Well, Euros are finished! Time to go home now!
… Obviously not. Euros are a practice worlds for European countries. Though they’ll save their best for real worlds in October, every country wants to have a good showing here to prove that they matter at worlds! Who had successful showing? Who had a terrible showing? Stay with me, I’ll let you know!
Russia: Due to whatever witchcraft that led to 12/12 hit routines, the Russians achieved their primary goal of team gold. The Russians showed a shocking level of solidity and consistency that allowed them to overtake the favored French.
In addition to team gold, Melnikova picked up vault silver and bars gold, in addition to placing fourth on floor. They were certainly hoping for more on floor and vault, as their team was chosen with the hopes of maximizing their potential on the power events. Either one of Akhaimova or Simakova could have easily medaled on both, but neither made the floor final, and while Akhaimova made the vault final and hit both of her vaults, she gave away too much on her execution and placed fifth. Russia also wanted another bars medal from Alexeeva/Perebisnova. Perebisnova managed to make the final, but she had a wonky beginning of her routine and placed fifth. I personally had no expectation for beam medals for any Russian. They saved their beam magic for when it counted, team finals. Though they fell short individually, they banded together for team finals and had their best showing in quite some time.
France: Coming in, the French were definitely the favorites for the team gold. With their consistency, their big scores across the events, and several injuries to the Russian team, it seemed that the stars were aligned for the French team. Sadly, they were forced to count three falls from Lorette Charpy, which simply killed them when combined with the Russians having a fantastic day. They still grabbed the silver medal, a historic finish for the French, but they were surely disappointed, as they had the capability to reach the gold medal. On the individual side, Coline Devillard had some serious competition for he vault title after Boglarka Devai unveiled a Cheng. She hit her Rudi, but with the added pressure from Devai, she upgraded to a rather uncomfortable DTY that she fell on, bumping her out of the medals. On bars, both Juliette Bossu and Lorette Charpy made the final. Bossu had a few small execution deductions that bumped her to seventh, and though Charpy hit a great routine, she didn’t have the difficulty to challenge the top bars workers. On beam, both Melanie De Jesus Dos Santos and Marine Boyer made the final and placed third and fourth, respectively. Melanie had the cleaner routine overall, but Marine beat her out with difficulty, despite having a very wobbly routine. Luckily for Melanie, she managed to win the floor final after a clean routine with good difficulty. She started with a great full twisting double layout and followed it up with clean landings on the rest of her passes, along with beautiful dance elements. France would have loved to have won the team gold, as well as a vault medal from Devillard and a bars medal from someone, but by winning the historic silver, they showed that they’re on the right path, and that they’ll be a force to be reckoned with when they hit.
The Netherlands: The Dutch women should be THRILLED with their performance here. After losing their star, Eythora Thorsdottir, I had written them out of the team medals. Luckily, they proved me wrong, and used their absolutely stunning execution to outpace the British team and win the team bronze medal. In addition to their team medal, Tisha Volleman made the vault final, Celine Van Gerner placed fourth in the floor final (after performing a fabulous cat inspired routine), and Sanne Wevers pulled out a win in the beam final! She had a great side aerial to back handspring combo, in addition to her lovely triple turn, double L turn, and leap combos. Wevers was easily the cleanest in the final, but she also had a large amount of difficulty due to her great combinations. Without Eythora, I tampered expectations for the Dutch women’s medal count, as she likely would have contended for medals in the all around, as well as on the balance beam and the floor exercise. While losing their best gymnast was certainly a bummer, the Dutch showed that they aren’t overly reliant on Eythora, and that they’re a talented, capable bunch. Considering the circumstances, Euros went phenomenally for The Netherlands, and if they can get Eythora back by worlds, they’ll be in an even better spot to challenge for the team final, and individual medals.
