Uchimura qualifies to the Olympics by the skin of his teeth; Shirai does not

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Uchimura is 32 and is going to the Olympics as a high bar specialist, though he is technically eligible to do all 6 events…

He tied with vaulter Hidenobu Yonekura in terms of qualification rules, but the tie was broken based on past world results. Frankly, i won’t miss Yonekura’s sloppy vault one bit. Glad King Kohei made it.

For the team, it’s 2 veterans and 2 upstarts. Tanigawa and Kaya are 24. Kaya has medaled a couple times at World and Tanigawa has been on a couple Japanese world teams. The other two guys are 18 and 19 years old. Daiki Hashimoto actually did well at Worlds last year, including a 4th on PH I think. Takeru Kitazono is the World Youth Olympic champion a couple years ago. They are a great team, but I am quite skeptical Japan could challenge for gold or silver against veteran Russian and Chinese stars, barring reeeeally bad days.

Is Kihei likely to qualify for the high bar final or compete for a medal?

I haven’t followed MAG well enough this quad to know what the standard is.
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Yes, very likely! High bar final can get really crazy, and Uchimura is a favorite for gold.

The other gold favorites:
  • Zonderland/Miyachi (depending which one wins the World Cup series — I’m not sure it’s decided yet)
  • Tin Srbic (my best guess is he will win)
  • Arthur Mariano
  • Tang Chia-hung
Other contenders: Sam Mikulak, Brody Malone, Alexy Rostov, Artur Dalaloyan (if he can land a dismount), Umit Samiloglu, and maybe even Milad Karimi could contend.

I think others could make finals, but most won’t contend for gold, such as the Chinese team, the other Japanese guys, Tyson Bull, etc. But Olympics always bring surprises, so you never know!

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