- Artem Dolgopyat entered the floor final as the highest qualifier and tentative favorite for gold, but he was not quite able to reproduce the 15.366 performance from qualification. While about 2/3 of his landings we excellent, he got a little too bouncy on a couple, including suffering a critical OOB on his first pass.
- That was enough to open the door for world champion Artur Dalaloyan, who walked right through it and into your dreams, showing the best combination of difficulty and landing control—save for the moment where he legit almost fell on a man wipe, which was more important to me than I can possibly say. A worthy victor with the best routine on the day.
- I think Luigi the Mascot Monkey agrees since he basically sexually assaulted Artur when trying to lift him up for a victory hoist after the final.
- Dolgopyat did manage to hang on for silver, just ahead of one of your triple back princes, Dmitri Lankin, who earned Russia’s 4th MAG medal of the competition with a bronze.
- Those were the only three who truly had the difficulty to medal as long as they all hit, so while Benjamin Gischard and Alexander Shatilov successfully bearded their way through their routines with solid beard, it was not enough to challenge for the top three spots.
- The first alternate to this final was Nicola “I think Casimir’s skin mural is a role model” Bartolini (though it turns out Bartolini’s body position and carriage are role models), but he was ultimately able to compete in the final because Dom Cunningham withdrew due to his qualification injury on vault. The injury does not currently sound as serious as it could have been, so you’re going to be OK emotionally.
- It must be said, however, that the true highlight of this final was the couch politics. Everyone had to sit on the middle couch to get their scores, but then the usher boy kept leading the latest competitors to an already full couch of medalists with no instructions, and they didn’t know what to do next, and it was FRAUGHT. I wanted them to all just to keep sitting on each other in a pyramid, but alas.
- I mean, she landed it?
- Maria Paseka’s Cheng. A vault that happened. Now, if we’re being honest, it was a legendary piece of garbage, but I also want to travel the world with it and have never loved a vault more in my entire life. I hope you can understand.
- I’m going to years of therapy about it, but it was not a fall. It was just a straddle tuck corkscrew directly connected to Warp World 4 off the mat. 8.500 E score. Somehow.
- Anyway, Paseka’s Amanar continued to be actually excellent—as it has been all year long—and that was enough to earn her another vault gold medal. Can we talk about how much better that Amanar is than her 2012 Amanar? She’s an entirely different person. (Quite literally, I don’t think any of her spine is original parts at this point. She’s got like seven people in there.)
- Now, how there was only .5 difference in execution scores between her Amanar and her Cheng, I cannot begin to understand. I’m going to try to type through it but will not succeed.
- Because of the current execution score hallucination that is women’s vault, Paseka’s victory has proven quite controversial. Coline Devillard finished only .066 behind Paseka, and that was with Paseka being held up with the score for her Cheng-acalifragilisticexpialidocious.
- Devillard did not have ideal landing control (and could still have won with her very best vaults), but she executed the rudi and DTY both with sufficient power and safe-enough landings. This wasn’t one of her scary DTYs. Devillard has had to deal with injury problems and a dip in quality following her 2017 European gold, but like Ellie Downie, she has used this competition to prove she’s back to that level.
- Speaking of Ellie Downie, she executed the actual best vaults of the entire final to win bronze (and therefore got the same execution score as all the other hit vaults…not past it), just didn’t have the difficulty to challenge what Paseka and Devillard did.
- Sara Peter’s DTY was also excellent and earned a Blythe gasp—nearly as coveted as a Kathy gasp—but she too doesn’t quite have the second-vault difficulty to get a medal at this point.
- Sadly, #2 qualifier Teja Belak fell on her Y1.5 after vaulting so well in qualification. I blame the Heart of the Ocean affixed to the front of her leotard. Would have thrown off her center-of-gravity expectations quite severely. Dear Slovenian leos, never change.
HORSE OF POMMELS
- Max Whitlock beat all y’all by 40 billion tenths to take another European title. He has such a difficulty advantage on the rest of the field here that it didn’t even matter than his opening handstand position was basically at horizontal and if this were uneven bars, the judges would have shot him through the leg with a tranquilizer dart and given him an automatic execution score of 1.DIE.
