By USA Gymnastics | Sept. 11, 2015, 5:27 p.m. (ET)
Laura Zeng competes in the clubs final at the 2015 World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships on Sept. 10, 2015 in Stuttgart, Germany.


STUTTGART, Germany, Sept. 11, 2015 – Five-time Pan Am Games gold medalist and World clubs finalist Laura Zeng of Libertyville, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, finished in eighth place in the all-around final at the 2015 World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships today in Stuttgart, Germany. By virtue of her top 15 finish, Zeng has qualified the Unites States to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Her eighth place finish is the best finish for a U.S. gymnast at the World Championships in the all-around.

The U.S. rhythmic group gets its World Championships underway tomorrow, starting at 7 a.m. ET. USA Gymnastics will carry live coverage on its YouTube channel.

Russia’s Yana Kudryavtseva won her third-straight World all-around title and her fifth gold of these championships, posting 75.632. Her teammate Margarita Mamun was second (74.766), and Belarus’ Melitina Stanioiuta took bronze, scoring 72.132.

Zeng was the final competitor in each rotation. She began with the ribbon, performing to Zambra by Ojos De Brujo. She showed clean control on a triple balance combination and a back attitude turn into a cartwheel. She scored a 17.550. With the hoop, she performed to a classical piece in a white sequined leotard. She caught her first toss mid-leap and closed with an intricate catch between her legs while performing a back walkover to score 17.633.

In the third rotation, Zeng performed with ball and scored 17.600. She showed an intricate mastery where she passed the ball from one foot to the other while performing a front walkover. As the music picked up speed, Zeng performed her trademark fouette turns to the delight of the more than 4,800 fans on hand at the Porsche Arena. Zeng closed her competition with the clubs, the apparatus on which she finished seventh in last night’s event final. She scored a 17.633, giving her a 70.416 total in the all-around and eighth place.

Over nine routines and five days of competition, Zeng never scored lower than 17.233.

The competition schedule for group is:  Sept. 12, all-around finals and event qualifications, 1 p.m. (USA); and Sept. 13, 5 ribbons and 3 clubs/2 hoops finals, 1 p.m. All times are local Stuttgart time, which is six hours ahead of the Eastern time zone.

For group, competition is in both the all-around and events [5 ribbons and 3 pairs of clubs (six total)/2 hoops]. The all-around competition on Sept. 12 serves as the qualification round for the event finals.  The event finals are on Sept. 13.

The top eight Groups will earn their countries’ berths for the competition in Rio. An additional two Groups may also earn their places based on the continental representation requirement, for a total of 10 Groups qualifying to the Games. The second opportunity to qualify for the 2016 Games is the Olympic Test-Event in April 2016. Individual rhythmic gymnasts will also qualify for the individual event competition at the 2017 World Games based on performances in Stuttgart.