Maybe the meldonium was the problem the whole time. THEORY.
This weekend saw the conclusion of European Championship Episode 1: You Only Want Me For My Chest Muscles, featuring the men’s team and event finals.
-In the team competition, the Russian men began their (allegedly) post-meldonium (allegedly) era (allegedly) in a blaze of wondrous glory as it seems that Nikolai’s morning meldonium was how Valentina had been delivering her witch’s hex potion to the team this whole time. Now free from this heinous curse, the Russians were finally able to throw off their shackles and transform into a nostalgia-inspiring and largely unrecognizable flurry of…like…good. Lots of good. Hitting 18-for-18 good.
-Russia might as well have rolled into the team final wearing those weird masquerade-ball masks with the huge beak because I don’t even know who was waltzing with us this weekend. Nikolai with the good hair hit all his routines, Belyavskiy landed a vault (with his feet no less!), and Abliazin only Abliazined once on floor. (I feel like he also may have stepped out of bounds randomly before one of his passes, but whatever. Abliazin things.) It was remarkable. We’ll never see its equal. Seriously. So I hope you’re proud of using up your hit for the year already, Russia.
-Following qualification, it was clear that Great Britain would have needed a hefty dose of splatty-splatty-bang-bang from Russia to win this thing, and Russia did not acquiesce, leaving Great Britain with a perfectly respectable silver after its own solid performance. All the Brits pretty much hit to their capabilities, improving on the team total from qualification, but GB did not have the difficulty to best a Russian performance that would have made things challenging even for a Whitlocked British team.
-As expected, the battle for third came down to Switzerland and Ukraine, and it appeared that Switzerland had opened the door for Ukraine when the sheer gravitational pull of Pablo Braegger’s earring sent him careering sideways into a brick wall on vault, followed by Oliver Hegi taking a page from Greg Marsden’s book and making a very good case for four-on-the-floor as he dismounted high bar.
-Braegger should take some advice from Belyavskiy, who has worked very hard to adjust his earring technique, and it clearly paid off on his team final vault.
-These Swiss falls would have given Ukraine at least an opportunity to snatch that bronze, but then poor old Igor lurched up to high bar and said, “NO THANK YOU PLEASE,” scoring a handful of loose change and taking Ukraine right out of the medal hunt. There was no coming back from that disaster, and Oleg’s own minor catastrophe on floor simply sealed Switzerland’s ultimately gigantic margin for the bronze. Continue reading Euros 2016: Meldonium? I don’t know her.