European Championship – Women’s Qualification

Qualification is complete. Finals are set, with the women’s AA final coming up Friday at 11:30am ET/8:30am PT. Here’s what happened:

  • Lord and savior Angelina Melnikova hit all four events to qualify 1st into the AA final, also advancing to the event finals on VT, UB, and FX. On beam…you know, she stayed on. That makes it a full four-pronged victory. I mean, she’s still using Despacito for some reason like a science teacher who has to DJ the middle school dance this weekend, so the word victory might be a stretch, but we never said we wanted perfect. It was a good day.

  • Melnikova’s biggest challenger for the all-around gold medal will be Melanie De Jesus Dos Santos, who triumphantly popped out of the cake at the very last minute to compete the all-around and delivered four solid events of her own. Because sure: Bars was the event she considered skipping this week, and it ended up being her strongest performance by far as she delivered an exceptionally clean set with a well-controlled FTDLO dismount while beam and floor had some iffier moments (though she did make the final on all three).

  • Neither Melnikova nor MDJDS are far enough clear of the rest of the field to be considered locks for 1-2 like Dalaloyan and Nagornyy are on the men’s side—it only takes one thing to go wrong, and of course it will, because you’ve seen gymnastics before—but right now they’re your most likely winners of the top 2 medals.


  • They were followed in qualification by a veritable herd of Brits. Kinsella, Downie, and Morgan took the 3-5 positions, with Morgan the unlucky one getting Wiebered out of the all-around final despite putting up the 5th best score on the day. Morgan also got pushed down to reserve status for both the bars and the beam finals, so she wins permission to roll her eyes to Jupiter while ripping a napkin in half as a silent protest.

  • Kinsella put together a fantastic day to take 3rd place, while Downie hit her events but had a number of corrections on UB, BB, and FX to finish right behind her. That tells us Downie has the better shot at a medal here as long as she hits tomorrow, but don’t count out YOG champ Giorgia Villa.

  • Villa qualified down in a surprising 8th place, but that was with a fall on bars, so if she gets that together and tightens up some of the landings on floor, she should stay right with the pack of prospective medalists despite competing in the second group and rotating bars-to-vault.

  • It was always going to be a tight race for the two spots in the AA final among the four Italians, and Villa did just sneak in there with Alice D’Amato. Villa was the only one who really had the luxury to fall, a luxury she took, while a shakier beam from Asia D’Amato and a non-ideal bars routine from Elisa Iorio put them in 2per land.

  • Eythora fell on beam, so gymnastics is canceled.

  • Eythora still advanced to the floor final despite her 3/1 + punch front getting a little arachnophobia, so there’s at least one good thing remaining in the world. I wasn’t sold on this year’s floor routine originally (I mean, it’s better than anyone else’s, but I didn’t think it lived up to 2015), but I was transfixed in competition, even with a crappy stream. In the AA final, She’ll rotate with Villa in the second group, aka the first group.

  • It was a mixed bag for Ukraine. Which is honestly an upgrade over the fully awful bag that has been the last decade and a half of Ukrainian WAG. Bachynska hit an acceptable day overall to sit in 6th AA and qualify into the top group for the event final, but Varinska fell on her layout on beam while I sighed and whispered, “disaster” like a proper homosexual. A jelly-legs curse on bars also means Varinska, a potential medalist coming in, will miss the bars final entirely.

  • Speaking of the rougher side of things, Angelina Simakova fell on a full-in on floor to finish 16th AA and did not advance to any event finals. Valentina’s like, “[cigarette puff] Bad job, Susan.”

  • Denisa Golgota continues being the only joy in Mudville, hitting her meet to finish 9th in the AA and advance to the event finals on vault, floor, and beam (!), all in 8th place as the final qualifier. The spirit of Nadia has blessed the child on this day.

  • Nica Ivanus was not at all blessed by the spirit of Nadia (I mean, Spirit Nadia can’t do everything around here) as she currently sits as the unlucky first alternate for the AA final. Also sadly missing out on the AA was Emma Slevin, finishing in 32nd here.

  • VAULT:  Maria Paseka fell on her Cheng in qualification but still advanced to the final with room to spare in 5th place. Paseka is close enough to the lead even with that fall to tell us that she could downgrade to the Lopez for the event final and still win gold if the Cheng isn’t coming together, but when have we ever known Maria Paseka to play it safe? Fall on Cheng, you say? Upgrade to Biles!

  • Coline Devillard elected not to go for full difficulty in qualification, hitting her rudi but going for only the FTY as her second vault to qualify in 3rd place. So despite the standings, Paseka and Devillard remain the strongest medal favorites. Ellie Downie vaulted very cleanly to qualify in first and set herself up as the most likely medalist among those who don’t have the same huge difficulty, though Asia D’Amato and Melnikova are competing the same difficulty and doing so pretty similarly, while Teja Belak hit exceptionally well to qualify in 2nd place. That’s a big damn deal for her.

  • BARS: The most likely favorite for the gold, Anastasia Iliankova, hit a non-perfect routine to qualify into the final in a somewhat surprising 4th place, quite a few tenths behind the leaders Jonna Adlerteg and Melnikova. I’d take those three for the medals at this point, but Sanna Veerman and Belarus’s (yes, you heard me, Belarus) Anastasiya Alistratava scored right with them in qualification, and Veerman has the D-score in the 6s that it probably should take to medal here.

  • But yes, Belarus has like…a living gymnast. Who’s in a final. At Euros. And her bars routine is glorious.

  • I was a bit surprised to see that Team “Italy Isn’t Bad on Bars Anymore” managed only the one finalist, and that it was Alice D’Amato. You probably would have picked Villa and Iorio as more likely, but they didn’t have strong routines today.

  • BEAM: The big shock on beam came from Marine Boyer with a half-miss on her routine that took her far enough down the standings to miss the final. This was going to be a wide-open quest for medals anyway, but the absence of Boyer in the final opens that even more.

  • Villa had her best showing of the day on beam to qualify in first, and Pauline Schäfer is right there in 2nd with less difficulty but more…you were the only one to get an E score in the 8s at 2017 worlds. #NeverForget. But even as we go down the list of 8 qualifiers to Charpy and DJDS toward the bottom, they’re nearly all medal contenders. Who wants to hit?

  • Honestly, if more than half of the routines are hit in this beam final, it’s a win. If no one falls while just standing there, or while trying to hoist herself down for her low-to-beam choreography like when Nana tries to pick up that pig-in-a-blanket she dropped on the floor, then a miracle has occurred.

  • FLOOR: Of all the events, floor went the most to plan in qualification. The three most likely medalists—Frapagane, Melnikova, and DJDS—all hit their routines to qualify in the first three positions in that order. They’ll enter as your favorites, but of course Eythora’s lack of artistry deductions will put up a serious fight even though she doesn’t have the difficulty of the three favorites. Of course, the true victory would be if she gets a righteous deduction for showing up in Celine van Gerner makeup. And I don’t mean cat makeup inspired by Celine van Gerner’s routine. I mean actual makeup to make her look like Celine van Gerner.

  • What we’ve learned so far this quad is that Marine Boyer is basically a floor specialist instead of a beam specialist now, and she’ll enjoy some solace by advancing to the floor final here. I’m also pleased to see that Jade Vansteenkiste of Belgium made the floor final—you might recall from Gymnix she was the one with full animal murders in her floor music who also fell on a double pike on the quicksand floor right before they tried to address the problem.

  • Sadly Marta Pihan-Kulesza missed out on that final, and it’s not OK.

  • And on that note…
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