Elite gymnastics competition noticeably and understandably dies down after the World Championships, but there are a few pretty major meets that happen before the year comes to an end, including the Cottbus Apparatus World Cup. Cottbus will be the final World Cup of 2019 and is a chance for gymnasts to earn some valuable Olympic qualification points. From Olympians to World Championships medalists and more, there are several key gymnasts to watch for on each apparatus.
Anastasia Agafonova (RUS) - Balance beam
Agafonova is a solid beam worker who can hit and continue her routine without fail even if she misses a connection or has a balance check, which is important when it comes to this apparatus. She has a nice aerial to layout step-out acro series, in addition to a switch split leap to split jump to back handspring combo. At worlds qualifications, Agafonova scored a 13.033, but she's capable of more than that. She won the event at the Paris World Challenge Cup earlier this year with a 13.400.
Artur Davtyan (ARM) - Men's vault
The reigning European Games vault champion has a good Dragulescu for his first vault. It scored a strong 14.533 at World Championships this year. But his second vault, a Tsukahara double, isn't as consistent. At the 2019 World Championships, Davtyan failed to fully rotate his second vault, falling forward onto the mat, essentially taking him out of contention for vault finals. But at the Doha World Cup earlier this year, he competed a great Tsukahara vault, so it can be just as strong as his first. If he's able to hit both vaults, the Armenian star should have no problem making vault finals.
Claudia Fragapane (GBR) - Women's floor
Fragapane is no stranger to shining on floor, as she's the reigning British silver medalist on floor and qualified to the floor finals at this year's European Championships. She excels on the event thanks to her strong tumbling, which includes a full twisting double layout, a double layout to wolf jump, a double Arabian, and a double pike. In addition, her landings are quite solid, and she's able to move seamlessly into her choreography from her tumbling and vice versa.
Alexander Myankinin (ISR) - High bar
The former Russian gymnast has done well this year on the World Challenge Cup circuit, making high bar finals at the Koper and Paris World Challenge Cups. Myankinin is capable of scoring in the mid-14.000 range on the apparatus, and he earned the bronze medal on the apparatus in Koper. His routine is packed with clean release moves and ends with a full-twisting double layout dismount.
Stephen Nedoroscik (USA) - Pommel horse
The Penn State Nittany Lion is the 2019 U.S. and NCAA silver medalist on pommel horse. In addition, he's a two-time NCAA champion on the event, so it's safe to say pommel horse is his specialty. It's no secret that pommel horse is a tricky event, but Nedoroscik does a good job at maintaining a steady rhythm and keeping his body shape during his routine. His routine isn't flashy and full of flairs but is clean and scores well. He can easily score in the mid-14.000 range and has even scored in the 15.000 range.
Yamilet Pena Abreu (CUB) - Vault
Known for previously competing the infamous Produnova vault, this Cuban gymnast is full of power. She failed to qualify to vault finals at this year's World Championships, but it wasn't the Produnova that stopped her. Pena actually hit and landed the Produnova without any problems and with fairly good form, but she crashed on her Yurchenko double. If she can manage to hit both vaults, Pena will be hard to count out of the vault podium.
Eleftherios Petrounias (GRE) - Still rings
Greek gymnast Petrounias isn't called the "Lord of the Rings" for nothing. After all, he is the reigning Olympic champion on the event in addition to being a three-time world champion on rings. The new father just missed out on a worlds medal this year after his 14.733 put him in fourth place. Petrounias hasn't competed in any World Cups this year, but it's clear that he is a medal contender whenever he competes. His accolades speak for themselves.
Sophie Scheder (GER) - Uneven bars
The 2016 Olympic uneven bars bronze medalist was set to compete at worlds this year in Stuttgart but had to pull out due to an injury. So Cottbus will give her one last opportunity to compete before the Olympic year. Scheder is set to compete only on uneven bars, but that's where she shines. Her form, lines, and toepoint on the event are stellar, and she has a great swing that's evident throughout her routine, whether it be giants, transitions, or release moves. In addition, she has a few toe-on pirouette skills on the low bar. Her handstands could be sharper, but overall, Scheder is a wonderful bar worker, and the Olympic medalist shouldn't be counted out, even if she hasn't competed in a while.
Hayden Skinner (GBR) - Men's floor
This young Brit is proving to be a rising floor worker. He scored well earlier this year at the 2019 Paris World Cup, finishing in fourth place on floor with a 14.750 after qualifying to the apparatus final with a strong 14.500. Skinner is a twister and includes a lot of twisting in his floor routine but also has a nice double-double. His form is solid, and he does a pretty good job at controlling his landings.
You Hao (CHN) - Parallel bars
You has competed in two World Cups this year and has medaled and scored big at both. At the Melbourne World Cup, he won the p-bars title with a 15.066, a nice improvement from his 14.300 qualification score. At the Baku World Cup, he earned the exact same scores for the final and qualifications but won bronze. You is also a world champion on parallel bars, having won the title in 2015. His routine has some good difficulty in it with a few release moves and a double tuck 1/2 out dismount. But what really stands out is how clean and precise he is on the apparatus, nailing every handstand and keeping his feet pointed throughout.