- Only two people fell in the final! That’s a pretty solid result, but also kind of disappointing because I’m obviously only here for the crazy falls when you spin yourself into oblivion little a little top.
- One of those falls belonged to Oleg. He had exceeded expectations in qualifications by advancing to two event finals, but I’m concerned that he’s been out too long and his horse-drawn carriage is turning back into a hospital bed as we speak.
- Despite qualifying in 8th, Cyril Tommasone delivered an exceptionally strong performance in the final to take the silver medal, 8 years removed from his last European Champs pommel horse medal. It was the best routine I’ve seen from him in a final for at least a quad, if not more.
- Also performing quite cleanly was Vladislav Poliashov for bronze, which brought Russia’s MAG medal total up to 5. He only barely did outscore teammate Nikita Nagornyy for that third spot, but I think that was the right call execution-wise. Given my, you know, extensive work studying the pommel horse code. My favorite pommel horse skill is a One Spinny.
- (It’s actually a Kehr, which I do know, so eat that.)
- Brinn Bevan advanced to this final and did not come off the horse, but the crushing weight of his back tattoo did throw him off kilter a little bit for a low execution score, while Marios Georgiou placed last with an “I’m the European bronze medalist, bitches! Deal! Marios OUT!” of a performance.
- Item #1, the highest execution score in this entire final was in the 8.5s, the same thing Paseka received for that vault. There is a mission in the FIG to standardize deduction size across events, which means vault has the highest E scores because there’s the least gymnastics going on and the least chance to make errors, but that’s dumb. Don’t do that.
- That highest execution score of the final (8.566) deservedly belonged to Anastasia Alistratava of Belarus who performed a clean, toe-point-ified routine to prove that Belarus has live women’s elites, some of whom can even do gymnastics routines—this one just missing out on a medal because of lower D.
- Pre-meet favorite Anastasia Iliankova had qualified down in a somewhat surprising 4th place but rediscovered her favored status with her performance in the final, performing the most difficult routine we saw with no significant breaks to take an unquestioned gold medal.
- Finishing in the silver position was her teammate Angelina Melnikova, who went all, “Christ, where was this routine in the all-around final” for 14.533 (which would have almost entirely closed the gap with Ellie Downie if it had happened yesterday), while Alice D’Amato earned the first of many senior European medals for this group of 2003 Italians with a 14.400 for bronze.
- With that score, she outpaced potential medalist Jonna Adlerteg, who ended up 5th. While she got through her routine without any major issues, she missed a critical Shang + Pak connection to lose two tenths, which was enough to bump her down to 5th. She would have won bronze with her D score from qualification.
- De Jesus Dos Santos did have a fairly large break in her routine with an arch on a handstand and didn’t control the dismount quite as well as in the previous days of competition—so you understand why her execution score was among the lower in the final—but I still feel like she doesn’t get the execution reward that her form on bars should warrant.
- I don’t know…it occurred?
- As we’ve come to expect in major rings finals, the seven who hit their routines all finished within 3 tenths of each other, so there was very little to differentiate. We get it. You’re all strong. Go eat a tire or something.
- The only one who missed his routine was top qualifier and likely medalist Igor Radivilov, because of course he did, taking a one-way ticket to crazy-town on his dismount and putting a hand down.
- With Radivilov out of contention and Petrounias not attending this year, those rings workers who typically are all “great work, almost there, 6th place” at every single meet were suddenly in contention for medals, with Vahagn Davtyan sneaking in for bronze and Marco Lodadio taking the silver.
- But it was the triumphant comeback performance of Denis Abliazin that earned the gold medal on an execution score tiebreak with Lodadio—Russia’s 6th MAG medal of the meet. Abliazin has been the hard-luck story of the last 6 months because he elected not to compete at worlds in order to pursue an individual apparatus Olympic spot instead, but he was too injured to compete at the first four events. If he stays healthy and scores like this at the final four events, he’ll have a shot for rings, though it’s going to be very difficult to beat Liu Yang.
- Nikita Nagornyy just missed out on a medal by a third of a tenth, recording the highest execution score of the entire final. It was his second consecutive 4th-place finish of the day, but judging by his “Chuck E Cheese is staying open an hour later than normal” reaction to his rings score and the fact that he’s, you know, the European all-around champion, I think he’ll be fine.