer.

The full list of qualifiers, start lists, schedule, and how to watch can be found in our Xfinity U.S. Gymnastics Championships 411 story.

Here are 10 storylines to follow at championships. We’ll also be updating our podium training notes story with the latest from practice.

World teams taking shape across the globe

With a month to go until artistic worlds, countries from around the world are finalizing their world teams. Here are some key announcements as of late:

  • Reigning world balance beam champion Watanabe Hazuki (JPN) will miss worlds after suffering an ACL injury in her left leg, according to Yahoo Japan. Watanabe won the all-around at the 2023 All-Japan Championships in June. She will be replaced on the team by Hatakeda Chiaki, and Sakaguchi Ayaka will now serve as the traveling alternate. The other four members of the women’s team are: Ashikawa Urara, Miyata Shoko, Kishi Rina, and Fukazawa Kokoro.
  • China seems to be prioritizing the Asian Games over world championships this year, opting to send its top men’s athletes, including 2021 world all-around champion Zhang Boheng, three-time Olympic medalist and 2017 world all-around champion Ruoteng Xiao, and reigning Olympic and world parallel bars champion Zou Jingyuan to that meet instead of worlds. The trio will be joined by Lin Chaopan and Lan Xingyu at the Games. Representing China in Belgium are Sun Wei, Shi Cong, You Hao, Liu Yang, Su Weide, and Yang Jiaxing.
  • Great Britain’s men’s team was announced on Tuesday, with reigning Olympic pommel horse champion Max Whitlock headlining the team in his first meet back since the Tokyo Games. Joining him are James Hall, Harry Hepworth, Jake Jarman, and Courtney Tulloch.
    • “I’m really excited to be selected for my 7th World Championships,” Whitlock said. “This one however feels special – my first major competition since the Tokyo Olympics. I’ve worked harder, become fitter and approached this build-up like never before. I’m excited to be back with the team with some big targets ahead.”

Hashimoto Daiki wins fourth-straight All-Japan Intercollegiate Championships title

Reigning Olympic and world all-around champion Hashimoto Daiki is already back to his winning ways despite only returning to full practice just a week ago following a concussion sustained at the World University Games earlier this month.

Hashimoto won his fourth-straight All-Japan Intercollegiate Championships all-around title, something even Uchimura Kohei didn’t achieve. Fittingly, Hashimoto was awarded a championship belt for his unprecedented achievement, instead of a trophy or medal.

(H/T Courtyard Tapir)


Spain welcomes rhythmic worlds

The 2023 World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships take place this week, from August 23-27, in Valencia, Spain.

In addition to world titles, 14 individual and five group berths to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games are up for grabs.

The fourteen highest-ranked athletes from the individual all-around (qualifications), with a maximum of two athletes per country, will obtain an Olympic berth for their country.

Italy, Germany, and Bulgaria have already qualified one individual berth apiece after 2022 worlds, so they are only eligible for one more individual berth each at 2023 worlds. Other countries can obtain up to two berths.

The five highest-ranked groups from the all-around competition (qualifications) will qualify one group for their country.

Bulgaria, Israel, and Spain already qualified groups via the 2022 world championships.

Individually, Italy’s Sofia Raffaeli will look to build on her dominant world resume after winning six medals at last year’s championships, five of which were gold, including the all-around title. Her toughest competition is expected to be reigning European all-around champion Boryana Kaleyn (BUL). Other contenders for individual titles include 2022 European all-around champion Daria Atamanov (ISR), who had to withdraw right before the start of worlds last year due to injury, and Darja Varfolomeev (GER).

The group competition will provide an interesting perspective on the shifting landscape of rhythmic gymnastics around the world. While Israel and Bulgaria are expected to contend for the world title, China, Italy, Brazil, and Mexico have ascended the podium in recent world cups.

According to the FIG, no nation from the Americas (and only three outside of Europe) has ever won a medal in group competition at the world championships.

