Friday 19 April 2013

Mustafina V Iordache

What a great competition!


- Aliya Mustafina recovering so well after a shaky beam routine and not once having the lead to confidently winning after an exquisite bars routine. European champion in front of a home crowd two years after THAT injury is delightful to see.
- Anastasia Grishina hitting 4/4 and nailing her routines at that. Seeing her mount a beam is so tense, and her routine blew me away. Fabulous bars too, though the Russian tap swings make me cry. Not to mention the best DTY I've ever seen her do. She was so thrilled with her performance, let's hope onwards and upwards to challenge for an AA spot at worlds.
- Larisa Iordache and Diana Bulimar on beam. I see Larisa's shoddy toepoint and Diana's lack of difficulty but I just want to score impossibly high on the basis of their incredibly solid work. Just awesome to watch them in action.
- Ruby Harrold's beam mount. I'm disgusted I haven't even seen her beam before..I was of the opinion only her bars were worth looking for. Anyway, fabulously original- a lovely press to handstand, followed by a Healy turn to one foot onto the beam. Amazing! And very reminiscent of Liu Xuan's crazy backbreaker mount. The rest of Ruby's routine was great too. It's easy to see now why she made beam finals.
- Giulia Steingruber's performance. Another who has absolutely made a case for herself as an AA gymnast, rather than a specialist. Giulia has had issues with her beam this year, but that was not in evidence today, both beam and bars have caught up with her very strong vault and floor. Great bars releases, fabulous vaulting, and a full twisting DLO and normal DLO in the one floor routine! It's almost baffling to see her follow those tumbles up with a double twist, presumably she has plans to upgrade that. Rough around the ages but a very exciting gymnast nonetheless. And I am so in love with her beam dismount, looks deceptively easy compared to the usual fare but it requires a lot of power and finesse.
- Noemi Makra's piked full-in is so so pretty. This girl has exceptional execution but is not rewarded for it, her scoring was quite harsh I thought.
- Anastasia Grishina's Onodi-illusion was perfection. It was great to see how in line to the beam it was too.
- A very confident major competitive debut from Elisa Meneghini, who is really nice to watch on beam and floor in particular. Hopefully some upgrades are in store for her.
- Larisa Iordache and Diana Bulimar nailing their bars after disastrous sets in qualifications. Clearly never going to win prizes for them, but good to see nonetheless. Except for Larisa's Shelgunova-Sheep-Pak which was horrifying. Hopefully a fluke.
- Really great day for Roxana Popa. Beautiful DTY which I thought was underscored. Hopefully she can continue to make strides and upgrade a bit.
- Ilaria Kaeslin's bars. Gorgeous body line.

Anastasia Grishina's enormous smile after that glorious beam routine to end her competition made my day. I know she fell twice in qualifying but she has hit so much this year, can't help but think she will continue to improve. I hope her difficulty can be worked on a bit too to keep her up with the best, especially when Viktoria Komova returns to competition. Diana Bulimar too could not but be happy with her performance, she's a lot of fun to watch and even her bars were not painful.


Tough actually, as most gymnasts especially those nearing the top of the leaderboard had no major errors.

