The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

European Championship Preview

The goal

For both men and women, the top 13 teams from qualification will advance to worlds, as will the top 23 finishers in the all-around who are not part of the 13 qualifying teams. This will complete the world championship qualification process.

The schedule

Thursday, August 11
10:00am CET
4:00am ET
1:00am PT
Senior Women
Subdivision 1
Netherlands
Germany
Turkey
Austria
Slovakia
Latvia
Croatia
12:24pm CET
6:24am ET
3:24am PT
Senior Women
Subdivision 2
Hungary
Spain
Finland
Sweden
Ireland
Portugal
Individuals
(CYP, MLT, LUX, LTU)
3:28pm CET
9:28am ET
6:28am PT
Senior Women
Subdivision 3
Romania
Ukraine
Norway
Switzerland
Slovenia
Iceland
Denmark
Individuals
(BUL, GEO, AZE, MON)
5:53pm CET
11:53am ET
8:53am PT
Senior Women
Subdivision 4
Great Britain
Italy
France
Belgium
Czech Republic
Israel
Poland
Greece
Friday, August 12
12:20pm CET
6:20am ET
3:20am PT
Junior Women
Subdivision 1
Romania
France
Germany
Spain
Denmark
Bulgaria
Israel
Ireland
3:20pm CET
9:20am ET
6:20am PT
Junior Women
Subdivision 2
Great Britain
Switzerland
Norway
Turkey
Poland
Slovakia
Croatia
Greece
5:50pm CET
11:50am ET
8:50am PT
Junior Women
Subdivision 3
Italy
Belgium
Hungary
Czech Republic
Portugal
Latvia
Individuals
(NED, UKR, AZE, MLT SWE, ISL, LIE)
Saturday, August 13
2:00pm CET
8:00am ET
5:00am PT
Senior Women
Team Final
Top 8 from Q
Sunday, August 14
10:00am CET
4:00am ET
1:00am PT
Junior Women
Event Finals
Top 8 from Q
2:30pm CET
8:30am ET
5:30am PT
Senior Women
Event Finals
Top 8 from Q
Thursday, August 18
10:00am CET
4:00am ET
1:00am PT
Senior Men
Subdivision 1
Israel
Croatia
Bulgaria
Iceland
Ireland
Individuals
(SLO, POL, SVK, DEN, CZE, LAT, ALB)
1:53pm CET
7:53am ET
4:53am PT
Senior Men
Subdivision 2
Turkey
France
Netherlands
Belgium
Norway
Austria
Lithuania
Sweden
Finland
Romania
Portugal
Georgia
5:07pm CET
11:07am ET
8:07am PT
Senior Men
Subdivision 3
Great Britain
Italy
Spain
Germany
Switzerland
Ukraine
Cyprus
Hungary
Armenia
Greece
Azerbaijan
Individuals (SRB, MON)
Friday, August 19
10:00am CET
4:00am ET
1:00am PT
Junior Men
Subdivision 1
Italy
Germany
Belgium
Sweden
Greece
Georgia
2:00pm CET
8:00am ET
5:00am PT
Junior Men
Subdivision 2
Spain
France
Turkey
Armenia
Hungary
Lithuania
Austria
Romania
Portugal
Croatia
Azerbaijan
Luxembourg
5:30pm CET
11:30am ET
8:30am PT
Junior Men
Subdivision 3
Great Britain
Ukraine
Netherlands
Switzerland
Israel
Norway
Finland
Czech Republic
Bulgaria
Slovenia
Individuals (IRL, SVK, ISL)
Saturday, August 20
2:45pm CET
8:45am ET
5:45am PT
Senior Men
Team Final
Top 8 from Q
Sunday, August 21
9:45am CET
3:45am ET
12:45am PT
Junior Men
Event Finals
Top 8 from Q
1:45pm CET
7:45am ET
4:45am PT
Senior Men
Event Finals
Top 8 from Q

The broadcast

The senior women’s and men’s competitions will be streamed on eurovisionsports.tv

The juniors will be relegated to smartscoring at gymtv.online

The Eurovision sports stream for finals will likely be geoblocked for Europeans whose countries have a TV network that has bought the rights.