The U.S. will be represented by Evita Griskenas, Lili Mizuno, and the senior national group, consisting of Izzy Connor, Gergana Petkova, Katrine Sakhnov, Karolina Saverino, and Hana Starkman.


The draw is out for trampoline worlds!

With just under three months to go until the 2023 Trampoline Gymnastics World Championships in Birmingham, England, the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) released the competition draw for the event, which is set for November 9-12.

See the draw here.

The 2023 world championships will award the first Olympic berths to the Paris 2024 Games. The eight highest-ranked male and eight highest-ranked female athletes, based on the final results, will each qualify one quota place for their country, with a maximum of one athlete per country.

USA Gymnastics announces team for trampoline worlds

Twenty-seven athletes will represent the U.S. at the 2023 world championships in November, headlined by Olympians Nicole Ahsinger and Aliaksei Shostak and reigning U.S. and world double mini champion Ruben Padilla.

See the full team below (via USA Gymnastics).

Nicole Ahsinger — Lafayette, La./Trampoline and Tumbling Express
Ava Hernando — Holmdel, N.J./Elite Trampoline Academy
Leah Garafalo — Cream Ridge, N.J./Elite Trampoline Academy*
Cody Gesuelli — Huntsville, Ala./Merino Trampoline Gymnastics Academy*
Ryan Maccagnan — Colorado Springs, Colo./Stars Gymnastics
Logan McCoy — Middletown, N.J./Elite Trampoline Academy^
Ruben Padilla — Bluffdale, Utah/Wasatch Trampoline & Tumbling
Isaac Rowley — Allen, Texas/Eagle Gymnastics Academy
Aliaksei Shostak — Lafayette, La./Trampoline and Tumbling Express
Jessica Stevens — Ellicott City, Md./Fairland Gymnastics
Sarah Webster — Lafayette, La./Trampoline and Tumbling Express
Jace Williams — Cave Creek, Ariz./North Valley Gymnastics^

Dylan Bealey — Tempe, Ariz./Aspire Kids Sports Center^
Hope Bravo — Frisco, Texas/Eagle Gymnastics Academy
Kaden Brown — Herriman, Utah/Wasatch Trampoline & Tumbling
Miah Bruns — Jiangxi, China/World Champions Centre
ZaQuae Carter — Harlem, N.Y./Cavu Trampoline and Tumbling*
Kaleb Cave — Columbia, Md./Dynamite Gymnastics
Dominic Dumas — Athens, Ala./Air Extreme
Nastia Katchalova — Lakeland, Fla./Elite World Gymnastics
BJ Mensah — New York, N.Y./Cavu Trampoline and Tumbling
Jill Papenhause — Tremont, Ill./Jump Start Plus^
Tia Taylor — Knoxville, Tenn./Premier Athletics Knoxville
Rosalie Thongphay — San Tan Valley, Ariz./USA Youth Fitness Center*

Double Mini Trampoline
Samuel Blando — Spring Valley, Calif./So Cal TTC^
Gracie Harder — Archdale, N.C./Carolina Elite Trampoline Academy
Jackie Kent — Downers grove, Ill./Element Tumbling and Trampoline
Dylan Kline — Syracuse, Utah/Flipside Tumbling
Ryan Maccagnan — Colorado Springs, Colo./Stars Gymnastics*
Clara McNew — Auburn, Ill./Kris Power Tumbling^
Tomas Minc — Chevy Chase, Md./Dynamite Gymnastics
Shelby Nobuhara — Mapleton, Utah/High Altitude
Ruben Padilla — Bluffdale, Utah/Wasatch Trampoline & Tumbling
Aliah Raga — Denton, Md./Dynamite Gymnastics
Simon Smith — Springville, Utah/Utah Valley Trampoline & Tumbling
Rosalie Thongphay — San Tan Valley, Ariz./USA Youth Fitness Center*

*Denotes traveling replacement athlete
^Denotes non-traveling replacement athlete