- Gabby Jupp not competing. Again, hoping they are just being very cautious and that her injury is very minor.
- Noel Van Klaveren having a dissapointing day, with a lot of steps back on her strong DTY and then a very awkward bars dismount, which I believe she put her hands down on. Hopefully she can redeem herself in vault finals.
- Non-broadcast of Noemi Makra's routines and 3/4 of Ilaria Kaeslin's. I know they can't show everyone and neither are near being a medal threat but I am a huge fan of the beautiful gymnastics both girls showcase so I will continue to irrationally complain!
- BBC commentary! No Matt Baker and no Mitch Fenner. Whoever commentated with Christine Still was a bit annoying. Big emphasis on small gymnasts being powerful, a surprise every time he witnessed it when we all know that huge skills tend to come easier to stocky short girls. The state of Mustafina's triple was also completely unexpected for him, I could hear the exclamation marks in his voice. Plenty of 'what do you think about that then!' after strong routines which grated on me. I did want to scream at Christine at one point when she said in the first rotation that Elisa Meneghini is the reigning junior Euros champion. Her male co-commentator repeated this too. The champion is actually Enus Mariani who not alone was not competing, but is actually not elegible as she's still a junior. Now we all make mistakes but she said it again in the fourth rotation..I was hoping someone corrected her in the meantime! I do like commentary but I found today's distinctly mediocre at times.
- I did think that Aliya Mustafina was a little overscored, it seemed that other gymnasts had to work harder for their execution scores. I know she had a high d-score on beam to cushion her but 8.0 execution for that was a bit excessive, and her DTY's sloppy second twist went completely under the radar of the judges who must have let the fabulously stuck landing cloud them. Lesser known gymnasts in other rotations were absolutely not given the benefit of the doubt, by comparison.

Best beam: Anastasia Grishina, followed by Larisa Iordache and Diana Bulimar
Best bars: Aliya Mustafina, followed by Anastasia Grishina and Ida Gustaffson
Best vault: Roxana Popa, followed by Giulia Steingruber and Anastasia Grishina
Best floor: Larisa Iordache, followed by Diana Bulimar and Anastasia Grishina

Favourite leotard: Giulia Steingruber. A variation of an old favourite but the design is a classic and the colour was beautiful and suited her down to the ground. Stunning. Aliya Mustafina was gorgeous in red, I am still fussy about the shape of the mesh at the neck but it's much nicer in red I think. I also liked Noemi Makra's, simple but lovely.

Worst leotard: Larisa Iordache. I'm a sucker for the Pikachu leo, but while it was skimpy on her last year it's absolutely obscene now. There's no excuse for her to be channeling Catalina Ponor on this and being able to see it ending above her tracksuit bottoms at the side was just a bit gross really.

I was so excited about being able to see it on TV, makes a change from foreign-language streams. It does not look like the event finals will be broadcast in full on BBC though so it's back to the UEG stream for me for tomorrow and Sunday. As expected this stream is not working outside of Europe but there is another stream that works worldwide. You can find the Europe-only stream here and the worldwide stream here. Onto event finals we go! Larisa Iordache for beam, Ksenia Afanasyeva for floor, Giulia Steingruber for vault and Aliya Mustafina for bars methinks. Maria Paseka will put up a hell of a fight for vault but I think if Giulia stays clean and has good landings she should edge it. Hopefully. The other events are much more certain.

Here is the entire AA final! I love youtube.

What did you like/dislike today? Favourite routines? Picks for EF? How on earth is Larisa comfortable wearing that monstrosity?


  1. So happy to watch Euros! This is the first big comp I've managed to watch properly apart from the Olympics, which was lovely. I watched the Euros broadcast not the BBC one, so was spared any commentary though at least the BBC commentators are quite kind generally. I was nail-biting at the start with Aliya, but she bounced back in the way she does best. It looked like she took some things out from what she performed in the Stella Cup thing, but she stayed on which was the most important.

    My pics of the best:
    - Mustafina bouncing back, wish she had upped bars and really hoping she changes up her twisting passes on floor to a DLO or some kinda combi, her turns were great today though
    - Grishy finally fulfilling some of her potential and looking so calm and assured AND showing Valentina Rodioneko up
    - Didi looked really sharp and confident other than on bars, hoping Bellu and Bitang appreciate her more (and can they please change her floor music)
    - Ruby Harrold!! So proud of what a great job she did since everyone (herself included) only thought she had a shot at bars, but she clearly is one of those gymnasts who competes well and I love how she has continually improved over her performances in the last few months. I love how interesting her work is too.
    - Steingruber was awesome (apart from bars, can't get over the cowboyed dismount)

    On the whole I thought Aliya was slightly overscored, Grishina has lovely form so can't complain on that front. Didi was underscored on both beam and floor. I can accept Larisa getting whacked for execution on her beam, but Didi's form was good as always. Larisa's form on bars was not this bad over the past few years so I don't know what has happened to it.

