The women’s artistic gymnastics competition at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games concluded in Nanjing, China on Sunday with the balance beam and floor exercise finals.
BALANCE BEAM FINAL
1. Wang Yan, China, 14.633
The little hometown hero began her routine with a fantastic Barani and a lovely switch ring. Wang continued with a perfect bhs bhs layout and punch front tuck to split jump. Her confidence continued with her front aerial to sheep jump, full turn, and switch leap to wolf jump before dismounting with a triple full with a step out to the side.
2. Flavia Saraiva, Brazil, 14.000
Saraiva had a solid bhs loso loso series to begin her routine, moving onto her split jump to sissone and front aerial with a check before the beautiful sheep jump, which also had a check on the landing. There was a small wobble on her side somi, but she hit her punch front, switch leap, and double pike dismount with relative ease, just stepping back slightly on the landing.
3. Ellie Downie, Great Britain, 13.500
Beginning with a solid punch front, Downie got off to a good start to set the tone for a steady routine. She took a step on her standing arabian and had a slight bobble on her switch to switch half, landed the double turn remarkably well, and hit her bhs loso series. Her jumps were no problem, nor was her side somi. To finish, Downie hit a lovely 2.5 dismount with just a step forward showing a relatively incredible performance for such a sloppy meet.
4. Iosra Abdelaziz, Italy, 12.933
After getting started with an absolutely gorgeous handstand stag mount, Abdelaziz performed a beautiful switch leap to back pike and solid bhs loso loso. Her full turn was quick and lovely, there was a slight check on her front aerial, and her jumps were hit with ease. She finished with a switch half, back tuck, and stuck 1.5 dismount. This is a performer who has shown nothing but elegance and confidence all week long and could be a force to be reckoned with when she gets a bit more difficulty. Her difficulty here was actually a 4.7, a bit lower from qualifications and all-around finals, so she must have been missing something…but an 8.233 execution score was among the highest here on this day.
5. Natallia Yakubava, Belarus, 12.766
The Belarussian gymnast showed an awesome front tuck mount before going into her roundoff layout, both of which got applause from the crowd (though she had a check on the layout). There was a check on her turn, though she hit her jumps and front aerial with ease. Yakubava continued with a switch leap to sheep jump, solid punch front, and a low but near-stuck double pike dismount. Another great routine in this beam final.
6. Veronika Cenkova, Czech Republic, 12.633
Cenkova began her routine with a front aerial to split jump to wolf jump combination connected nicely. She hit her bhs loso pass with a check, and then competed a nice split leap before a side somi. She had flexed feet and a check on her switch side and performed her full 180 turn with a check, but her side aerial was steady. Cenkova dismounted the beam with a punch front full.
7. Stephanie Hernandez, Mexico, 12.358
Hernandez nailed her switch to back tuck to begin her routine, and though she looked a little tentative going into her bhs loso, she hit it with no problems. Her switch half was a little low, but she stuck her back pike. She dismounted with a strong double tuck, taking just a step back and looking happy with her performance.
8. Laura Jurca, Romania, 11.866
After her lovely press mount, Jurca competed a bhs loso with an unfortunate fall. On her switch side, she had a big wobble and grabbed her legs. Her side aerial was hit, as was her switch leap half with a pause before her back tuck. Dismounting with a 2.5, she landed a bit awkwardly, hopping back a bit on one leg. Not a good routine for Jurca, who overall had a nervous and inconsistent performance.
FLOOR EXERCISE FINAL
1. Flavia Saraiva, Brazil, 13.766
The top qualifier going into the final, Saraiva began her fierce routine with a huge full-in. She showed a nicely-controlled double twist before her 1.5 to front full, landed with a foot out in front of her to control it. Her leaps were hit nicely, and the crowd loved her performance, clapping along as she smiled brightly. She took a step back to steady her very powerful double pike, and hit her triple twist with just a step for a fabulous routine, winning by just 0.033 over her pal Seda, who looked very proud.
2. Seda Tutkhalyan, Russia, 13.733
Tutkhalyan opened with a whip whip through to double pike landed pretty much perfectly, with just the tiniest bounce in place. Her 1.5 to front full was competed well and she got the crowd roaring with her expressive and energetic dance. Her 2.5 to front tuck looked like it might be problematic but she landed with her feet together and her toes exactly on the edge of the floor. Instead of the double tuck to end – which she fell on in the all-around final – she competed a double full to play it safe for a third medal.
3. Ellie Downie, Great Britain, 13.466
Trying to compete while putting the fall in her all-around performance out of her mind, Downie began with an over-rotated arabian double pike, stepping forward. She hit her 1.5 through to 2.5 with another lunge forward, again coming in with slightly too much power. Her arabian double tuck was landed with feet together and just a small hop, and her double tuck to finish looked controlled, just rebounded back. It was a very powerful and energetic routine…though I believe there was an out-of-bounds in there. Ah, yes, she did…there it is in the neutral deductions.
4. Laura Jurca, Romania, 13.366
Jurca qualified into every apparatus final – meaning her qualification day was superb. However, she missed out on an all-around medal after putting her hands down on floor, and then in event finals, falls on bars and beam and lower difficulty vaults meant no medals to this point. She had to perform on floor with this in mind, always a tough thing to do, though she had remained composed and not rattled throughout the entire meet despite the problems and this routine was no exception.
She took a step back on her full-in and had a slight hop back on her double pike at the beginning, and did her performance with a big smile on her face. There was a tiny hop out of her 2.5 to punch front tuck, and though her double tuck was landed low, she stood it up nicely, just stepping one foot forward. It was a lively and energetic routine performed exceptionally well in both her tumbling and dance.
Unfortunately, yet again it put her outside of medal contention, this time by just a tenth of a point.
5. Antonia Alicke, Germany, 13.066
The long and lean German opened her routine with a 2.5 to punch front tuck with great height before going into her double tuck from just a roundoff. Her front handspring Rudi was clean, and while her tumbling was nice, her double turn before the final past was exceptional. She finished the routine with a lovely double twist, ending a fantastic week of performances in Nanjing.
6. Iosra Abdelaziz, Italy, 12.933
Abdelaziz got the crowd going with her dramatic routine, opening with a double full. She hit her double tuck as well as a near-stuck double pike in her last pass to massive applause, though it looked like she put her hand down at the beginning of her routine due to a lack of balance. It was possibly part of her choreography, but it was an awkward moment. For the most part her leaps looked nice, and overall she showed good height and clean lines on her tumbling.
7. Sydney Townsend, Canada, 12.833
Opening with a big double pike rebounded back a bit, Townsend performed an energetic routine for her final routine in this competition. Her triple full was nicely rotated but had a large step back. She went on to perform very well to the music, though not all of her leaps were precise. Her 2.5 was nicely hit, as was her double tuck with just a hop to finish.
8. Tutya Yilmaz, Turkey, 9.2
Yilmaz began her floor exercise in a gorgeous midnight blue leotard with the perfect arrangement of rhinestones, so she wins the best leo award from me right away. I liked her floor music as well…the same cut of “Puttin’ on the Ritz” currently used by Ragan Smith.
Unfortunately, her full-in to start the routine went out of bounds and she put her hand down. She competed a triple twist as her second pass, but was way underrotated, really only getting it 2.5 of the way around before jumping the last half. She sat her double tuck, and then sat her double pike as well, getting through her routine with problems on every single pass and incurring 0.9 in neutral deductions.
She looked upset but nowhere near as upset as during qualifications when she had falls on bars and beam, keeping the tears away this time and hugging each of her fellow competitors.
Article by Lauren Hopkins
Photos thanks to Nanjing 2014 and Olympic.tv