England added two more gold medals to their collection from the 2014 Commonwealth Games today with top performances from yesterday’s all-around champion Claudia Fragapane on vault and 2008 Olympian Becky Downie on uneven bars.
Canada’s Ellie Black continues her unlucky streak, picking up a vault silver – the Canadian women’s first medal of the Games – but missing out on gold by two tenths, and then placing 4th on bars. Bars marks the third time in three days that she’s missed out on a medal by mere tenths, as she also placed 4th with her team and 4th in the all-around.
While all of these 4th place spots were unfortunate, they were legitimate; however, missing out on vault gold has more to do with poor judging than anything else, as both of Fragapane’s vaults were somewhat overscored, likely due to the influence of the roaring British crowd. Fragapane is a firecracker of a gymnast, though showed form breaks on both vaults in addition to a piked body position on her second vault, a laid-out Yurchenko half-on half-off. Not only was the vault not downgraded to a pike, she was also given a surprisingly high execution score, especially after the judges were relatively conservative with Black’s efforts. However, Maegan Chant‘s layout position was also pretty piked and the D-panel didn’t fault her, so the judges were being lenient all the way around, not playing favorites.
In other news, India’s Dipa Karmakar actually landed her Produnova, the cleanest I’ve seen in international competition since Elena Produnova herself. It’s still a bit scary – her bum looked like it brushed the mat – but her feet definitely hit first, no question about it, and she stood up out of it with ease. While I don’t necessarily agree with chucking big skills and risking injury for the sake of difficulty, I am glad she had a relatively nice effort, as she was able to achieve India’s first major international gymnastics medal, which could be great for their program’s future.
Bars finals were less controversial and a little less exciting, and I think the winners there were all rightful. They weren’t completely without drama, as Welsh gymnast Raer Theaker – who was injured during podium training before the second day of qualifications – decided to compete, yet couldn’t make it through her full routine. That aside, though, it was a fair fight.
1. Claudia Fragapane (England) – 14.633
Claudia’s first vault is a DTY. The form was pretty good here, though she landed a little off-center with her chest slightly down, earning a 14.766 (5.8/8.966). Her second vault was a Yurchenko half-on laid-out half-off, otherwise known as a Lopez. Her body was still arched in a back handspring moments after she left the table, and then she went into a clear pike until the very end. The judges took their time with the score, likely because they had to decide whether they could credit it as a pike or not, but in the end they gave it to her, and she got a 14.5 (5.6/8.9). That execution score is definitely a bit high, though it’s on par with how they judged other competitors for equally piked vaults. We’ve seen her do it cleaner, but this is the fourth day in a row of competition so I think anyone would look a little tired!
2. Ellie Black (Canada) – 14.433
What an incredible event this was for her today. Her first vault was an excellent handspring front layout half, and she landed it dead on the line. Her hips had a slight bend throughout and her chest was a bit low, but otherwise it’s awesome and she takes in a 14.433 (5.4/9.033). Up second was a Tsuk 1.5 which she stuck! That one looked more impressive than the first, though in slow motion you can see a slight bend in her knees. Otherwise, really, it’s textbook and she gets the same score as the first, 14.433 (5.5/8.933). Definitely should have been higher.
3. Dipa Karmakar (India) – 14.366
Dipa began with the easier of her two vaults, the Tsuk full, though sadly it was nowhere near as good as we saw her do it in the all-around finals. Put simply, it was a mess from start to finish…massive leg separation on the entry, tucked legs on the block, piked body and messy legs throughout, and she landed badly to top it off, stepping OOB for a 13.633 (5.2/8.533/-0.1). The Produnova was up next, and like everyone else watching, I gritted my teeth throughout, but as far as Produnovas go it was stellar. Definitely the best I’ve seen since Produnova herself, because she actually hit it. She had the deepest of landings you could possibly get without actually sitting it, but her feet definitely hit the floor before her bum gently grazed it and she stood up faster than I’ve ever seen, getting a 15.1 (7.0/8.1). Truly, it was an excellent moment in that arena, as coaches from other nations applauded her and gave her high fives. What an effort, and now I hope she doesn’t have to compete it ever again.
4. Maegan Chant (Canada) – 14.233
Like her teammate, Maegan vaulted a handspring front layout half to start. She was actually pretty piked – almost at 90 degrees – from the moment she left the table, and she hops back on the landing. It was a powerful one, though, and she is awarded a 14.233 (5.4/8.833). Her Tsuk full is straighter in the body position than her first vault was and her biggest problem seemed to be the leg separation on her entry and a tiny hop back. She earns a 14.233 (5.2/9.033) for her effort. Like Ellie, she got the same score for both vaults!
5. Kelly Simm (England) – 14.199
Kelly vaulted a quick DTY to start. She was very aggressive in her approach and her form is actually pretty decent, though she did have some leg separation in her pre-flight and lost some of her attention to her feet too quickly, flexing them to prepare for the landing. Her chest was also down, and she earned a 14.633 (5.8/8.33), which seems fair. Attempt number two is a Yurchenko half-on tucked half-off, which is unique at this level of competition. Again, there was lots of attack and she landed well, but her body was basically already tucked before she even got her block. She is given a 13.766 (5.0/8.766).
6. Kirsten Beckett (South Africa) – 14.116
Kirsten looked in much better spirits than she did during all-around finals. She started with a very powerful and mostly clean Yurchenko 1.5, landing with her feet together but then stepping forward as an afterthought and bringing in a 14.366 (5.3/9.066). A Tsuk full was her second vault, and she looked very relieved after she finished! Her technique to start was great and she twisted pretty quickly, though she did land a little off-center and stepped out, earning a 13.866 (5.2/8.766/-0.1). She really did look so much happier than yesterday, though, and gave a smile and a peace sign to the cameras after receiving her score.
