Well it didn’t go great!
Following a fairly dominant qualification performance in which Romania outscored Ukraine by 4.600, the Romanian team looked to be resting on a cloud of chocolates heading into a European team final that was theirs for the winning.
That favorite status, however, ignored Romania’s virtuosic ability to find new and creative ways to fall apart on bars. Ioana Stanciulescu led off Romania’s bars rotation with a 9.800 that eliminated Romania’s entire potential advantage in one fell swoop. Fell being the operative word. The 9.800 (and 4.600 execution score) looks a bit harsh for what was basically your run-of-the-mill two-fall routine, but the second fall (after a missed Ray) was handstand based, with Stanciulescu repeatedly going over on a handstand and trying to correct before ultimately deciding it was a lost cause and hopping off. It was that avalanche of handstand deductions PLUS the subsequent fall that made the score look even worse than the routine actually was.
Sfiringu also had problems on bars, throwing in a rarely seen accidental tucked Jaeger that ended up torpedoing her execution score and giving her an even lower total than she received in qualification when she actually fell (scoring here was also much tighter on bars and floor than it was on the first day).
Ukraine didn’t try to do a ton on bars—Varinska and Bachynska both dismounted with double tucks and Varinska went for only a 5.1 D score, the lowest for any of the Ukrainian or Romanian athletes despite being Varinska. That not trying to do a lot strategy was quite effective compared to Romania’s light-the-toilet-on-fire strategy and gave Ukraine an advantage of more than 4 points because of bars alone.Continue reading Ukraine Defeats Romania: A Postmortem