    Leotards: Worst was still Vasilliki Millousi in quals though the Romanians really need to figure out how to dress their post-puberty gymnasts more decently. Also, wish they hadn't re-used those old leos for the AA day, they had much better on display the last few days.

    1. Ah good thing it was such a great competition then after your long wait! I watched American Cup and Doha, everything else was just individual uploads.

      I'd say Mustafina can get her bars back to 6.7-6.8 range. With the code change I don't see her 7.0 happening with her London routine unless they deliberately change things around or upgrade. He Kexin's routine is now a 6.8, down from 7.1. I'd say she'll have upgraded a bit for Universiade alright and then gradually add in more.

      Really enjoyed watching Didi and Grishina today. Didi's bars were I think better than Larisa's except for the flat Tkachev, execution wise she looked sharper, but of course has lesser difficulty.

      Yes, great result for Ruby! I'd agree nobody expected that. Ah you just reminded me about that was 80's and hideous and needs to go.

      I was shocked at Didi's beam score. That was a textbook perfect routine, but then her d-score is pretty low. I'd forgotten Mustafina has netted herself 6.4 on beam! However Didi's tumbling is sloppy so I don't have an issue with her execution getting penalised there. Christine Still thought she got penalised for lack of artistry on beam. Interesting if so!

      I hated Charlie Fellows' leo. I thought she did well but they were commentating her bars as if they were Komova-lovely when in fact the execution and form left quite a lot to be desired. Yeah I loved Didi's leo from yesterday. Millousi's was absolutely shocking, worst I've seen in quite a while..

    2. I didn't really see much of Charlie Fellows' leo, was trying to get some work done in the downtime for some of the routines. I did see her bars and they were not terrible but certainly somewhat laboured and slow.

      I was slightly puzzled at Didi's floor, since she was slightly underrotated on two passes which is unusual, I think the full-in and the double pike to end. Her music always makes me feel like I've got heart palpitations! I like Larisa's much better.

      Hope Musty's beam will get up to scratch. Clearly she can do it, but it may be a question of how consistent she can get it. Since she's Musty I'd be willing to bet on her ability to make it when it counts but if she was Grishina I'd say forget it. Don't see that there's much to deduct from beam for artistry? How artistic can you really get on beam... and Ponor was the least artistic possible on beam. Can't exactly say the Italians are either though I love their attack.

      Didn't see Alexandrov at all.. not even after Musty won. It would be sad if they really had a falling out though neither of them seem like the easiest to work with.

    3. Her leo was hot pink, in an especially metallicy-plasticy fabric. I'm sick of Didi's music! I hope she gets new music soon...

      Mustafina's beam at Stella Z cup was SO solid, except for the huge pause before the dismount. I think she's reworked it a bit, but there's a lot that she plays around with it..not always doing the arabian for one. I think if your routine makes no effort to have cohesive link of elements they can deduct. The judges were shown Omelianchik's 85 routine as an example of what beam routines should be at a meeting! Doesn't hurt that she herself is a brevet judge but no arguments that her beam was perfection..

      Alexandrov was not there. He was on the original roster but then replaced. There's speculation about that and it could of course have been more political stuff, or he could have come down with the flu or something..his absence certainly didn't negatively impact his gymnast anyway!

    4. Hmm Ponor may not have been the most artistic on beam. But I do disagree that she was one of the least artistic gymnasts on beam. She certainly was a fast beam worker but she always had a rhythm that was rather Romanian but it worked for her. I'd actually wish Iordache would take a page out of Ponor's book and just slow down slightly. Keep a fast rhythm since it works but there is fast and then ultra fast.