7. Georgia Rose Brown (Australia) – 13.833
Georgia began with an absolutely gorgeous FTY, an easy vault for a final but she does it so beautifully. I love when vault can be elegant! She earned a 14.1 here (5.0/9.1). Her second vault was also pretty easy – a half-on front tuck with superb form (though slightly cowboyed) and a near-stuck landing for a 13.566 (4.6/8.966).
8. Emma White (Scotland) – 13.550
So much applause for her yet again, just for her entrance! She started with a very powerful FTY with a step back on the landing. Her form was nice overall, though she did have some leg separation in the entry and piked down a bit as she dropped down. The judges awarded her there with a 13.8 (5.0/8.8). Her second vault was a Yurchenko half-on front pike off, which came off the table way off-center and landed OOB. Her legs also looked pretty tucked in her pike, and she earns a 13.3 (4.8/8.6/-0.1).
UNEVEN BARS RECAP
1. Rebecca Downie (England) – 14.666
Becky started her routine with forward toe-on half into a Chow and then straight into the Hindorff, which was very impressive. She then did her full pirouette into the Downie release, named after her, and then does a Ricna, which she was supposed to connect to her pak salto but didn’t, playing it safe with a swing in between. She continued with a Maloney to high followed by an clear hip half to her big full-twisting double back dismount. Really, an incredible routine, with a few missed handstands and some close releases her only real issues. She earned a 14.666 (6.4/8.266) to win the title.
2. Larrissa Miller (Australia) – 14.566
She takes a pause before starting, and then jumped to the high bar and almost immediately performed a huge Ricna into a huge Gienger! She did a lovely inbar to inbar half blind to straddle Jaeger, also huge, and then a super straight bail into a clean Ray. She finished her routine with a stalder full to a stuck full-in, earning a 14.566 (6.1/8.466). She is just gorgeous on this event, with incredible long lines and clean skills…even the technique on her tucks was tight with her toes perfectly pointed.
3. Ruby Harrold (England) – 14.366
Ruby had an excellent outing, competing a clean Maloney to a Bhardwaj with leg separation to start. She continued with a toe half to messy van Leeuwen (with crazy legs and caught really close with bent arms) to immediate Zuchold, which always makes my heart jump in the way a Comaneci salto does, because you don’t really expect it to happen! She did a toe full on the low bar before going into a toe shoot, a toe half blind to Jaeger, and then a hop blind to double front with a step forward, earning a 14.366 (6.3/8.066).
4. Ellie Black (Canada) – 13.700
Ellie began with her routine with a clear hip and then went into her brilliant Shang, or clear hip to piked Tkatchev, which was huge and is an excellent skill for her. Her Jaeger to pak salto was impressive, though she lost a bit of form on the pak, and she continued with a toe on, toe shoot, and full pirouette before sticking the Moors dismount. An excellent routine, though one of the best parts was Isabela Onyshko having a heart attack while watching.
Ellie earned a 13.7 (5.5/8.2) for her routine and smiled upon seeing the score.
5. Georgia Rose Brown (Australia) – 13.566
This was a gorgeous routine for Georgia. She had a lovely Maloney, Gienger (where her arms were pretty bent when she caught), toe on to toe full (with a big of leg separation), half blind to straddle Jaeger, perfectly straight bail to Ray (the first hit handstand was on that bail), and then a toe half blind to double front, stuck beautifully. She earned a 13.566 (5.7/7.866).
6. Kirsten Beckett (South Africa) – 12.933
This was an easy routine but a nice one for Kirsten, who barely made it into this final. She began with a bail to toe shoot, executed a full pirouette which was a little short of being in handstand, and then threw a huge Tkatchev. Can she do NCAA!? I feel this would be an awesome NCAA routine. I know one of the South African girls competes for UIC now… She finished up with a huge double front, taking a step forward and looking nothing but relieved, as she missed this dismount in all-around finals. Her score was a 12.933 (4.7/8.233).
7. Elizabeth Beddoe (Wales) – 11.633
Elizabeth began her routine with a toe full with some wild legs, but her Maloney to high was clean. She casted up to a handstand and was supposed to do a hop into a blind and then straddle Jaeger, but she missed the swing, took an extra, and when she tried the series again, she didn’t catch the Jaeger and fell, sadly. Her pak salto was lovely, there was a bit of leg separation on her van Leeuwen, and she finished off with a toe-on to a near-stuck double pike for an 11.633 (5.3/6.333).
8. Raer Theaker (Wales) – 8.333
This was a pity…she was injured in podium training before the second day of qualifications, so I had been wondering if she was going to withdraw. She was meant to start with a hop into a Weiler kip, but she missed the hop the first time around and had to regroup with an extra swing. She got the hop the second time, but then fell out of the Weiler and jumped off to rechalk. When she came back, the rest of her routine went nicely, with a Maloney, bail, quick toe full, and toe shoot, but then she struggled a bit on her clear shoot and hopped off again. She attempted to regroup and rechalk, but eventually decided to not continue, saluting before leaving the podium looking devastated and crying a bit. Too bad…, but it was the right decision to end the routine. The judges gave her an 8.333 (3.1/5.233). She was a badass, though, and didn’t acknowledge her score, instead choosing to shout “Come on, Rube!” to her GB teammate, the final competitor on the apparatus.
The competition concludes tomorrow with beam and floor finals.
Article by Lauren Hopkins