12. December 2008  
Madrid, Spain  
Artistic Gymnastics

Preview: Artictic Gymnastics World Cup Final 2009

As the basis for invitations to the World Cup Final on 13-14 December in Madrid, the international gymnastics federation, the F.I.G., published its world cup individual apparatus rankings at the end of November following the last World Cup of the series. As a result, the best eight gymnasts on each apparatus were now qualified, and in the event that a gymnast did not take up the invitation, their place would be taken by the next gymnast in the rankings  ...

Aljaz Pegan, the Slovenian 'old master' did not perform in Beijing

For a wide variety of reasons, as many as 20 (!!) of the 6x8 = 48 gymnasts who have qualified have waived their right to participate! Those whose absence will have the strongest effect on the sporting level of the competition are some of the Chinese stars of the Olympic Games, such as  Zhou, Kai (3rd on floor; 5th on high bar), Xiao, Qin (2nd on vault), Li, Xiaopeng (3rd on P-bars) and Huang, Xu (5th on P-bars).

Vault specialist Fahrig (GER)

The womens' competitions ...
... or rather the participants in this so-called "World Cup Final" cast serious doubt on the sense of the current system:
Cheng, Fei (CHN) is the only one among the top four in the rankings to have come (1st on floor).
Oksana Chusovitina (GER; 1st on vault), Beth Tweddle (GBR; 1st on bars) and Catalina Ponor( ROU; beam) are all absent.
The US gymnasts are leaving out this final altogether - as so often in this series of competitions. As a result, such top-class performers as Nastasia Liukin (3rd on bars; 2nd on beam), Alicia Sacramone (4th on vault) and Shawn Johnson (5th on beam; 5th on floor) are all missing. 

Ariella Kaeslin: ... Chances of a place on the rostrum?