      The Russians have some unique choreography but the Italians shine more in my opinion. Also Russians are slower and may have better rhythm but they also do way more balance checks which disrupt the flow of their routines. The Chinese also have a slower rhythm to the Romanians but they're always really good at connecting. One complaint against Deng Linlin's Olympic Gold routine is she lacked rhythm. I'd agree but her form was fabulous and her connections were made. And one argument against Sui Lu for me is the constant feet shuffling she would do.

      Did grishina even get deducted for her artistry I'm rather confused as I don't actually get the point you're trying to argue. I do believe the Russians should always make their beam prettier than say the Russians. They're still in the process of developing their routines but you can see in Mustafina's the development of some unique moves going together. I'm sure they'll get better as time goes on. I do love Grishina's illusion turn connection.

      But one thing about the 80s or even going back to when Caslavska performed. Is they cohesively linked their elements together. Most gymnasts today do some very difficult elements but the linkages so reminiscent of the 80s or even the 90s are missing now.

    5. I just don't really think you can find much artistry on beam apart from cohesively linked elements, a nice rhythm and good form, so I think it would be unfair if Didi really did get execution deducted for lack of artistry, because she (and the rest of the Romanians and Italians) satisfy those, in my opinion. I love nice classical work but I don't think graceful handwaving on beam should make a difference in artistry.

    6. I agree about the Romanian style. I LOVE watching them on beam, snappy, solid. I think I will end up preferring Munteanu though as she has exquisite form and leaps too. It was just a comment Christine Still made during the broadcast- that maybe Bulimar got deducted for lack of artistry. It just reminded me that FIG were showing the Omelianchik video as the 'ideal'.

      Yes, Deng had too many tiny pauses I thought and it just didn't flow that well. Sui's was better at that at least.

      Nope sorry I meant Bulimar, not Grishina. I wouldn't even have thought that, just that Still said so. It was tweeted somewhere else- by theallaround I think 'Great routine but no attempt at choreography'. I find myself not really caring if Romanians don't arm-wave though.

      I'm really looking forward to seeing Mustafina's beam at Universiade. I LOVED the Stella Z routine except for the huge preparation for dismount. I will be sorry to see the back of the double tuck if it's replaced with a twisting dismount though. There's speculation she could do a Patterson. I'm sure she could, but not at the end of a routine anytime soon.

  2. It seems like everyone agrees that Aliya was overscored. Her beam and floor scores were more than I expected. I agree with the result but the score gap bw aliya and Larisa shouldn't be that huge!
    Didi was definitely underscored in her floor... everything looked pretty good except for that weird double layout. I just can't stand a double layout with leg separation. Her beam could've scored more as well.
    As a Nastia fan, I was soooo glad to see her finally breaking through her mental barrier. I mean, she didn't have any major mistake other than the OOB on floor! Hopefully Valentina doesn't get rid of her when Vika comes back. She deserves a chance!

    1. Ah now, you underestimate the crazy Musty stalker fans! I'd say they all have no issue with her scoring. It's a pity they haven't introduced an extreme leg-crossing deduction because the triple can't actually be deducted that much under the code. I would still argue it's not worth doing and she should slot a double layout into the routine instead (in place of the 2.5-punchfront), but there are people arguing her triple should be downgraded which makes no sense at all.

      I think Rodionenko is a little annoyed that she's wrong. Again. As for Didi's floor, her piked full-in is a mess too but I'd need to look at her execution scores again.

    2. I think what she can do is add that double layout she's been practicing, and upgrade her spins. It seems like Aliya did a memmel+1 (3 front split spin). Are they going to name it after her? Her triple spin can be upgraded to Gomez. I though her spins yesterday were amazing! I don't know what she should do with her triple twist... Maybe she can just get rid of it altogether. What skill would you recommend to her if you were her coach?

    3. I'm no code expert but I'd LOVE to see her routine consist of double arabian-stag, double layout, 1.5 to double tuck, triple Y turn, gomez, double L-normal double and then the more usual leaps. Would require more stamina than she's showing at the moment though.