The senior women’s competition

Let’s take this session by session.

Subdivision 1: Germany, Netherlands, Turkey, Austria, Slovakia, Latvia, Croatia

In the team department, Germany and the Netherlands are the class of the first subdivision. Both should qualify to worlds with ease and are favored to advance to the team final here barring an exquisite implosion. They’ll expect to end up in the 4-6 zone. A team medal would be a huge upset.

From qualification, Germany will also aim to put Elisabeth Seitz and the retiring Kim Bui into the bars final, Pauline Schäfer and Sarah Voss (or Emma Malewski) into the beam final, and perhaps Kim Bui and Sarah Voss into the floor final. The focus is always on Bui’s bars, but she has made two European floor finals and could make a third. The Netherlands will be hoping for bars hits from Sanna Veerman and Naomi Visser, which could be enough to put them into the event final out of this very bars-heavy first subdivision. If Visser performs the way she did at Dutch nationals, she’ll be a contender for three finals: UB, BB, FX.

As for the remaining team prospects in this first group, Slovakia, Latvia, and Croatia are not expected to challenge for world championships team places, but Turkey and Austria should be right in the mix for those last few spots of the 13 available, either just in or just out. Their scores will be the numbers that every other country aims to beat in the remaining subdivisions. If you place ahead of Turkey and Austria, you can start to like your chances to advance to worlds. Should Austria not qualify as a team, look for Carina Kröll (who now competes for Austria after previously representing Germany) and Jasmin Mader both to get to worlds as individuals. Similarly, Turkey would be favored to earn both of its available all-around spots should the whole team thing not work out. Theoretically, Turkey’s top all-arounder is Nazli Savranbasi, but she’ll be limited to only bars, so there’s an opening for Sevgi Kayisoglu, Bengisu Yildiz, and Bilge Tarhan—whichever two hit. 

Slovakia has not entered top all-arounder Barbora Mokosova on all four events, meaning she will not be able to qualify to worlds. That compromises Slovakia’s chances to get anyone to worlds, but they’ll be hoping perhaps Sara Surmanova can sneak into the top 23.

Similarly, Croatia has not entered Ana Derek in all four events, so she too cannot qualify to worlds. We’ll see if Nika Kukuljan Frleta or Petra Furac can get a qualification spot for the all-around, but it will be an uphill battle.


Subdivision 2: Hungary, Spain, Finland, Sweden, Ireland, Portugal, Cyprus, Malta, Luxembourg, Lithuania

Keep an eye on Hungary’s potential to upend expectations at the European Championship this year, with scores in 2022 that have been stronger than those of more established team final contenders like Germany and Belgium. Even removing some suspect domestic scores from their records, Hungary would be in position to prance right into the team final here and would make worlds easily. Individually, Zsofia Kovacs should be among the top all-arounders in the competition and can reach multiple event finals (including vault if she elects to do 2), though bars is her strongest event and most likely final and potential medal. Csenge Bacskay should also like her chance for a vault final.

As for Spain, this is an underpowered Spanish squad absent the big names we’ve come to know over the recent quads like Roxana Popa, Ana Perez, and Cintia Rodriguez. Still, there should be more than sufficient quality here to advance as a team to worlds. Making the team final remains a possibility and would be a big win for this group, which does return Olympian Alba Petisco who finished 57th in Tokyo and should be the scoring leader this year. 

The potential competitiveness of the Scandinavian nations is the most significant open question in the race for the world championships team spots, and we have two of them in this subdivision with Finland and Sweden. Finland has been off the charts this year with scores they’ve never come anywhere close to as a country before—scores that actually are neck-and-neck with Spain and would comfortably qualify to worlds. But is any of that legit? We’ve been down this path before with domestic scores. Although this year, we have seen athletes like Maisa Kuusikko put up those big numbers at actual challenge cups, which is a significant difference. The content looks there. But they have to hit it. Of note, veteran Rosanna Ojala is on the team of five but not entered on the start list for any event.

