Category Archives: Meet Recap

Cottbus Olympic Qualifier – Day 2 Review

Qualification is now complete at Cottbus, and finals will begin tomorrow. (8am ET/5am PT.) Here’s what went down on day 2 of the Olympic qualifier.

Men’s Vault

I’d classify men’s vault as the most wide-open of all 10 events in the race for the Olympic spot, and with every single one of the likely qualification suspects in the Cottbus field advancing to the final, we…still don’t know a ton.

The top qualifier and favorite for the title, Igor Radivilov, is ineligible for the Olympic spot by virtue of qualifying with a team at worlds, so his points should be redistributed to the rest of the group regardless of how he does. Tying for second with an average of 14.549 were Yahor Sharamkou and Colin Van Wicklen. Heading into this competition, both athletes were sort of pecking around the outside of the group of likely Olympic contenders but could bring themselves into the top tier with 30 points at this meet.

Continue reading Cottbus Olympic Qualifier – Day 2 Review

Cottbus Olympic Qualifier – Day 1 Review

The first day of qualification is complete in Cottbus, and here’s what you need to know.

Men’s Floor

The big pre-competition news coming out of men’s floor was the withdrawal of Emil Soravuo of Finland, who is currently second (among eligible athletes) in the Olympic qualification race and appeared to be the most likely challenger to Rayderley Zapata. Soravuo’s departure cleared the way for Zapata to feel more comfortable with his position, but being Zapata he still had to keep things interesting and just barely make the final with an E score in the 7s. But the important thing is that he’s in the final with a chance to right things on Saturday and get the necessary points to retain the position of Olympic qualification favorite.

With a 6.4 D score and superior execution, Kazuki Minami of Japan advanced to the final in first place, two tenths clear of Kirill Prokopev, followed by Milad Karimi (already qualified to Olympics), then Hayden Skinner, Nikita Ignatyev, and Colin Van Wicklen.

The challenge for all of these athletes is an absence of previous results. Van Wicklen is the only one among them currently with any ranking points (and not thaaaat many himself), so showing up at this point and finishing 3rd or 4th at some meets isn’t really going to do anything in the Olympic race. These other athletes have to consistently win because Zapata has such a head start.

But if Minami keeps doing floor routines with that kind of score, he has a chance to move up the standings very very (very) quickly. This floor thing isn’t over.

In sad news, Donnell Whittenburg got a 3 for a short routine on floor and withdrew from rings.

Continue reading Cottbus Olympic Qualifier – Day 1 Review

Paris World Cup

**Note on the appearance of the site. I was trying out a new format. There were some things I liked (stylistically and the mobile version) and some things I didn’t (the organization of posts on the desktop version), so I’m back to the old way for now. I reserve the right to keep playing around because there are also some functionality issues I’ve never been quite happy with on the old one.

Honestly, the most noteworthy feature of the Paris World Cup was the gigantic size and volume of the crowd—I mean, especially when we’re used to elevens of silent people.

This was particularly evident in the men’s floor final, when the phalanx of children in the crowd were instructed to scream ALLEZ (either that or AHHHLJKEDHFLKSHDLSHD, hard to say) on every tumbling pass. It was…sure a thing. But of course, they all lost steam about 2/3 of the way through the final because they were expending too much energy too early. So if you went up later in the order, you just got the sputtering of an old steam engine. Anyway…

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European Games and Junior Worlds – Day 4

We’ve got 15 event finals to go through from today (and I even watched like…13 of them?), so let’s get moving.

European Games

Men’s floor

You know that thing where you overcook a triple back? Where a triple back is just such an easy boring baby skill that you accidentally go too far around and end up stumbling backward OOB and into Russian airspace? Yahor Sharamkou and Dmitrii Lankin do. Both had oopsies of varying degrees on their triple back landings to take themselves out of medal contention and clear the way for top qualifier Emil Soravuo to win the gold with his lovely, superior landing control. Soravuo becomes the first x-ray to win a gold medal in gymnastics at a European Games .

What? Really? Just Finnish? Cool.

Giarnni Regini-Moran recovered from his AA performance, where a no-no on pommel horse took him way down the standings, to win the silver medal here (also downgrading his difficulty 3 tenths from qualification which seemed to work out), and Petro Pakhniuk also avoided any kind of massive landing disasters to win bronze.

Women’s vault

Fun coincidence that June 30th is actually International Angelina Melnikova Day because she had herself quite a performance in the event finals today, raking in three more medals to bring her meet total to 2 golds and 2 silvers across 5 events. If she had made the floor final, a Simone-ish 3 golds and 2 silvers would have been quite realistic.

Props to #2 qualifier Marina Nekrasova for trying to bring it in the final by upgrading to a handspring rudi, but also…maybe not that? She landed sideways and very much on her hands and hips to fall out of medal contention and clear the path for the other three qualifiers who have top difficulty, Teja Belak, Angelina Melnikova, and Sara Peter. In a bit of a surprise, however, it was Belak winning gold with some of the best landings we’ve ever seen from her on both her handspring front full and her Y1.5. No “it’s the final so I fell” problems this time. Melnikova had some lunges on her landings but mostly did her normal, and Peter vaulted cleanly enough but had to deal with a 0.2 disadvantage in D score compared to Melnikova, which put her in 3rd.

