The 37th Joaquin Blume Memorial was held this past Saturday, November 15, in Barcelona. Roxana Popa of Spain won the all-around title while also earning the top scores on vault, bars, and floor. Marta Pihan-Kulesza of Poland earned silver while Filipa Martins of Portugal earned bronze.
In addition to the above, Ilaria Käslin of Switzerland, Georgina Hockenhull of Great Britain, Ana Maria Ocolisan of Romania, Oksana Chusovitina of Uzbekistan, Francesca Deagostini of Italy, Michelle Timm of Germany, and Laura Gamell and Claudia Colom of Spain competed in this annual all-around only meet.
The gymnasts competed in two groups, with one beginning on vault and the other on uneven bars. Popa started off with the high scores on her first two events, including a 14.8 for her DTY and a 14.9 for her bar set that included a Ricna, toe-on Tkatchev to pak, Maloney to Gienger, and a full-twisting double layout dismount. Reportedly, she only had two weeks to put this routine together, yet looked fantastic in her performance.
Chusovitina posted the second highest score on vault with a 14.4 for her handspring front full. The Uzbek gymnast, coached by Svetlana Boguinskaia, also presented a relatively clean bar set, hampered by a fall on a transition skill.
The others performed clean vaults, mainly FTYs with the exception of Gamell (who only competed a Yurchenko layout, a necessary downgrade due to injury) and Pihan-Kulesza (who competed a handspring front pike).
In the second rotation, which featured bars and beam, there were some mistakes in execution on bars, but no falls. Overall the routines were well-executed, and Martins earned the second best score after Popa with a 13.75.
On beam, there were some very pretty routines, though many falls – including from Ocolisan, Hockenhull, Kaslin, Popa, and Gamell. The highest score went to Pihan-Kulesza, who performed her usually fantastic routine with unusual skills like a front walkover to front aerial to side somi, a switch leap full, and a Steingruber dismount. She earned a 14.1 for her effort. Chusovitina also gave a memorable performance, with a front tuck mount, front pike, front tuck, layout to two feet, and double back dismount.
Floor also saw some falls and unusual mistakes. Martins sat her double pike at the beginning of her routine, but recovered well and put the remaining passes to her feet. Kaslin was a delight for the audience with her elegance and long lines, and Pihan-Kulseza danced to her “Pink Panther” music, wowing the crowd with her sassy choreography.
Ocolisan fell on her 2.5 to punch front but the rest of her routine was good. DeAgostini had a rough exercise, going out of bounds and having some problems with her landings. And finally, the crowd went insane for Popa. She performed a double layout, a whip whip to tucked full-in (which was awesome!), a 2.5 to punch front, and a double pike.
The 14.4 she earned for that routine secured her the gold medal, despite the fall on beam.
Full results are below. If a video is available, click the score to be linked!
|4||Georgina Hockenhull||Great Britain||13.650||13.350||12.700||12.750||52.450|
|10||Ana Maria Ocolisan||Romania||13.900||11.950||12.300||12.100||50.250|
The meet ended with an exhibition of retired gymnasts to pay tribute to Spanish gymnast Andreu Vivó, who passed away in December 2012. Following the ceremony, the gymnasts received their trophies with the winner Popa also awarded the City of Barcelona Trophy.
Article and Photos by Carlota Bardera