A Look Ahead at Italy’s Serie A Meets

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Italian gymnastics begins the elite season with the first of four Serie A meets in Ancona this Saturday, February 7.

Both MAG and WAG teams will take part in the competitions, which will also be held February 28 in Milan, March 14 in Florence, and May 9 in Pesaro. This year, the Italian federation will also introduce T&T competition as part of the Serie A events.

It may be useful for international readers to get to know something more about the rules of this championship. In Italy, national team championships for all sports are divided into different “serie” – the “Serie A” is actually “Serie A1,” which is the highest level of competition, followed by Serie A2, then B1, B2, and so on. For gymnastics, the Serie A2 meets will be held in the morning while Serie A1 will be held in the afternoon.

Each gym competes as a team using a three-up, three-count format during the Serie A meets. After receiving a team score, a points system is used, wherein the 1st place team receives 25 points, 2nd place receives 22, 3rd receives 20, fourth receives 18, and so on down the line with each subsequent team earning two points less than the last. At the last of the four competitions in May, the points earned by each team are added together, and the best-ranked team will be crowned champion of the Serie, winning the “scudetto,” which is the name of the trophy awarded. The four best teams will also qualify into the Golden League, to be held from September 11 through September 13.

This year, following in the footsteps of USA Gymnastics last year, the Italian gymnastics federation has decided to give bonuses to the WAG routines at the home meets, so the scores will be quite different from what we’ll see on the international stage.

But there’s a big difference between how the U.S. system worked and what Italy will do – while the U.S. bonuses focused on execution, pushing the girls to stick their landings, the Italian bonuses focus on the D-score. For example, if a gymnast performs a DTY, she will receive a 0.2 bonus, and on floor, she will receive a 0.2 bonus for each tumbling pass with a minimum difficulty value of E (so a floor rotuine with a double arabian, a full-in, a triple full, and a double pike would earn 0.6 in bonus points). On beam, every E element will earn 0.2 (dismount aside), and then on bars, she will earn a 0.2 bonus for up to two flight elements both valued at D.

The purpose is to push the girls to upgrade their routines in order to be more competitive internationally, and is something Canada has done for their junior athletes in the past, producing great results in gymnasts like Shallon Olsen. As a side note, the U.S. this year will do pretty much the opposite on vault to produce a similar effect – they’ll actually take away tenths from the FTY in order to encourage gymnasts to compete more difficult vaults.

Back to this weekend’s Serie A1 competition, there’s already a big controversy brewing with 2012 Olympian Giorgia Campana. In the past, Campana competed at the Serie A meets with the Olos Gym 2000 Roma team, though this year she will compete for Artistica ’81 Trieste. Initially, GAL Lissone requested Campana, but the national team direction decided to send her elsewhere.

It may sound strange to non-Italian readers that a gymnast can be “borrowed” or “lent” by a team, so here’s an explanation. In Italy, professional athletes who are champions in their sports, who win international medals, or who just obtain international assignments join different groups like the army, the police, or the firemen, for example. Female gymnasts usually become part of the army while male gymnasts are part of the navy, as it provides an opportunity for athletes to earn a living while continuing to practice their sport at a high level.

Right now, among the WAG gymnasts currently competing, Vanessa Ferrari, Carlotta Ferlito, and Campana are all part of the army, so they are basically “borrowed” by the different club teams for domestic gymnastics competitions. Even after becoming part of the army, the gymnasts typically return to compete for their former teams, which is why Campana’s change is a big deal for Italian gym fans.

This year, there’s also a new rule that states each team will be allowed to borrow only one gymnast from the army, which is why the Italian federation didn’t allow GAL Lissone – which already counts Ferlito as one of its members – to pick up Campana.

Ferrari will again be the leader of Brixia Brescia, where she’ll compete alongside her teammates Erika Fasana and Martina Rizzelli. Fasana is expected to show upgrades, which could include a full-in double layout on floor in addition to a few new skills on bars. This year, Lavinia Marongiu, who made her big international debut at last year’s World Championships in Nanning, will also compete for Brixia, and will likely compete in the all-around in each meet.