Great Britain: After being cursed with a billion injuries to their top gymnasts, the clouds parted slightly for Great Britain when Becky Downie returned to competition. Frustratingly, whatever evil spirit had cursed Great Britain decided that it wasn’t done with them, and it then proceeded to re-injure Becky, devastating both the team’s chances for a medal, and my heart. They placed a respectable fourth, but they had several falls on the balance beam that killed their score. Without Downie, their best chance for an individual medal was probably Georgia Mae Fenton on bars. Sadly, she fell in qualifications and missed the final. Even without Downie, the British saw success in the form of event finals. Kelly Simm managed to make the bars final, and Georgia Mae Fenton made the floor final. Euros were never going to be a smashing success for the British ladies, but nonetheless, they’re undoubtedly disappointed. Their goal will be to regroup for worlds, and to have a better showing there.
Belgium: Belgium started Euros on a grim note by losing Rune Hermans, cutting their team to four members. Despite starting out rough, Euros actually went exceptionally well for Belgium. After qualification, they were ranked third as a team, a great result, especially considering their missing member. Though they pulled out of the final to prevent more injuries, placing in the top three was certainly promising to the young gymnastics program. Belgium’s primary goal was to have Nina Derwael defend her uneven bars title from last year, a goal which they accomplished. Derwael has a massive start value of 6.4, some huge skills such as a Nabieva and an eponymous stalder tkatchev 1/2, and to top it off, her routine is performed with beautiful form and lines. Nina had a huge score of 14.733 in the final and she won by nearly half a point. In addition to bars gold, Nina unexpectedly won beam silver, while Maellyse Brassart accompanied her in the final and placed seventh. Axelle Klinckaert, the team’s resident floor worker, hit in the floor final and placed third. Klinckaert has great tumbling such as a double layout and a full in, and along with that, she performs SUPER well, enchanting and charming the crowd. While many of their successes came with disappointments, the Belgians should be absolutely thrilled with their showing at Euros. Winning three medals and showing that they can score with the top teams was completely unexpected, but a very happy surprise for Belgium, and they must be very relieved.
Romania: Romania came into this meet with the potential to make the team final, as they had veteran Anamaria Ocolisan along with talented new senior, Denisa Golgota on their team. Ridiculously, Anamaria got injured in podium training, just as she did three years ago in the exact same arena. Losing Ocolisan was a huge blow to the team, but with hit routines, they could still manage to make the team final. They started on vault, and everything went perfectly fine. They then went to uneven bars and proceeded to jump into a volcano, having a fall from every athlete in their lineup, Denisa Golgota, Carmen Ghiciuc, and Laura Iacob. They had one fall on both beam and floor, and at the end of the day, they were nowhere close to the final. Though the team had a dismal performance, Denisa Golgota made the vault and the floor final, and managed to medal on both. She had a clean DTY and Tsuk full to take the bronze on vault, and she had clean landings on her tumbling and nice execution on her dance elements to take the silver on floor. While the team still has a long way to go, Denisa Golgota showed a ton of potential and gave the Romanians hope for the future.
Hungary: Before the meet, the Hungarians lost their star, Zsofia Kovacs, sapping their chances for several individual medals. Despite the disappointing loss of their best gymnast, the Hungarians battled back and managed to make the team final, a huge win, considering they did so without Kovacs. In addition to the team final, they also came away with the vault gold medal from Boglarka Devai! Devai had a difficult, if a bit untidy, Cheng vault that helped her seal the gold. She also had a decent DTY that she paired with her Cheng. Devai wasn’t the cleanest vaulter in the final, but she had a massive difficulty advantage that allowed her to win her first European gold medal. Considering their Euros were without Zsofia Kovacs, the Hungarians should be very pleased with themselves and their showing.
