The English team has so far dominated this year’s Commonwealth Games with their team gold and all-around sweep.
16-year-old Claudia Fragapane managed to overcome a fall on beam by following it up with an absolutely electric World Championships final worthy floor routine to earn the gold medal. So far, Fragapane – who also qualified first into three event finals – has competed marvelously. I think this competition will do for her what the 2010 Commonwealth Games did for Lauren Mitchell – make her a star in her country and put her on the international map.
Fragapane’s teammates, 18-year-old Ruby Harrold and 22-year-old Hannah Whelan, took home the silver and bronze, respectively. Harrold also had a fall on beam, though her bars performance one rotation earlier had been stellar, and she returned on floor energized and ready to fight. Whelan, meanwhile, was relatively solid all day, though her difficulty is slightly lower than that of her teammates’, so she wasn’t able to take advantage of their mistakes.
Though Fragapane and Harrold were both excellent in their recovery, it is a bit disappointing that the top two all-arounders earned medals with falls, as it is when this happens in any major international competition. The falls in general today for the top athletes were disappointing; the rotation group with the six top qualifiers saw five falls on beam, and only two of the top five today were fall-free, but those who made mistakes survived thanks to their immense difficulty in comparison to weaker nations.
So it wasn’t a clean outing for anyone, really, but it was definitely exciting to the last drop.
1. Claudia Fragapane (England) – 56.132
Beginning on vault, Claudia nearly stuck her DTY. Her body wasn’t totally straight and she landed off-center with a foot OOB, but it was an aggressive vault overall, earning a 14.733 (5.8/9.033, -0.1). I think she surprised herself a bit on bars, hitting a quick routine complete with a great pak salto and a stuck DLO for a 13.7 (5.2/8.5). On beam, she unfortunately fell early in her routine; she hit her bhs + layout, but then hesitated, bent at the waist, slipped, and landed with her butt on the beam before dropping to the floor. She recovered nicely with a great standing full and double pike dismount, and shook her head saying “that’s all right” when her score of 12.966 (5.7/7.266) came up. She finished her day on floor with an outstanding routine, complete with an excellent DLO and double arabian, earning a 14.733 (6.0/8.733). As the day’s final competitor, it was clear before she even got her score that she’d win gold.
2. Ruby Harrold (England) – 55.232
The first up for the day, Ruby had a powerful and clean DTY; her legs went a bit helicopter at the end, but overall she was very powerful and landed well for a 14.8 (5.8/9.0). On bars, she moved so quickly, it was almost impossible to keep up, reminding me a bit of Queen Beth. She connected absolutely everything, hitting both her Maloney + Bhardwaj and van Leeuwen + Zuchold, and then hit her double front for a 14.566 (6.3/8.266). Unfortunately, she too fell nearly straight away on beam, on her punch front. The rest of her routine was generally weak, with wobbles, checks, a weak switch ring, and a cowboyed double back, earning only a 12.166 (5.3/6.866). She came back with a great performance on floor, including a stuck double arabian for a 13.7 (5.4/8.3).
3. Hannah Whelan (England) – 54.699
What a great day for this lovely two-time Olympian, who showed she still has the ability to contend against girls much younger than she. She began with a gorgeous Yurchenko 1.5 on vault, earning a 14.066 (5.3/8.766). On bars, she performed her Maloney, Gienger, and Jaeger well, and though she came off a bit too early for her double pike, she was able to save the landing, earning a 13.1 (5.3/7.8). She was the only one in her beam rotation to not fall, and it’s a shame she didn’t compete like this in qualifications because this routine deserves to be in finals. Her side aerial + layout + layout series was breathtaking, as was her lovely Onodi. The routine earned a 14.033 (6.1/7.933), which she didn’t seem thrilled about, but her enquiry was denied.On floor, her 2.5 + punch layout was excellent, as was her double pike, and she brought in a 13.5 (5.4/8.2, -0.1) to seal her bronze victory.