  3. Oh and I can't comment on gymtruthteller's blog for some reason but I don't really think it's all that fair to compare Euros with the new US seniors from Jesolo. Musty, Didi and Larisa are not performing their full difficulty, and they've just gone through an entire Olympic cycle, with some time off and recovery from injuries, growing/puberty that I think more time is still needed to evaluate. Hopefully they can upgrade and fix problems by Worlds. The US has such huge depth that there are always new talented ambitious 16 year olds chomping at the heels of the current leaders, and they haven't gone through having to peak for London etc. Whereas even the other big gymnastics nations are having trouble with depth right at the top... it's a bit unfortunate.

    As you can tell I am not really a fan of US gymnastics!

    1. It's a bit premature, though they were comparing with scoring in Europe. I also think Euros scoring was quite harsh on non-Russians whereas Jesolo and Chemnitz were more generous. I don't see Kyla Ross breaking a 59 internationally again with a 5.3 floor and 5.8 beam for instance. Simone will be impossible to beat if she makes no mistake, her combined d-scores will just be out of reach. I'm a sucker for powerful difficult routines (non-sloppy) just as much as an artistic beautiful one, but I will admit US have been at the top for a while now and it'd be nice to see more fight from other countries for the top.

  4. Oh my goodness, poor Larisa in that leotard. That had to be uncomfortable, having the leotard pulling like that. Thank goodness it appears to be well made. Can you imagine if it just burst in the middle of competition? Plus, it can't feel right having to roll all that wrap around her hips to try to keep the leotard from being indecent.

    I really loved Roxana Popa's leotard. It was a lovely color and a different design than the usual ones we see all the time. The Spanish have come a long way in their leo choices. Maybe they can talk to Romania?

    1. The issue I had with Roxana's leo is that it looked a bit..skimpy at the front, with not much more than mesh right down the front on both sides. Pretty though. Maybe she can tell them- she was born in Romania! I really love the leotards Larisa and Didi wear, it's a shame they are fitted for 12 year old Larisa.

    2. Yes, but I believe there was nude fabric lining the mesh. It looked more substantial than just plain mesh and the color looked different than it would have if it was just over skin. I actually liked that about the leotard because I hadn't seen mesh used that way before.

      I was watching the event on Youtube though so maybe I didn't see it accurately. If it was indeed plain mesh, it would have been very skimpy!

    3. It still looked a bit risky, just because of the colour. I have an aversion to nude anything in a leo-mesh, fabric, ice-skater stuff! Millousi's qualification leo is a thing of horror.

  5. Larisa's leo today was AGAIN so skimpy.. please, Romanian federation, buy your gymnasts more decent leotards.

    Nice redemption for Paseka on bars, though I'm gutted that Becky Downie and Ruby fell. I think Ruby will still get more chances at international comps after her performance in the all round. I love her Zuchold and her guts for trying it but sometimes I wonder if she might not be better off doing something safer. Not sure Becky Downie will get many more tries since she has quite a history of crashing in the big finals. The pressure to hit at home must have been huge, Musty's dead hang was so uncharacteristic for her.

    Noel van Klaveren was exquisite today! Love her form and her lines, and beautifully 100% laid out on the Pod. I also think she's really pretty. Steingruber was awesome as always and she looked so confident, it was good to see.

    1. It didn't seem AS bad, but yes, bad. The girl has just won 4 medals, I think they should buy her some well-fitting leos. I will say her leos are beautiful, she's probably my favourite gymnast for leos..but the cut, ughh it's not worth it.

      In a way I am gutted they fell and in a way not because of who DID get silver and bronze! The joy on Adlerteg's face was just lovely, and of course Paseka getting her redemption and proving that she's relevant on more than one event. I prefer Harrold's skills and composition but Downie's form and line, Harrold is a bit scrappy. But Downie has been more consistent this year so far than Harrold, hard to tell which of them will be at worlds, I doubt both of them.

