By Tom Harle
The world's best gymnasts traded blows in the build-up to the World Gymnastics Championships at the FIG World Challenge Cup in Paris.
Rebeca Andrade, Jade Carey and Jordan Chiles were among the star names to continue their Liverpool preparations at the 2024 Olympic venue.
Here's how they got on and what we learned with the global gathering looming large - tickets still available here.
USA women clean up
USA’s women won three of four available gold medals in Paris, a tidy tune-up for the main event in a few weeks’ time.
The USAG Twitter account said: “keeping this energy going into Liverpool” and that will be the aim for a squad aiming to earn its spurs on the biggest stage.
The highlight came from Jordan Chiles and her upgraded floor routine, with a full-twisting double layout earning her a world-leading score.
She totted up 14.050, unseating Jessica Gadirova’s 14.000 for the European title, to lay down an almighty marker. Her new vault looked superb too.
Rhys back on the horse
You can’t keep a good gymnast down - and Ireland's Rhys McClenaghan is a very good gymnast.
The 23-year-old's failure to qualify for the pommel horse final at August’s European Championships in Munich shocked fans worldwide.
McClenaghan got back on the horse in every sense of the phrase with a stunning victory in Paris and a sublime routine scored at 15.100.
Kazakhstan's Nariman Kurbanov has dominated the World Cup series and there will be strong challengers from Japan and South Korea too.
But in the absence of Olympic champion Max Whitlock, the eyes of Liverpool crowds will be drawn to the popular gymnast and his attempt to win a second World Championship medal.
Irish eyes were smiling in the French capital as Eamon Montgomery won floor gold, making it the first time two Irish gymnasts have won gold at the same World Cup.
All of the talk this year has been around the brilliance of Brazil’s women, Rebeca Andrade and their potential to sweep the board at the World Championships.
Few would have called that the men would outperform their compatriots in Paris.
Caio Souza, Olympic vault finalist, won gold on parallel bars which was his nation’s first on the apparatus in the history of the World Cup series.
Andrade, meanwhile, was beaten on beam by Shilese Jones, still winning silver.
Asil lays down marker
A finalist in two apparatus in Tokyo, Turkey’s Adem Asil is ready to explode as one of the world’s top gymnasts in Liverpool.
He took double gold in Paris, on vault and rings, with the latter a red-letter performance.
Asil beat world leader Vinzenz Hoeck of Austria to gold and also saw off USA’s Donnel Whittenburg, in the upper echelons of the 2022 scoring list.
With ‘Lord of the Rings’ Eleftherios Petrounias absent in Liverpool, Asil will be setting his sights on a global gong in that event.
Malone posts up
USA’s Brody Malone showed that his all-around game remains in good health leading into a defining World Championships.
He beat Commonwealth champion Ilias Georgiou to horizontal bar gold and silver on parallel bars, joining Whittenburg in winning two World Cup medals.
It was all encouraging to see from the US all-around champion whose team leadership looks central to any medal ambitions harboured by the men in Stars and Stripes.
The World Gymnastics Championships Liverpool 2022 will be one of the largest international sporting events ever to be held in the city. Over 500 gymnasts from more than 70 countries will compete at the M&S Bank Arena from 29 October to 6 November 2022. Tickets are available at www.2022worldgymnastics.com/tickets.