On that topic, and in typical Swedish gymnastics fashion, Sweden has sent a minimum of athletes with four instead of five, which could compromise team scoring chances to some degree. Still, as long as Tonya Paulsson (who hasn’t competed since worlds last year) is in form, Sweden should be right on the borderline of the qualifying teams with a solid shot to make worlds as long as they outscore what Turkey and Austria do in the first subdivision. In the all-around department, both nations should be on track to qualify two to worlds if they don’t make it as a team, with Kuusikko looking like Finland’s frontrunner along with perhaps Michigan’s Kaia Tanskanen and Sweden boasting Paulsson and 2021 national champion Nathalie Westlund.

As far as the other nations in this subdivision go, the Irish team may come up just short in the scoring department but should have one of its most competitive squads in recent memory with both Emma Slevin and Halle Hilton—who is newly representing Ireland—bringing the routines necessary to make worlds. Hilton’s scores are among the best this year for those athletes whose teams rank outside the top 13.

Like Slovakia and Croatia, Portugal will be without its best shot for worlds qualification with Filipa Martins slated to compete only bars. The remaining AAers for Portugal may be borderline for worlds (especially now with several top contenders not on the AA start list), but Martins would have been a lock if she had been able to do all the events. Still, with Martins competing bars, she remains among the top contenders to make the bars final.

Meanwhile, watch out for Luxembourg’s Celeste Mordenti in the race for individual qualification, particularly because she has a sufficiently competitive vault that can carry her without having to rely on bars and beam to be hits on a given day.

Really all the other teams in subdivision 3 have at least one individual who could upset for one of the 23 individual worlds spots should she hit 4 events. We have Tatiana Bachurina of Cyprus who impressed with her bars form at Commonwealth Games, Ella Borg of Malta who did enough at world cups early this year that she should get to worlds for events even if it doesn’t work out here, and relative unknown Ula Bikinaite of Lithuania whose scores from Lithuanian domestic competitions would be high enough to qualify. If I’m ranking the 23 most likely all-around qualifiers, I’d say all three are just on the outside, but only just. They’re in the category of “just don’t fall apart on bars or beam for a 9.300, and it might happen for you.”

After the 13 teams qualify, there will only be about 40 athletes eligible for the 23 all-around spots because of 2-per-country, so LOTS of people are going to make it.


Subdivision 3: Romania, Ukraine, Norway, Switzerland, Slovenia, Iceland, Denmark, Bulgaria, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Monaco

The deal with Romania is that you really shouldn’t have to worry about this team. Even without Maria Ceplinschi (who was recently replaced on the roster by Antonia Duta), this team’s scoring potential should easily rank among the worlds qualifiers, with a solid shot to make the team final as well as a couple event finals with Ana Barbosu and Ioana Stanciulescu. But also it’s Romania, so they’ll first of all need to make sure not to count 6 falls. Not helping matters is that team member Silviana Sfiringu is slated to scratch every event.

Under normal circumstances, Ukraine would be an easy pick to qualify to worlds, but this year’s team is largely a mystery (without the likes of Diana Varinska, Anastasia Bachynska, Daniela Batrona, and Anastasia Motak) featuring several athletes who typically wouldn’t make a Ukrainian team but are currently in a position where they can do gymnastics, the primarily criterion for selection. Even with the team selected—led by some familiar names like Valeria Osipova and Yelizaveta Hubareva, along with new senior Yulia Kasianenko who won a beam world cup this year, and a couple unknown quantities in Marharyta Kozlovska and Diana Savelieva—Ukraine still has the gymnastic ability to qualify to worlds, but we shall see what we see when we see it.

Norway rounds out the group of bubble Scandinavian teams, hanging around with Finland and Sweden with a real shot to make it to worlds on a good day. Maria Tronrud and Julie Madsø are enjoying a banner year at worlds cups, recording some internationally competitive bars and beam results, so if they bring that level to Euros, they can lead this team into the top 13. By the time Norway competes, Finland, Sweden, Turkey, and Austria will have already gone, and beating all of their scores (or at least 3 of the 4) will be the goal. If team doesn’t happen, both Tronrud and Madsø have been scoring comfortably above the level likely needed to make worlds.

