In the first subdivision of the 2014 World Championship qualifications, Russia performed about as expected on all of their events – iffy on floor, strong with their Cheng and DTYs on vault, and lovely on bars.
Beam, however, definitely didn’t go as planned after an unfortunate sequence of events drastically lowered their team score. Their 228.135 is good, but could have been about three points higher without the biggest of their issues.
The Russians began with a lackluster floor rotation, getting their worst event out of the way with a total of 54.765. There were no falls, but they have SO much to work on cleaning up if they want to be strong in the team final.
Ekaterina Kramarenko opened up their performances with a low difficulty routine with quite a few minor issues, including a cheated Memmel turn, stumbling back the landing on her whip whip through to double back, and an under-rotated double pike. However, she stuck her full-in cold to open her routine, the highlight of her performance.
Up next was Alla Sosnitskaya, who lost a lot in execution due to form issues and a rough landing on her whip whip through to triple full. Her legs were a mess on her triple, which she actually overrotated and then stumbled around to gain her footing. She did have a good double layout, and nailed her double pike, but unfortunately it wasn’t how the Russian team expects her to compete.
Aliya Mustafina came in the middle, throwing a sky high double arabian for her first pass. She looked like she lost her body in the air for a brief moment, but got it under control pretty quickly. She nailed the triple Y turn – which she submitted to have named for her – and looked otherwise good in her tumbling, earning the team’s highest floor score of 14.5 with a 6.0 start value awarded.
Maria Kharenkova proved herself as a worthy team final competitor on floor, beginning with her awesome stuck double arabian. Her only problem was her chest down on her 1.5 through to double back, but she finished with a nice whip whip through to 2.5.
Last up was Daria Spiridonova, who had a super easy routine, doing just a double pike, 2.5 to punch front, and cowboyed double tuck for her tumbling. She also made a mess of her leap sequence, which is likely what led to her low execution.
On vault, the Russians were able to put up four DTYs and a Cheng, and some actually looked halfway decent! Kramrenko stumbled her DTY forward a bit for a 14.466 to start, and Tatiana Nabieva followed with super messy legs but a stuck cold landing, earning a 14.766. Mustafina’s legs are still a problem in her twists but she also hit the landing well for a 14.9.
Sosnitskaya was the only Russian to compete two vaults, first attempting the Cheng. It wasn’t terrible, but she got very little height, had noticeable form issues, came off the table angled to her left, and landed with her foot out. Still, she brought in a 15.133, so it seems as though the judging on vault is a bit high compared to how judging looked on floor. She also hit a DTY for a 14.9.
Kharenkova rounded out the vault lineup with an FTY, hit and hopped in place for a 13.9.
Bars were very nice, as expected, especially in the sets from Spiridonova, Kramarenko, and Mustafina. Spiridonova, first up, had a lovely inbar full to Komova II, a really clean pak salto, and a stuck full-out, earning a deserved 15.1.
Next in line was Kramarenko, showing a mostly clean routine aside from her pak salto, which had somewhat messy legs, but she did it to an immediate stalder, which looked great; her routine earned a 6.0 start value and a 14.766 total.
Mustafina was lovely in her routine, hitting an inbar half to a big piked jaeger, a pak salto to immediate stalder half to toe shoot, and a stuck full-out. It wasn’t her cleanest routine but it wasn’t even close to a bad job; her 15.166 was the team’s highest there.
In the final spots were Sosnitskaya and Nabieva, both of whom performed VERY well considering they’re the “qualifications only” bar workers. I thought Nabieva was at her cleanest I’ve ever seen her, especially on her toe full to Maloney to pak salto and well-stretched straddle Jaeger.
Beam, where they were expected to excel on at least two routines, ended up a disaster, with Mustafina’s 14.308 the highest score for the team.
Kramarenko actually started things off somewhat well; she wobbled on a bad switch half and paused between her front aerial and jump series but otherwise looked good, earning a 13.566.
Unfortunately, Mustafina connected almost none of her skills she was supposed to connect. She hit her double turn and standing arabian, but paused between the Onodi and side aerial, and then again between the front aerial-front aerial and back handspring. There were absolutely no major problems with her execution, just the little things she’ll need to keep a better eye on for finals, but her start value took a huge hit, credited at 5.9 which is down from the 6.6 start value she received at the Russian Cup just a month ago.
Kharenkova had a nightmare of a qualification session, beginning with huge wobbles on her punch front and then on her bhs-bhs-layout series. She got it together and made it through the rest without huge errors but then crashed her double pike dismount, doing a forward roll out of it. Very said, and she brought in just a 12.933.
Spiridonova fell on her bhs-bhs-loso series, bringing in a 12.166 meaning Kharenkova’s score was counted into their final; Sosnitskaya, meawhile, had a decent routine that earned a 13.666.
A shame that they weren’t able to capitalize on two of their best routines, but there’s always team finals.
Article by Lauren Hopkins