Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Larisa Iordache: What London missed

Larisa has been hyped up for quite a while as the 'new Nadia'. Not a wild title as such, as there's usually a 'new Nadia' every quad from Romania. She went to London as an all-around favourite, a worthy foe of Vika and Gabby and with the highest potential difficulty. Sadly, she came nowhere near shining at her brightest. After a disastrous training session in London, it emerged that Larisa had plandular fasciitis, an extremely painful heel condition. Cortisone shots were ruled out as treatment as according to a USA team doctor, the heel is not an ideal place, it could make it worse and that he himself would not do it. Reports veered wildly, from Larisa was fine and was going to compete in the all-around and team finals, to she was only going to do bars and beam in team finals and was being pulled from the AA. Mariana Bitang publicly stated that it was a disaster and that Romania had no hope of medalling without her.

In the end, Larisa performed 4 routines in prelims, 3 in team finals, 4 in AA, and 1 in event finals. At no point was she showing her former brilliance due to the pain she was in. She used her bare minimum of difficulty initially, and then watered a full point down on her floor exercise in the all-around. A crash on her triple full in prelims and the impact of her double double clearly scared them into making her routine much safer, with the double double replaced by a full-twisting double back and her triple full downgraded to a double. Beam event finals was an unmitigated disaster. B&B gambled that she could outscore Bulimar if she stayed on the beam, and she certainly could have but she fell foul and came off on her full tuck. Given the state she was in, it is amazing she got through 12 competition routines at all. A sad loss for the all-around that she was too injured to really keep up. Here she is at her best, showing what she could have brought. At 16, she hopefully has a lot more to give than what was shown in London.

Skip to 0.22 for Larisa's really good amanar in the last one. Larisa had in potential start values a 6.5 vault, 6.3-6.5 bars, 6.8 beam and 6.7 floor.Even if you knock floor down a bit, that is amazing. Really hope she can make it to Rio, or at least one or more world championships.

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