The men’s vault final started extremely men’s vault-ishly, with Courtney Tulloch falling on both of his vaults. Scene effectively set. It’s like in distance running, when they have that one person go out in front and set the pace. Courtney definitely set the pace for this final.
He was followed by Nicola Bartolini who—and I cannot emphasize this enough—has an unlucky throat.
This is not just me being me. This is significant and influential information for the results because potential medalist Igor Radivilov was so distraught by having his Unfortunate Neck Tattoo title taken from him in such shocking fashion that he went on to fall on a Tsuk double pike, pushing him out of medal contention. He couldn’t even make it over to Luigi’s Couch of Horrors and had to sit in some stairwell about it that no one even knew was an option.
Note to all future events: You need a sadness stairwell in addition to the score couch.
Also fulfilling the prophecy of a preposterous men’s vault final was potential winner Artur Dalaloyan, who hit a glorious TTY as his first vault, but then for his second vault continued his assault on the Ri Se Gwang. And eyes. Yada yada yada, he definitely tucked it and shouldn’t have gotten credit, but DID, and also fell, and still sat in first place for a good long while.
I have produced a triptych to represent my thoughts about that:
It’s called “Unlucky.”
Dalaloyan was ultimately dislodged from first place by the simultaneously clean and difficult performance of Denis Abliazin who—you heard me—won TWO GOLD MEDALS at these European Championships despite being fully dead 14 minutes ago. And somehow that was the only non-crazy part of this final.
Competing last was Andrey Medvedev, who opened by drunkenly staggering back into dizzy oblivion on his first vault like that time you thought it would be fun to have a piñata at a party for adults and it went not great. On his second vault, however, Medvedev produced quite a nice front double pike.
And it got credited as tucked.
This was particularly ridiculous considering that Dalaloyan had just received credit for a pike shape on his tuck-burger, which meant the international peacekeeping organization called Coaches To The Rescue had to come in and submit an inquiry.
As far as I’m concerned, the inquiry consisted of just “GET EYES, BITCH” written in crayon. This inquiry was accepted, adding four tenths to Medvedev’s second vault score, and moving him from 4th up to 2nd.
Mixed feelings: On the one hand, the second vault was definitely piked and should have been credited as such in the first place. This was a correct inquiry. On the other hand, his first vault was not great, and his moving up to second meant both he and Dalaloyan’s fall placed ahead of Yahor Sharamkou of Belarus, who produced two clean vaults but ended up in 4th because of lower difficulty.
I blame the curse of Luigi
Jordan Peele and I are producing a horror film about Luigi the monkey mascot serial killer, out next summer
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.
It’s official. The WILD TEAM SOBBING cup has a new owner. Following the events of the 2015 world championships, the British women took control of the cup, bringing it home to Lilleshall where it has lived comfortably for the last three and a half years. Until now. The French finally wrested the cup out of British grasp today with their performance in the women’s all-around final of the European Championship. Using clean execution and the savvy difficulty bonus awarded for vicarious crying from the stands and trans-row weep-hugging, there was really nothing any other nation could do to match the astronomical score from the French.
Allowing the French the opportunity to take the Weepie Cup was the performance of Melanie De Jesus Dos Santos. De Jesus Dos Santos went from a questionable entrant in the all-around competition approximately 16 seconds ago to official European champion with her complete four-event performance, showing the cleanest execution of the entire meet on bars and beam to allow her to establish the slimmest margin over Ellie Downie, the silver medalist.
Less than a tenth of a point ultimately separated De Jesus Dos Santos and Downie, which heaped added significance upon the sorcery powers that DJDS demonstrated to not put her heel down out of bounds on her FTDLO landing on floor. That proved the difference between gold and silver. An OOB tenth would have switched it.
Ellie Downie will also be exceptionally pleased with her performance. Especially considering she has not been back to full-strength AA competition for very long at all, she put up a complete and confident meet that came only that one heel away from winning gold—just a couple tenths lower than her gold-medal score in 2017. This is the best gymnastics she has done in two years.
Ultimately, the result was fair despite its extreme closeness. Downie got the better of DJDS on vault, putting up the most powerful and controlled DTY of the competition that probably should have outscored the others by more than it did, but DJDS was a bit more precise on the remaining pieces overall, with consistent legs-together, extended positions on bars and more sureness in her beam landings. That said, Downie got through a whole beam routine with only minor checks, which was like a personal victory at Waterloo.
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.