And what of Switzerland? A nation that would typically be situated among the comfortable worlds qualifiers, Switzerland has seen few competition opportunities this year and has not recorded scores that would rank anywhere near the top 13 teams in Europe. Without Steingruber, the expectations won’t be what they usually are, but leave the door open for the Swiss to improve on the scores we’ve seen so far and jump back up the European rankings led by Lilli Habisreutinger, who will be favored to make it to worlds one way or another. With Stefanie Siengenthaler out of the all-around, Switzerland is looking at Anina Wildi as its other hope for an individual spot.

When it comes to Slovenia, this is a nation with more individual event talent than a number of teams that will qualify to worlds, but they typically lack the depth of bars and floor scores to record a team total high enough to challenge. One of the start list surprises was seeing top all-arounder Lucija Hribar not listed for floor, so the only AA chance Slovenia will have to get someone to worlds is Zala Trtnik. But—Hribar, Teja Belak, and Tjasa Kysselef have already qualified to worlds for events, so Slovenia will have a hearty presence there regardless. At this event, Belak and Kysselef should both have a solid look at making the vault final. 

Iceland and Denmark would need to put together something unexpected to climb the team rankings, but the goal for Denmark will be to put their best-ever gymnast Camille Rasmussen among the worlds qualifiers, which seems very doable. Veteran Agnes Suto probably remains Iceland’s best all-around gymnast and best bet to make worlds, but really all the Icelandic gymnasts are close enough to each other that whichever two manage to stay on the most apparatuses that day will have a solid look at the 23 worlds places. 

Bulgaria’s new senior Valentina Georgieva has enjoyed a quality year so far, winning the vault title at the Osijek World Cup, which speaks well for her potential to advance to worlds and even make a European vault final.

Georgia’s Ani Gobadze and Azerbaijan’s Milana Minakovskaya are among those athletes—like a Bachurina of Cyprus—probably sitting on the cusp of top 23 right now and hoping the inevitable chaos that is the all-around race on qualification day ends up working in their favor. Which it might.


Subdivision 4: Great Britain, Italy, France, Belgium, Czech Republic, Israel, Poland, Greece

The final subdivision brings us the heavyweights and team medal contenders. Great Britain, Italy, and France are the top three countries in Europe right now and look poised to fight it out for the medals in the team final and wolf down most of the available spots in event finals.

Italy will aim to put Asia D’Amato in the vault final and two athletes in each of the remaining finals. I’d say Giorgia Villa and Alice D’Amato for bars, Villa and Martina Maggio for beam, and Maggio and Angela Andreoli for floor would be ideal if everyone hits, but Asia D’Amato will be lurking on every event and could very well make all four finals. 

For the British, the biggest event final goals will be Jessica Gadirova on vault and floor, Georgia-Mae Fenton on bars, and perhaps an Alice Kinsella post-Commonwealth beam comeback. They’ll hope to supplement those main medal contenders with a second beamer (could be anyone), perhaps Achampong on bars given her high D score, and Jennifer Gadirova on floor if she is in sufficient form.

France’s very biggest event goals will be Aline Friess on vault and Marine Boyer on beam, but they’ll also want a second beamer in Morgane Osyssek (or Carolann Heduit) and will hope to get some action into the bars final in a tough field—potentially from Lorette Charpy and Heduit, but Friess should be right in there. Floor is going to be a tough fight at the tail end of the qualification field, but you could definitely see Friess getting in there.

There’s not as much hubbub over Belgium’s team this year without Nina Derwael, but the three other Olympians do return to the squad in Maellyse Brassart, Lisa Vaelen, and Jutta Verkest. This remains a solid bunch that should be among the comfortable worlds qualifiers and will enter as a favorite to reach the team final. What out for Verkest on beam and Vaelen on bars.