      I wouldn't say Mustafina's dead hang was due to pressure. She has insane mental determination and focus, I think it was moreso tiredness..her endurance is not great yet. A very well deserved win, but wow the judges totally ignored her dead hang. She deserved her medals but she was getting inflated a bit all weekend.

      I love Noel! She could do with more height, but her form is to die for.

  6. I will have to watch the youtube becaue I missed it, but I was happy for Mustafina of course, but also Grishina. Valentina was making all these bad comments about her from the start, so it's nice to see her shut her up.

    1. Haha yes it's nice that Rodionenko is wrong when she pours negativity on fabulous gymnasts. Somehow I don't think many will believe her next time. I'm so thrilled about Grishina's consistency record at Euros!

  7. You don't like pikachu? I had watched that cartoon since I was 6 or 7 with my brother hehe (I don't watch it now but I sometimes play gameboy :P) and I so love that haha. But I feel bad for that too high cut leo definitely and I wonder why Didi has 4 new leo so far this year while Lari only shows one(what she wore today)... Maybe Lari is still growing or those new leo from Didi actually is old but she never had chance to wear in past two years?...

    I'm delighted to see Didi can bring two medals home:) She did well in this week expecially her beam. I'm so nervous while she's on beam and after she hit, I clapped my hands agitated in front of computer hahah (I didn't say "Bravo, Didi!" as my mom would glare at me with strange look hehe) Now Bitang can upgrade her D score... Do you think aerial to sheep jump is a good idea to her? I think after those falls she will be scared by this skill but she did well and that is much better than she did when she's junior. I hope her D score could be at least 6.3.... She's capable of it.
    As for floor, I hope she will have whole new routine (with tumbling includes full twisting DLO, DLO, and not piked full-in ,new music with mature choreo) and D score could be at least 6.2 a bit too unrealistic as Bellu won't teach her D+B cheating turn LOL (You know what I mean right?)
    And with more time practicing,I hope her DTY can improve day by day.(She didn't do very well in comp but better than Lari's IMO) Hope it can be as well as that in PT all the time! (with great height and distance, plus beautiful straight position and twisting form)
    Bars is ordinary as usual... She actually did well (Takchev was bad obviously) but she doesn't have confidence on that apparatus :( That's always their coaches fault. I mean can not execute well or have higher difficulty. They didn't qualify to EF while two Swedish all qualified and one even got silver.... How sad for ROU :(

    So many things I want to discuss with you. What a pity we couldn't discuss together while watching the game!

    1. I found Pokemon really annoying, but the Pokemon themselves really cute. Loved Pikachu, Squirtle, Magikarp...can't remember any more. But we used to think the people who spent their whole breaktimes with the cards as total losers..I think the cards came here when I was 10.

      I LOVE the Pikachu leo and the rest of her leos but the cut is ridiculous. I really loved her leo from today as well. Didi's new leos are great, I like the qualification one, the AA one was fine but not as exciting and her one today really suited her..and channelled the glorious Mattie Larson who wore it too.

      Yes and a fourth place! It will remind them of her worth at least. She needs a new floor badly. I'm not sure about the sheep jump! I think straddle leaps would be good, 1/4 or 1/2 varieties. I think she can make her layout into a full at least. Her acro is so solid, they should concentrate on upgrading that. I'd love to see her with those two passes, like Steingruber! But she's landed her double pike low more than once so maybe she needs more endurance first before attempting it. Or maybe she can go to 3 passes, a double double, full twisting DLO and then her third pass maybe the 1.5 to double tuck still.

      I thought her DTY was pretty good, better than I expected. I don't see it becoming an amanar anytime soon either though. You normally say Y720 and I have to scramble to figure it out ha. Her AA bars were so good for her! It's great to see how hard she worked there. The Tkachev was fairly brutal alright, I will continue to hope that can be fixed. It would be amazing if she and Larisa can get their bars up to score 14.5 or so, if they can't then they are sunk. Larisa especially. I really thought her bars had great potential last year with her potential 6.5 routine but they seem to have deteriorated a bit.

