AMONG THOSE CITED AS POTENTIAL HEIRS (OR USURPERS) TO OLYMPIC AND WORLD CHAMPION KOHEI UCHIMURA’S CROWN, NO NAME FIGURES MORE PROMINENTLY THAN THAT OF OLEG VERNIAIEV.
After coming closer to Uchimura than any gymnast ever has in the qualifying round at a World Championships Monday, Ukraine’s Verniaiev enters Friday’s Men’s All-around final as a strong medal contender, if perhaps not the favorite for gold.
That still belongs to Uchimura. Even with a mistake on Floor exercise, the Japanese superstar posted an All-around total of 90.564 points, reconfirming himself as the top gymnast in the world. Verniaiev, the reigning World champion on Parallel Bars, didn’t fall anywhere, but could have been more precise on High Bar and especially on Floor. He still scored with 90.131, only 0.433 behind Uchimura.