I wouldn’t write off the Czech Republic when it comes to team qualification for worlds, but it may be an uphill battle to find the sufficient number of 12+ scores on bars and beam. At minimum, they’ll hope to qualify Aneta Holasova to worlds, though keep an eye on new senior Klara Peterkova who came through to win this year’s national championship and also should have the scores to get into the top 23.

Israel probably doesn’t have enough four-event depth to get a competitive team score, but both Lihie Raz and Ofir Netzer have the routines to advance to worlds and should be among the favorites to do so. Netzer has already booked her spot on vault through the world cup series but will be looking to qualify as an all-arounder.

After an injury in training, Poland’s top all-arounder Wiktoria Lopuszanska has withdrawn, meaning Poland cannot get a team score—but she also has a vault backup plan in qualifying to worlds so doesn’t need this result. Greece’s top all-arounder is probably Elvira Katsali, and on a good day she could get into that top 23.


Team Final:

Based on what we’ve seen this year, Great Britain, Italy, and France will enter the competition as the frontrunners for the three team medals. Beyond that, it should be a close one.

Italy’s best argument is having the highest scores recorded so far this year. Great Britain’s best counterargument to that is having the highest scores recorded this year if you eliminate the bonus-laden scores from Serie A competition. Italy’s best counterargument to that is Jennifer Gadirova got 14.6 on floor this year domestically and that’s the same nonsense as Serie A. Great Britain’s best counterargument to that is “I know you are but what am I?”

Meanwhile, France’s best argument is that they can score pretty close to both countries and what if they are the ones who hit? Theoretically, France has the best beam squad of the three countries. But you know what they say about beams and theories. 

The big question mark is the status of the Gadirovas. While we just saw the rest of the British team compete at the Commonwealth Games, and this exact Italian team has been bopping all over the world competing every second, we haven’t seen enough of the Gadirovas to have any kind of reliable sense of how they will perform. The British team is deeply reliant on big floor scores from them to have a shot at the title. Any edge that the British team has over Italy is almost always based on winning floor by a large margin. 

Even though Italy has competed a ton, there are still some secret weapons to be pulled out, namely what if Giorgia Villa actually hits beam Alice D’Amato who has not been at full strength thus far this year but has a bars routine and a vault she can pull out to increase Italy’s scoring potential. 


Event Finals:

VAULT – No Russians. No Steingruber. No Devillard. The door is open for a Jessica Gadirova, for an Asia D’Amato, for an Aline Friess. Come one, come all. Clap clap, bring me a second vault. If you’ve got a couple 13s, there’s a place for you, including some of our challenge cup athletes like Teja Belak who should be right in the mix.

BARS – Bars is the showcase event for this field. With Elisabeth Seitz and Kim Bui here, bars presents the best medal opportunity for the host nation, though a number of athletes will attempt to derail that mission—like Giorgia Villa and Georgia-Mae Fenton to name just a couple. Some of the best bars scores in Europe this year have also come from Sanna Veerman and Naomi Visser of the Netherlands, along with Zsofia Kovacs and Filipa Martins, who will all entertain the possibility of medals. The presence of many legitimate contenders outside the ITA/GB/FRA group makes this final so hard to reach.

BEAM – Alice Kinsella is the lone athlete in the field to have won a European championship on beam, but that’s not for lack of beam accomplishments in the group, with veterans Pauline Schäfer and Marine Boyer both coming in looking like compelling title picks. Basically, most of the French gymnasts looks like options if they stay on, and similar is true for Italy, where Martina Maggio joins Boyer as the only two returning beam finalists from last year’s competition.

FLOOR – The defending floor champion Jessica Gadirova should enter as the favorite this year, at least until we see her current level. That 14.6 she received in the event final at the British is 0.650 higher than the next-closest person—her sister from the same final. Beyond that, be on the lookout for the Italians. Maggio was 4th in 2021 and Andreoli has their highest floor score of the year (and one of the best floor scores outside British nationals along with Friess).

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