It’s here. It’s finally here. The fifth-most important night of the elite gymnastics season. Just like you’ve always dreamed about. I hope you’re as excited as Sveta.
In the eternally wise words of Martha Karolyi, “THERE IS NO NEXT YEAR.”
But first, it has already been a busy day in the gymnastics world, beginning with the women’s team final at the European Championships. It looked like it would be a close-fought thing between Russia and Great Britain, but that turned out to be a thousand types of false. Great Britain poured into the arena today with a chronic case of the no-thank-yous, featuring a Harrold fall on bars followed by Fragapane and Becky Downie falls on beam. Today just wasn’t a good day. At all. Though if you’re looking for positives, silver at Euros was a huge accomplishment for Team GB as recently as 11 seconds ago. Now, Great Britain can have a poor day, fall all over the place, and still finish second rather comfortably.
It’s sort of a shame because I was getting ready to complain about how drastically Russia was being held up in executions scores (those vaults…), but it didn’t end up mattering because the Russians only managed to fall a distinctly un-Russian once (Seda’s inevitable mistake on her full on beam) and were therefore able to allow Mustafina to clomp through her half-a-floor-routine at the end and still win easily and deservedly.
In the clawing fight for bronze, France recovered from a bars catastrophe in qualification and hit nearly a complete meet, using superior bars D to outpace the home Swiss, who counted falls from Kaeslin on bars and Steingruber on beam again, an Italian team that improved on its qualification performance but was still a little too fallsy, and a Romanian team that had an unfortunate little beam experience that it could not afford coming off normal Romania bars.
The European Championship was directly connected via rebounding flight series into the junior Secret Classic, where WOGA’s much hyped Russian-named Russian-DNA Russian, Irina Alexeeva, triumphed by the slimmest of margins. Aleexeva has added a strong floor to her already well-publicized WOGA-junior-beam-Ohashi-magic, which helped her come out just ahead of Texas Dream Emma Malabuyo, who used a DTY to gain a bit of an edge but finished a touch behind Alexeeva on the remaining events. Gabby Perea of Legacy Elite sidled in for third, winning bars (as we would only expect from a Li family joint), but I was most impressed by her fantastically nailed beam routine in which she taught a clinic on how to land a full-twisting back.
Pre-event favorite Jordan Chiles finished fourth, following what has become a very, very familiar pattern for her. She hits a solid Amanar which makes everyone go, “WOW SHE’S THE BEST FUTURE WORLD CHAMPION OF ALL,” but then she falls on beam and flies out of bounds a couple times on floor to plummet down the rankings. Every time. Just behind Chiles were GLASSES Morgan Hurd, Maile O’Keefe, and Deanne Soza, all of whom had three strong events but one issue-riddled event, that event being beam for Soza and Hurd and bars for O’Keefe.
Fun fact: If the top-five juniors here (Alexeeva, Malabuyo, Perea, Chiles, and Hurd) had competed as a team at senior Euros today, they would have finished 0.162 behind Russia for gold.
But enough of that racket! It’s time for the seniors! What of the Raismanar? And the Hernandebars??? And the whoeverfloor????? Too many questions. Let’s get some answers. HA HA HA HA. Just kidding. We won’t get any answers today. It’s just Classic. Martha only wants you to be at 74% right now. Continue reading Secret Classic LIVE BLOG