Pommel horse

Hit for a medal! Hit for a medal! Step right up and hit for a medal! The thing about these six-person finals at European Games is that a lot of people fall on pommel horse. So here, we had three falls, which meant that everyone who stayed on got a medal. Sadly, likely medalist Cyril Tommasone was one of the fall casualties, as was Marios Georgiou, who nonetheless successfully managed to return from his into-the-volcano high bar adventure yesterday to compete in multiple finals here.

Their misses opened the door for Belarus’s own salt-and-pepper fox Andrey Likhovitskiy to take a bronze medal. His difficulty is a little lower, his rhythm a little slower than the top workers in this final, but he stayed on the thing. The fight for gold, meanwhile, came down to Belyavskiy and Verniaiev, as you might have expected, with the decisive factor being that top-qualifier Verniaiev was given a D score three tenths lower than he received in qualification—putting him .133 behind Belyavskiy in the final standings.

Verniaiev filed an inquiry about his score, leading to this glorious moment when the final was over and the two were waiting to see who had won.

Can this be one of those memes where the people put the words over the people? That the kids do? With their skateboards? Continue reading European Games and Junior Worlds – Day 4

European Games and Junior Worlds – Day 3

European Games

The all-around finals at the European Games delivered a day of…not surprises? At least not at the very top, where #1 qualifiers Angelina Melnikova and David Belyavskiy both snatched the all-around gold medals that were rightfully theirs.

Melnikova’s victory was, of course, not without the requisite Russian WAG amount of drama. Some hesitations on bars and grabbing the beam on her layout (which counts as enough of a miss that you are freed from having to run naked through the streets) meant that Melnikova did not develop the edge on the rest of the field that she might have otherwise. Why they’ve brought that layout back into her routine, I…sigh. It may be the first ever routine composition decision based purely on spite.

P.S. Vanessa Atler’s Comaneci called and said no it’s not.

Those errors meant that Lorette Charpy ended up leading the competition much of the way as she put together a remarkably solid and unterrifying performance amidst this house of horrors of an all-around final (more on that later). Charpy enjoyed an advantage of about 4 tenths on Melnikova heading to vault, which was the final piece for the leaders (also more on that later). But, since Melnikova has a DTY and Charpy an FTY, that scenario was always going to favor Melnikova, and she came through with a strong enough vault to move ahead of Charpy and win the title by a little over 3 tenths. That Melnikova had a difficulty advantage of 1.3 over Charpy yet gave a point back on execution illuminates what a smoothly executed day it was for Charpy, with her composed beam routine standing out in particular because…she didn’t just plummet to the ground at every moment. Truly remarkable.

Few others had such a strong performance—although one who did was Charpy’s teammate Aline Friess, who took an unexpected 4th place with 52.699, though we didn’t get to see her routines, so I don’t have a lot to say about that. Huge result for her, and a 6-tenth improvement on her 4th-place performance at French nationals.

It looked to all the world like Diana Varinska had taken herself out of medal contention in the first rotation with a fall on her between-the-bars Jaeger, but she…hit her other three events? And on a day like this, that was enough for 52.699 and a comeback bronze medal.

Some of the other potential medalists were not so lucky with their mistakes. Varinska’s teammate Bachynska fell on every possible skill—and then again just sneezing at the hotel—to finish 14th out of 18 gymnasts with a sub-50 total, while Denisa Golgota fulfilled the prophecy on bars in the first rotation and there was no coming back from that. Georgia-Mae Fenton had qualified in 2nd place, but she struggled to get her DTY around today and looks to have had a problem on beam to finish 8th overall.

Another gymnast who withstood being semi-disastrous to claw back to a respectable all-around finish was Aleksandra Schekoldina. She fell on her acro series on beam in the first rotation and it looked like it would be another one of those days, but she hit the remaining pieces, which meant she finished 5th. Have I mentioned that this meet wasn’t cute? But definitely fun.

Except for the psychotic breakdown that is the European Games format. Building on having 18 people in the AA finals, and 6 people in event finals, and a one-per country rule for event finals, the European Games also decided that the lead group in the women’s AA would start on bars instead of vault, and that apparently the new four-event order for the women goes high bar, floor, uneven bars, vault. At least, that’s how I read this graphic.

WHAT IS THIS IMAGERY? Lorette’s score of 13.500 on Sad Mustache just wasn’t quite enough for gold.

European Games did have to run the men’s and women’s all-arounds simultaneously, which is why this weird rotation order happened—otherwise there would have been floor exercise conflicts since they both have to use it. But of course the women were the ones who had to change their procedure, and the women’s competition ended a rotation before the men’s so that the culmination of the meet just had the men on the floor and the women standing around. Organizers of multi-sport events forget that we don’t tolerate your “women are the side show” nonsense in this sport. Continue reading European Games and Junior Worlds – Day 3