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European Championships Uneven Bars- Preview

April 4, 2011

Bars will be a pretty strong event at Europeans. Two gymnasts stand out as the best Europe has to offer, but many gymnasts are in contention for a bronze.

Here are the statistics from past competitions to give you an idea of how the europeans have been doing recently.

2010 Europeans
1. Beth Tweddle- 15.875
2. Aliya Mustafina- 15.05
3. Natalia Kononenko- 14.75

2010 Worlds (European Athletes)
1. Beth Tweddle- 15.733
2. Aliya Mustafina- 15.6
3. Ana Porgras- 14.6

2011 Scores (compiled by the all around)
1. Aliya Mustafina- 15.833
2. Beth Tweddle- 15.75
3. Tatiana Nabieva- 15.6

The Favorites

Beth Tweddle and Aliya Mustafina have been easily the two best uneven bars workers in Europe since last year, with Tweddle always winning out. It is certainly possible that with a new routine with the potential for 7.3 difficulty, Tweddle will continue to dominate. But Mustafina has potential for a 7.1 set, and has been spectacular on bars all season. If they hit, they will easily go 1-2.

Tatiana Nabieva has the potential to do great things on bars, but rarely puts it all together when it counts. Sometimes, it’s just missed handstands, but sometimes it’s multiple falls. You never know what to expect with her. If she nails her set, she can make the podium.

Elisabeth Seitz has some major releases that come with some form breaks, but certainly can challenge for a medal. Adding a giant before her def has, so far, has increased her consistency on it. With a lot of support from her home crowd, Seitz can challenge for the bronze medal, or more if one of the top two opens the door.

The Challengers

Ana Porgras has had good results on bars in the past, but I would be surprised if she medaled here. First, I have to say that I don’t like the composition of her new routine. Both of her eagle grip pirouettes have a giant before them, which messes up the flow of the routine a bit, in addition to the fact that they look nearly identical. Both are connected to a jaeger, and come right after another in her routine. While the skills themselves looked good in training, the routine in competition looked labored. If she can clean it up, though, she should have no problem making finals. Her teammate Amelia Racea may be able to squeeze in as well, if she has worked a bit on her handstands.

Kim Bui, returning from an injury, also has a nice set which includes a maloney 1/2. She could clean up a few leg separations here and there, but her routine will likely get her a spot in finals, and from there, who knows?

Natalia Kononenko medalled last year at Europeans, then missed the worlds team due to an injury. She swings very well and has some difficult skills, but she has to hit in finals and prelims to medal again, which is never something you can rely on a Ukrainian to do.

Celine Van Gerner has done a lot of upgrading on bars and can earn herself a spot in finals. She does, however, really need to work on hitting handstands to make it happen.

If one of the Russians mentioned above fails to make finals, Anna Dementyeva or even Yulia Belokobilskaya could qualify. Dementyeva has upgraded a bit since worlds, adding the compulsory (for the Russians) maloney 1/2, and Belokobilskaya has a set packed with difficulty that sometimes gets a bit messy.

Prediction:
1. Aliya Mustafina
2. Beth Tweddle
3. Elisabeth Seitz

I think Beth trying upgrades may stop her from winning here. The double double will be hard to land cleanly, and putting the Ono back in her routine will likely hurt her execution score. She’s the one to beat, but Mustafina has been on fire on bars lately. Seitz has also been great this season.

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