Ukraine: Euros were both good and bad for the Ukranian team. Euros were good in the sense that they made the team final for quite some time, and that they managed to place fifth in said final, showing that after years of falling off the map as a team, they’re finally on the right track and have some strong talent among the ranks. While Euros were good for the team, they weren’t so good as individuals. Ukraine’s strongest gymnast at the moment is undoubtedly Diana Varinska, who made the uneven bars final at worlds last year, and who also has fabulous skills and potential on both beam and floor. Sadly, Varinska had a mediocre bars routine in qualification and ended up being the reserve for the final. Though they may have fallen short in terms of medal count, Euros provided the Ukrainian team with a tremendous amount of encouragement and hope, and if they keep improving themselves, who knows, maybe they can get back to their old glory days and be a world power once again.
Germany: After getting Sophie Scheder back and shortly thereafter, losing her to a hand injury, the Germans had tampered expectations for Euros. They had a lousy performance in qualifications and did not make the team final. They have some success as individuals and had three event finalists, Sarah Voss on vault, Kim Bui on bars, and Pauline Schafer on beam. Voss performed well with her DTY and Lopez vaults and managed to place fourth. For the second year in a row, Kim Bui had a beautiful routine, but was simply overpowered by the top bars workers and placed fourth. Pauline Schafer, the reigning world champion on beam, came in as a favorite and a contender for the title, but she fell on her eponymous side somi 1/2. Euros were a huge disappointment for the Germans and they’ll hope to do much better come worlds.
Italy: Italy does not have the best senior squad at the moment, and Euros was an accurate representation of that. They were capable of the team final, even though they lost Sofia Busato last minute, but they panicked in qualification and ended up reserves for the final. Without Sofia Busato and her vaults, Italy’s only real medal hope was Giada Grisetti on bars and beam, and she crushingly failed to make either final. Italy’s Euros couldn’t have been worse. Thankfully, Italy’s junior team had a FABULOUS showing, winning the team gold medal over Russia, along with picking up five individual medals on top of that. I haven’t ever really gone in depth about this, but next year, Italy will rise like a phoenix due to the strength of their juniors. Giorgia Villa is a fabulous bars worker with great connections, a good vaulter with a nice DTY, and she proved here how good she is on her weak(er) events, beam and floor. In addition to winning the silver medal on vault, Villa won the balance beam title as well as picking up silver on floor. Her evenness across the four events will make her a serious all around threat when she turns senior. In addition to Giorgia Villa, Italy also has Asia D’Amato, a phenomenal vaulter with a powerful DTY and Lopez combo (she’s also been shown training an Amanar), Elisa Iorio, Italy’s best bars and beam worker who also has a DTY sometimes, and Alice D’Amato, who has the potential to be an amazing bars and beam gymnast as well. Asia won the vault, and Elisa Iorio picked up the bronze on beam. If these gymnasts transition from junior to senior successfully, Italy’s program will experience a much-needed rejuvenation.
That should do it for the major teams, but…
Also: Jonna Adlerteg of Sweden won silver on bars with a FAB routine. She has such great combinations, such as a Hindorff to Pak and a Maloney to Bhardwaj, and she capped her routine off with a clean double layout dismount, she absolutely deserved her medal and I couldn’t be happier for her.
Just For Fun: I’ll list my favorite routine on each event!
Vault: Umm, I generally think vault is boring, so nothing stands out to me. I guess I’ll choose Boglarka Devai’s Cheng, simply because she worked so hard for that vault, and subsequently, her European vault title.
Bars: DUH, Nina Derwael. I wasn’t even a fan of hers last year, but her routine is just too fabulous to not root for. UGH, too much to rave over, you get it, watch her routine! http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=ipNina+derwael+bars+2018+european+championships&&view=detail&mid=77D24E85EC500F10F60377D24E85EC500F10F603&&FORM=VRDGAR
Beam: Sanne.Wevers.All.The.Way. Her routine is just tooooo unique and perfect, she slays my life.
Floor: I’d have to choose Denisa Golgota! I love the way she sells her routine, she has great tumbling, and she exemplifies the Romanian fighting spirit. I also happen to be a huge fan of hers, so there’s also that.
Ok! Please enjoy this article that took me three days to write! Next I’ll preview US championships, which start on the 16th.