Worlds Preview: Women's Qualification, Session 5

Featured Worlds Preview: Women's Qualification, Session 5

Qualification concludes Wednesday evening at the 2017 World Championships in Montreal with the fifth and final subdivision of women's qualification. The Olympic champion U.S. team, favored to dominate the competition again, takes the floor along with China and 2020 Olympic hosts Japan.

Vault: Cuba, Finland and the United States

None of the members of the U.S. women's gold medal-winning teams from the 2016 Olympics and 2015 World Championships are in Montreal. New U.S> national champion Ragan Smith is favored to take the all-around title, won by Simone Biles at the past three world championships. Smith, an alternate to last year's U.S. Olympic team, is coached by the first American world all-around champion, Kim Zmeskal. Smith will be joined in the all-around by first-year senior Morgan Hurd, who shows beautiful gymnastics but has been inconsistent this year. Jade Carey, who joined the elite level this year, is on the team thanks to her vaulting ability, and will also compete on floor exercise. Competing in her first international event, she could win vault if she lands her Amanar and Kas-full cleanly. Ashton Locklear, a member of the 2014 world championships squad that took the team title in Nanning, is the only gymnast with world championships experience, which she should use to propel her to the uneven bars final.

Cuban Olympian Marcia Vidiaux has a shot at the vault final if she can land cleanly.

Uneven Bars: Ukraine, Brazil and Slovenia

First-year senior Diana Varinska is the most exciting new name in this group. Varinska is fantastic on uneven bars, and she won the bronze medal on floor exercise at the recent Paris World Cup, where her tremendous artistry is sadly rare these days. Olympian Angelina Kisla is now listed as Angelina Radivilova, thanks to her post-Olympic wedding to Olympic medalist Igor Radivilov.

Brazil sent only two gymnasts in Rebeca Andrade and Thais Santos. Andrade, 11th all-around in Rio, again submitted a 1 1/2-twisting double back on floor exercise, which she hopes to have named after her by landing it in competition.

Balance Beam: Japan, Korea and Uzbekistan

The Japanese women impressed in podium training with their power on floor exercise, and they have chances for finals on several events. They lost a team medal in Rio thanks to weak beam, and improving this event should be a main focus over the next few years. Aiko Sugihara submitted two new turns on beam - a double turn with leg held at 180-degree split and a 2 1/2 turn in the same position (which were both given an E rating).

Competing in her 11th world championships, seven-time Olympian Oksana Chusovitina is gunning for the vault final. At 42, she continues to rack up World Cup medals on vault, and she should be a huge crowd favorite in Montreal cheering her toward the final.

Floor Exercise: China and Colombia

Olympians Wang Yan and Fan Yilin are back in Montreal, where Wang plans to do the all-around. Fan is the only defending world champion on uneven bars from 2015, when she tied three other gymnasts for the gold medal. First-year senior Liu Tingting is truly spectacular on balance beam, and Luo Huan is a contender for a medal on uneven bars.

Up next: A new champion will be crowned Thursday in the men's all-around final!

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