      Haha ah while I do hope Romania sort their bars out..I love seeing other countries sneak in! And 6 medals won by two girls, whereas Russia needed all 4 for the same impressive.

      Yeah pity! Especially as it was probably at a good timezone for us both, late morning for me and evening for you I think.

  8. I think It was by superstition that Larisa wore the old pikachu leo.

    1. Yes, she certainly did well both years in it! And then why it made an appearance in London EF. But it would be amazing if she could order it in a better cut. All of her leos, much as I love them.

  9. Nice thongs Larisa. Who put Cata in charge of ordering the Romanian leos? Larisa looks A LOT older to me, I suppose the puberty bug has caught up to her. She would not be out of place at my high school where as Didi still looks like a seventh grader.

    The AA: Hmmm. I agree with the overall result, but there was no way that there should have been .6 between first and second. Aliya got very generous scores on every event. Her twisting form has further detoriorated and is just incredibly fugly at this point. Her floor is rather underwhelming, the triple twist and double tuck need to go. Perhaps they can both be replaced by the double layout, and some E and D spins. Beam needs upgrades, plus consistency. Vault I think is about as good it will get, fug form but she sticks it all the time. Actually I think she could do an Amanar now, but she seems to be in pain and I can't imagine her risking it ever again. Bars- not fantastic, obviously much better than anything the US or Romania will cook up. I think she needs another release move-Gienger (sp?) maybe?

    Larisa- I feel like she got slightly underscored on floor and beam. Vault was pretty fair. Actually, had she not done the hideous Shelgunova-Pak, I think she would have deserved to win. She needs work on bars if she wants gold at Worlds. And an Amanar. The leo fit sucked, and probably incurred deductions. What Belu is thinking sending his gymnasts out like that, I have no idea. I would be embarrassed to wear such a revealing leotard. Larisa doesn't appear to mind it, she's no Maroney but I suppose not everyone dresses as conservatively as I think they should.

    Grishy-Good performance, nice surprise from her. I was so glad to see her instead of Afan in AA finals. I found it laughable that some people thought that Afan had a shot at AA gold. Low d scores on everything but a decent vault and she stayed on beam! I thought her bars were great, better than Musty's. Had she not headcased qualifying, she could have challenged for gold in EF. I feel like she didn't get the benefit of the doubt nearly as much as Aliya. On an unrelated note, her bangs were completely hideous, reminiscent of Karpenko's infamous fringe. Blech.

    Didi-Underscored slightly on beam and floor. The judges were quite blatantly favoring the Russians, I'm afraid. Vault and bars pretty good, but needs to work on form and upgrading. Giulia-Much improved! Underscored slightly, needs work on form but a very solid performance from her! Love the beam dismount and her leo.

    part 1...

    1. Hahaha I've discovered Romania get their leos from a brand called Moreau, fabulous designs and great on the tiny gymnasts..not so much the taller and older girls. Mustafina's beam is going for 6.8 difficulty in the end but she's understandably unable to push the boat out yet as regards difficulty. 6.4 is impressive at this point, I LOVE her connections. Her bars are full of single elements, once she gets them together the score will jump up, and the dismount can have the extra half twist too. She has said the amanar is not in her sights this year but it may be next year. Larisa could do with one though, she needs a cushion of difficulty.

      In a way I prefer Mustafina's because she has extremely few Russian taps, Grishina has far more and those things are hideous. But then Mustafina is sickling bigtime but I've only noticed it recently, I think I turned a blind eye before when her routine was snappier and more dynamic.

      I don't believe Ponor ever got stung for a deduction, and hers were worse. China 1992-3 is still the worst and the only one I've ever heard of getting the deduction.

      Didi's beam got a fair score in the EF, I'd agree it was too low in the AA. I did think they had to work harder for their scores, whereas Mustafina was gifted hers..though she still would have won both golds regardless. It makes Larisa and Diana's huge haul of medals more impressive.