4. Ellie Black (Canada) – 54.157
Ugh, what a disappointing day. Coming into this competition, I thought Black could walk away with a landslide all-around victory, but unfortunately she has just had so many slip-ups and fell out of medal contention completely. Both of her big falls today came on highly difficult and risky skills, so after having seen Claudia and Ruby fall, I was actually surprised she didn’t have a safer option in mind to ensure hitting.
On vault, Ellie did a Tsuk 1.5 with a slightly bent waist and knees (almost looked like she was in a very open tuck) and a step back, but overall it looked powerful and she earned a 14.3 (5.5/8.8). On bars, she hit everything well, from her huge piked Tkatchev to her lovely Jaeger + pak salto and stuck Moors dismount for a 13.758 (5.5/8.258). Beam…sigh. She was last up, so maybe the wait got to her, but she got off to a nice start with a fierce front punch pike (which actually reminded me a bit of Alicia Sacramone’s punch skills on beam). The bhs + layout came with no problems, but sadly, she fell on her bhs + tuck full series, which I wish she would have just slashed for the day. She finished her routine with an excellent 2.5 and a 13.333 (5.9/7.433). Like Hannah, she also submitted an enquiry that was rejected, though I’m not sure what for. On floor, again risk got the better of her; despite her great DLO to start, she landed her 2.5 through to double pike on her hands and knees, and she also stumbled out of her front full to double tuck, earning a 12.766 (5.7/7.066).
5. Olivia Vivian (Australia) – 52.632
Bless Olivia. Again her personality and attitude both in playing for the camera and in supporting the young gymnasts in her rotation was top notch. The fact that she placed 5th in the all-around at age 25 despite not having competed at this level in ages and not being a typical all-arounder? It’s awesome. She deserves a special gold medal just for being awesome.
Olivia was in the second rotation and began her night on bars, where her van Leeuwen was lovely and she landed her double front well, bringing in a 13.8 (5.6/8.2). I was a bit nervous for her moving to beam, but my nerves were quieted with this excellent outing. She had zero problems on her bhs + layout or aerial roundoff, the two skills that troubled her yesterday, and her wolf to front aerial was especially nice, as was her double full. “And THAT’S how you do beam,” she said as she came off the podium. She looked pleased with her 13.0 (4.9/8.1). On floor, she hit a lovely 2.5 and a great double pike into a controlled lunge, earning a 13.366 (5.4/7.966), and then she finished the day with just a Yurchenko layout on vault, an apparatus she says she hasn’t done in years. She had a good effort for a 12.466 (4.0/8.466), and Peggy (the Aussie Marta) cried when she came off the podium.
6. Georgina Hockenhull (Wales) – 52.598
Georgina showed a lot of promise today, and looks like she could be a potentially great bars/beam worker for Great Britain. Her bars routine included lots of stalder work, including an Endo and both a Chow and a Ray to high bar; she also had a nice DLO dismount and earned a 13.333 (5.3/8.033). She was a steady beam worker, showing lots of great individual skills though almost no connections; still, her front aerial + scissone was lovely, as was her switch ring and nearly stuck double tuck for a 13.733 (5.6/8.133). She was all smiles when she left the podium! She opened floor with a great double arabian, though unfortunately put her hands down after her 1.5 through to double back and landed her 2.5 to punch tuck OOB, bringing in just an 11.966 (5.4/6.666, -0.1). Her FTY vault landed off-center and wasn’t very big, but she had lovely form, earning a 13.566 (5.0/8.666, -0.1).
7. Isabela Onyshko (Canada) – 52.565
I really love this young Canadian, who seems like she could have a beautiful all-around set with more experience. Unfortunately, her bars – while pretty stacked – were a bit messy, with her pak salto looking tucked and not caught well, causing her to brush her feet on the ground. Her Ricna looked good, as did her van Leeuwen, but she brought in just a 12.0 (5.9/6.1). Her beam showcased a nice bhs + bhs + layout as well a gorgeous switch + gainer layout, though her tour jete full was awkward and her double tuck dismount was pretty cowboyed, but she smiled as she left the podium and earned a score of 13.666 (5.8/7.866). She does a nice full-in and controlled Memmel turn on floor, but again her 1.5 through to double tuck was cowboyed, though she brought in a decent 13.133 (5.5/7.633). She finished up on vault with a slightly off-center FTY with a small bounce for a 13.766 (5.0/8.766).
