European Championships All Around- Preview
For many gymnasts, the largest obstacle to make the final will be their own teammates. With many teams competing three or four all arounders in prelims, there are certain spots up for grabs- even spots that could be for medal contenders. To start, here are some past results that pretty much show who the contenders for medals will be. I included the results up to the third highest ranked competitor who will be competing at these championships
Ksenia Semenova (did not make team)
Ksenia Afanasyeva (did not make team)
3. Ariella Kaeslin- 57.275
Ana Maria Izurieta (did not make team)
Anamaria Tamirjan (retired)
6. Aagje Van Walleghem- 55.9
Marine Petit (not competing all around)
Anja Brinker (did not make team)
9. Vanessa Ferrari- 55.175
As you can see, the last European Championships all around doesn’t really represent what will happen here at all. While all of the gymnasts who remain are contenders for the top 10 and have outside shots at a minor medal, the field has changed a great deal in the last two years.
2010 Europeans (top all around score from prelims or team- no mixing and matching)
1. Aliya Mustafina- 58.175
Youna Dufournet (did not make team)
3. Amelia Racea- 55.825
4. Vanessa Ferrari- 55.525
These gymnasts are all going to be medal contenders at this competition. Although I would never predict this as the all around podium, it is certainly possible.
2010 Worlds (all around final, just europeans)
1. Aliya Mustafina- 61.032
2. Ana Porgras- 58.165
3. Tatiana Nabieva- 57.298
These could definitely be the medallists at this competition. It is important to note that Nabieva fell and stepped out of bounds with two feet in this final, so her score could have been be much higher.
2011 Scores (compiled by the all around)
1.Aliya Mustafina- 59.831
2.Anna Dementyeva- 58.550
3.Vanessa Ferrari- 57.450
This list adds Dementyeva to the mix. Keep in mind that none of the Romanians have competed all around this season.
That’s it for statistics. Here’s my analysis:
Aliya Mustafina is, barring a couple major disasters, a lock for the all around final and the clear favorite for gold. Her extremely difficult routines are not executed perfectly, but they are nearly impossible to beat. In fact, it would be no surprise if she downgrades her vault and still wins the competition by over a point. She is too far ahead of the field to be caught at this point, unless other gymnasts have done some major upgrading since we last saw them. She is competing against herself at this competition, mostly because of Viktoria Komova’s injury. She made the decision to keep all her difficulty in her routine at the American Cup, which resulted in a fall and losing a victory, but even that would not stop her from winning this competition.
The second Russian will also be a medal favorite. The other three gymnasts (Belokobilskaya, Dementyeva and Nabieva) on the team are all competing all around in prelims. It will be interesting to see which of Dementyeva and Nabieva make finals. Belokobilskaya will not challenge them if they are clean, as she is inconsistent, has some sloppy skills and has little international experience. Nabieva can potentially score over two points higher than Dementyeva on vault and bars, but Dementyeva can do the same on beam and floor. Both are prone to mistakes. Unless Nabieva lands an amanar, the two will be very close in prelims and will both have a good chance at winning a medal in finals.
Ana Porgras is the virtual lock for Romania in the all around. The only real question is if she will compete some new skills, including a double twisting yurchenko vault and a double layout on floor. She was very consistent in 2010, especially at worlds when she hit all of her routines, but missed beam in Paris earlier this month and had an unspectacular bars routine. The composition changes on bars should work in her favor, as they give her more difficulty with skills that looked nice in training, but in competition she missed handstands and the routine didn’t flow. Still, I would say she is the favorite for the silver medal because she is slightly stronger than Dementyeva on beam and maybe bars. They are similar on vault and floor, but that is only if Porgras doesn’t upgrade. Plus, she has consistency, which Nabieva, another one who could challenge, doesn’t.
The second Romanian all arounder will be either Amelia Racea or Diana Chelaru. My money is on Racea. They are about equal on vault, Racea is better on bars and beam and Chelaru is better on floor. Racea could theoretically be second- she is a pretty balanced all arounder with a strength on beam. But her vault looked sloppy last year, and she still had a stalder 1 1/2 on bars that finished nowhere near handstand. Her beam can be great, but it is often a bit sloppy. It will be nice to see what she is looking like after being out since before worlds.
Vanessa Ferrari also has to be considered a favorite since she is the former world and european champion, or at least the commentators will make it seem that way. Her gymnastics, however, likely won’t live up to her past accomplishments. She’s lost a lot of skills due to injuries since her world title.
The last gymnast I’d consider a favorite is Ariella Kaeslin. She’s medaled in the all around at europeans before, and has had two 8th place all around finishes at worlds to cement her spot as one of Europe’s best gymnasts. Her best event, however, is vault, and she’s struggled there lately, recently scoring a 0.0 in Paris. It seems as though her 13s and low 14s are sometimes held up by her 15s on vault, but that may not happen here.
Other Possible Challengers
There are some gymnasts who do not really have the results to support a potential podium finish in Berlin, but just may be able to upset the Russians and Romanians.
Hannah Whelan may headline this list. She had a rough meet at the American Cup, but scored 56.6 to win the English Championships prior to that meet. She isn’t a stand out on one event (maybe floor), but is usually pretty steady all around.
Celine Van Gerner is another gymnast to watch out for. She is strong on beam and floor, but like Dementyeva and Porgras desperately needs to upgrade her vault to increase her all around score. She seems a bit prone to mistakes, but she’s very clean.
Carlotta Ferlito was the greatest surprise of last year’s Youth Olympics for me when she won the bronze all around. She’s upgraded a bit since, and although she hasn’t been receiving huge scores, she’s been doing alright. With Komova out of the competition, it looks like she may be the biggest star out of the new seniors competing.
Elisabeth Seitz has two things going for her: a double twisting yurchenko and an extremely difficulty bars set. She has the capability of breaking 14 on beam and floor if she hits. With her home crowd, could she be a surprise medalist?
Julie Crocket, previously known for her floor work, has had some pretty great all around results this year. She’s been hitting routines and is very fun to watch. She did not even make the all around at worlds due to a very low beam score, but could finish top 10 here.
With Youna Dufournet out of the competition, Marine Brevet will come in as the top all arounder from France. She won the WOGA Classic earlier this year and has the fifth highest all around score out of all the Europeans so far this year. Her strongest event is floor, but I also enjoy her beam. She’s a nice artistic gymnast, but low difficulty may keep her from medaling.
Jennifer Pinches had a rough World Championships, but finished second to Hannah Whelan at the English Championships to secure her spot at Europeans. She has a strong beam set for a British gymnast and has broken 56 this year.
The Other Finalists
84 gymnasts are scheduled to compete all around in prelims. Off those 84, 23 can not make finals due to the two per country rule. That still leaves 61 gymnasts competing for the 24 spots in the final.
I’d like to see Marta Pihan-Kulesza, Aagje Vanwalleghem, Kristyna Palesova, Nadine Jarosch, Veronica Wagner, Valeria Maksiuta, Jonna Adlerteg and Alina Fomenko make the final. I actually couldn’t care less if Fomenko made the final, it just seems wrong to have a European all around final without a Ukrainian in it. Why they are not sending their national champion and letting Livchikova compete all around is beyond me.
So here’s my official prediction:
1. Aliya Mustafina
2. Ana Porgras
3. Anna Dementyeva
*If Dementyeva fails to make finals, I will re-assess after videos.