      Haha I have a soft spot for Grishina's hair. My own hair is a similar length, with a side fringe, and dyed copper. Nothing like as light or yellowy as Grishina's but still. I can't blame her for trying it out! I liked the colour experimentation more on Demy.

    2. I think Grishy would look better with auburny-brown hair. She should make up her mind about whether she wants to be blonde or a redhead. Vika's hair is dark brown now, it actually looks okay. As for Demy, do you think she has a chance of making any more major teams? It sounds bad but it seems like gymnasts that don't make the olympic team just sort of fizzle out after.

      Agreed about the Amanar(s). Right now I think that Simone Biles is the one to beat in the WC AA, barring any sort of injury. Huge difficulty on almost everything, not bad at all on bars, and I am almost certain that she will have the TTY by Worlds. Her form is a bit all over the place, but it's not so craptacular that she'll be getting e scores in the 7-8 range. I am extremely sure that Musty will never do another Amanar. I imagine the mental block and fear of re-injury has to be huge. Larisa's Amanar needs to reemerge soon, otherwise she will have a 5.8 on vault versus a 7.1(?) from Simone/6.3 from other Americans. Her bars and Didi need a ton of work, they were substantially better last year.

      I have to ask-what's a Russian tap?

  10. Part 2:

    Vault-Poor Bee Farm. I feel bad for her but at the same time her shit vaulting technique has come back to haunt her. Great job Giulia Steingruber. She's the successor to Ariella Kaislin, but without the ugly butterfly tank leos! Good job for Noel to crack the podium and to Larisa, though all three medalists need better second vaults to contend at worlds.

    Bars-Not a great final. Quite splatty in the GB department. Ruby I think will get more chances to shine. I'm not sure about Becky, she's used up quite a lot of hers. The field was quite weak, with good old Bee Farm not only qualifying but medalling! The majority of her routine wasn't bad but her double front was rivaling Nastia's in degree of cowboying. Jonna Adlertag was a well-deserving silver medalist (in fact, I think she should have been closer to first), with a simple but well-executed routine. Aliya was quite disappointing despite her win, which was practically guaranteed. Leg separation, sickling of the feet (though nowhere near Bross level) and that giant, Chinese-esque dead hang. I have no idea how the judges were able to get away with ignoring that one completely. A 15.3, with 9.0 execution? Please. That was a 14.8 routine if I ever saw one. Once again, I wish that Grishy had made finals because I think she could have pipped Aliya for gold.

    Beam-The less I say about this final, the better. Splatty, and wobbles galore. Deserving podium. Good for Grishina, proving that idiot Rodionenko wrong again. I think she has a good shot of taking the second AA spot at Worlds, especially if Vika isn't up to snuff. I feel bad for Meneghini and the poor Ukrainian girl. I believe her e score was in the fives. Ouch. Go Ruby's beam mount.

    Floor-Blah, expected podium and performances. Nice performance from Afan but I am getting tired of her and this routine. A rather generous e score, but that's the same as always. Larisa's floor is equally tiresome. A new routine with more mature choreography would do wonders for her. She and Diana both need real front tumbling - can we please see the return of the 2.5+punch front+punch front? I believe that Gogean did that pass in '96 but it looks very cool and minimizes landing deductions. Larisa's leotard was bordering obscene in parts of the performance. The poor thing has turned into a creeper magnet overnight.

    Overall: Pretty good competition. Too many falls and errors, but overall solid from Russia and Romania. Some not-so-nice overscores and underscores (and leotards), but a nice preview for what Europe will offer up at Worlds.

    P.S. I miss Vika.

    P.P.S. Sorry for the rant-it's long enough to be a post in itself.

    1. I'd pretty much agree with all of this, though maybe not as strongly ha. I do think the all-around was exceptionally clean, especially considering how early in the year it was. But then the EF's messed it up with 5 falls in vault, 3 in bars, 3 in beam and 1 on floor. Still, there were 5 falls in Euros beam EF last year and this year 2 were by the one person so that's a major improvement..