GAL Lissone will have a pretty strong beam lineup, thanks to Ferlito and Elisa Meneghini. Ferlito is expected to perform her bhs-bhs-layout acro series as well as an improved switch ring, and will debut her brand new floor routine as well, which features the full-in she showed at the Grand Prix in November. She may also perform a double layout, though it seems she only recently began training it, so it might not happen just yet. Elisabetta Preziosa, who competed for GAL Lissone before retiring at the beginning of this year, will be on hand as an additional coach for her former teammates.

After her international comeback and fourth place finish at the Mexican Open in December, Enus Mariani will compete for the Pro Lissone team; she’s expected to perform a triple Y turn (now called the Mustafina turn) on floor, and recently shared a video of this upgrade on Instagram.

Lara Mori, who competed as part of the 2014 World Championships team, will lead Ginnica Giglio along with teammate Alessia Leolini. Leolini competed in the all-around at the 2013 World Championships, though a foot injury last year prevented her from competing at a highly competitive level.

2013 Italian Champion Tea Ugrin will compete for the first time since last year’s first Serie A meet, leading the Artistica ’81 Trieste team along with Federica Macri, who is a sort of veteran of Italian gymnastics, as she was part of the legendary team to win the first ever European team gold medal for Italy in 2006.

Another veteran who will compete on Saturday is 32-year-old Adriana Crisci, who will lead the Gymnasium Treviso team.

Chiara Gandolfi recently underwent surgery on her shoulder, so she will be missed by the Olos Gym 2000 Roma team, and we will see the return of Francesca Deagostini, the 2012 Olympic alternate who suffered multiple injuries last year; Deagostini will compete for Fratellanza Ginnastica Savonese.

National team members Sofia Bonistalli and new senior Iosra Abdelaziz, who impressed at the Youth Olympic Games last summer, will both compete at the A2 level this year.

Finally, the Italian Serie A rules allow teams to borrow international gymnasts for these meets, though these athletes can perform on only two events. Polish superstar Marta Pihan-Kulesza will compete, as will the young Romanian Ioana Crisan and Spanish national team members Claudia Colom, Melania Rodriguez, and Ainhoa Carmona.

On the MAG side, we’ll see some veterans like the 2012 Olympian and pommel horse specialist Alberto Busnari, the 2012 Olympic rings bronze medalist Matteo Morandi, the six-time Italian champion Enrico Pozzo, and the 2012 Olympian Paolo Ottavi.

2013 European floor bronze medalist Andrea Cingolani is expected to provide strong performances on floor, rings, and vault, while the 2013 Italian champion Ludovico Edalli is a great all-arounder as well as a solid parallel bars specialist, so it will be interesting to discover his upgrades after his 24th place all-around finish in Nanning.

Among the younger gymnasts, Nicola Bartolini is the one to watch. Last year, he competed both at the European Junior Championships as well as the senior World Championships. This will be his first Serie A as a senior, so be sure you don’t miss his pet events, vault and floor.

The international gymnasts who will compete alongside the men on Saturday will include Nestor Abad from Spain and Great Britain’s 2013 World vault bronze medalist Kristian Thomas.

The full teams set to compete are below.

WAG Competitors

Artistica ’81
Trieste
Elisabetta Bobul
Ilaria Colizza
Giorgia Campana
Federica Macri
Jodie Padovan
Tea Ugrin
Brixia Brescia Sofia Busato
Erika Fasana
Vanessa Ferrari
Chiara Imeraj
Francesca Linari
Lavinia Marongiu
Martina Rizzelli
Pilar Rubagotti
Giorgia Villa
Fratella Ginnastica
Savonese
Alessia Contatore
Francesca Deagostini
Greta Fiorentino
Michela Redemagni
Beatrice Tonetto
Forza e Virtu 1982
Novi Ligure
Claudia Colom
Giulia Gemme
Valentina Massone
Carlotta Necchi
Emma Novello
Marta Novello
Asia Pandolfo
Arianna Rocca
Estate ’83 Giada Bara
Nicole Danesi
Francesca Facchinetti
Francesca Leardi
Deborah Martinazzi
Camilla Romano
Susanna Rota
Nicole Terlenghi
Gal Lissone Sofia Arosio
Sophia Campana
Ioana Crisan
Carlotta Ferlito
Elisa Meneghini
Gaia Pizzi
Alessia Praz
Chiara Rocca
Ginnastica
Romana
Martina Basile
Alice Bernardini
Annalisa Mastrangelo
Bianca Toniolo
Ginnica Giglio
Montevarchi 
Silvia Beccattini
Aurora Biondi
Sofia Caini
Ainhoa Carmona
Alessia Leolini
Lara Mori
Gymnasium
Treviso
Adriana Crisci
Giulia Bergantin
Nicola Colombaretto
Chiara Dalla Vecchia
Joana Favaretto
Camilla Franceschin
Lorenza Migotto
Melania Rodriguez
Sydney Saturnino
Nicole Simionato
Juventus Nova
Melzo 
Desiree Carofiglio
Clara Colombo
Camilla Magni
Lucrezia Merelli
Alessandra Oggioni
Chiara Vergani
Olos Gym
2000 Roma
Sara Berardinelli
Benedetta Ciammarughi
Martina Granato
Giorgia Morera
Giulia Sara Pedico
Pro Lissone Martine Buro
Vanessa Colantuoni
Sara Durelli
Eleonora Gazzani
Enus Mariani
Giulia Paglia
Marta Pihan-Kulesza
Lucrezia Salvadori