8. Elizabeth Beddoe (Wales) – 52.540
Another disappointing day here, as she definitely could have done much better. Her FTY on vault had a hop back but was very clean, and earned a 13.808 (5.0/8.808). Her bars routine was very nice; though she has some issues with keeping her legs tight together, her pak salto was very nice and she earned a 13.533 (5.3/8.233). Beam was a sad affair, as she fell right away on her easy switch + switch half, which seemed rushed. She was nervous throughout the rest of the routine, wobbling a lot, though her illusion was nice, as was her double turn; she earned just 11.666 (4.8/6.866). She finished well and very cleanly on floor after landing a nice double pike with great height as well as a double tuck for a 13.533 (5.2/8.333).
Farah Ann Abdul Hadi of Malaysia has been a highlight of this entire competition for me so far, with her long and lovely lines, bright smile, and all-around positive attitude when competing or just cheering others on. She had a phenomenal day today, placing 11th in the all-around with a 51.065 with a fall on beam, which has to be some kind of international record for Malaysia. She is not the most technically proficient gymnast and doesn’t have high difficulty, but she performs everything with style and fluidity. Her pak on bars was gorgeous, her beam would have probably been around a 13.5 without the fall and step off the mat on her 2.5 dismount, her presentation on floor was gorgeous (as was her nicely-controlled tumbling!), and she has a beautiful FTY. When she came off of the vault podium, her coach looked into the camera and yelled “SHE’S THE BEST!” which I happen to fully agree with. She’s coming away from this meet with many new fans.
Honorable mention goes to New Zealand’s Charlotte Sullivan, who didn’t have a great day with falls on beam and floor, but she did try to throw in some risk at the last moment, including a triple full beam dismount which came so close to being hit, and she still smiled coming off the podium because she had nothing to lose and went for something really cool. Her teammate Brittany Robertson was also one of the only competitors today who didn’t have any falls or major errors, placing 12th with a 50.682. Her side aerial + scissone + wolf series on beam was a highlight, as was her stuck 1.5 dismount. Host team Scotland’s Emma White and Amy Regan had problems, but both killed it on floor, making the crowd go wild with their upbeat and energetic performances. Singapore’s young Janessa Dai was adorable, and showed a nice beam routine, a hit floor, and a nice Tsuk layout. Oh, and everyone’s been going on about Dipa Karmakar‘s scary Produnova vault, but today she just went for the handspring front pike half-out, which actually looked very solid – you could tell why they thought they could work her up to something bigger. Also, compared to four years ago, she looks like a different gymnast, so give the girl some credit!
Saddest of the Day
Poor South Africa, especially Claudia Cummins who fell four times during her beam routine before face planting her dismount, earning an 8.233 for a routine that could have been in the 13s. Her teammate, Kirsten Beckett, qualified 6th into all-around finals but sadly ended up in 15th with a 49.533 after sitting her double front bars dismount, falling on her side somi on beam, and stumbling back her double arabian before missing a leap and losing start value on floor. She looked pretty upset with herself for most of the competition, but has a chance to get redemption in one of the three event finals she’s qualified into.
Started Off Sad, Ended Up Glad
Canada’s Maegan Chant looked a little bummed after a messy bar routine and then after getting a low execution score when she clearly thought she hit beam well (it was a nice routine but she was a bit slow in her movement and lacked fluidity). Thankfully, she cheered up a bit after hitting some great tumbling on floor and a fantastic handspring front pike half-out on vault.
The final two days of competition continue tomorrow with vault and bars finals and then Friday with beam and floor finals.
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Article by Lauren Hopkins