MAG Competitors

Ginnastica
Civitavecchia
Marco Lodadio
Simone Di Tello
Tommaso Pampinella
Andrea Russo
Emiliano Taito
Rocco Tana
Ginnastica
Livornese
Andrea Colibazzi
Simone Houriya
Davide Pizzato
Massimo Poziello
Kristian Thomas
Ginnastica
Meda
Nestor Abad
Alessandro Avanzi
Franco Cerizzi
Michele Sanvito
Lorenzo Ticchi
Dingadzhi Yatarov
Ginnastica
Pro Carate
Andrea Bronzieri
Tommaso Frigerio
Carlo Macchini
Eduardo Martano
Matteo Morandi
Aleksej Sclaverano
Ginnastica
Virtus
Pasqualetti
Andrea Cingolani
Tommaso De Vecchis
Melvin Mennichelli
Paolo Principi
Leonardo Rocchetti
Juventus
Nova Melzo
Luca Bolzoni
Alberto Busnari
Lorenzo D’Anna
Matteo De Martini
Simone Parascandolo
Marco Sarrugerio
Libertas
Vercelli
Jean Paul Augugliaro
Gregorio Balduzzi
Davide Odomaro
Aldo Pellegrini
Enrico Pozzo
Alessio Ricci
Nardi
Juventus
Andrea Farina
Oliver Pietro Giachino
Matteo Levantesi
Simone Levantesi
Matteo Morini
Paolo Ottavi
Pro Patria
Bustese
Nicola Bartolini
Andrea Bubbo
Ludovico Edalli
Filippo Landini
Luca Lo Presto

The Serie A will be held this Saturday, February 7. A2 athletes will compete at 10 am local time (4 am EST) while A1 athletes will compete at 4 pm local time (10 am EST). While no live stream will be available, the Italian federation will upload videos on YouTube afterwards.

Article by Valeria Violi

8 thoughts on “A Look Ahead at Italy’s Serie A Meets

  1. Interesting tibits… so those gymnasts in army navy are they like fire arm qualified? I guess its probably like the reserve in us? Would hate to see them sent to front line. .

    I hope d score bonus wont lead to worse execution

    Like

    • The army/navy and other professional forces know that the athletes have training and competition commitments so they’re never really put in active duty. I remember when Ferrari joined the army in 2009, everyone freaked out, thinking she was going to go off to war! Really, it’s just a way for older gymnasts who don’t rely on their parents for support to earn an income while being given the freedom to train and compete. I would imagine they’re doing more desk job type of work, or something that keeps them close to their training gyms.

      There’s always that chance of D score bonuses leading to weak execution, which is what I think happened with Canada’s Shallon Olsen, who has fantastic difficulty but really struggled to hit any of her routines but vault. It also could lead to injuries if girls are doing skills unsafely just to get the bonus.

      Like

    • Don’t worry, the gymnasts will be safe 🙂 as Lauren said, it’s just an opportunity to earn an income while they’re training and even after they retire, if they choose to become coaches…for an example, each of these girls, if they want, could get an office7desk job in the army when they retire, but they won’t be in front line for sure 🙂 Unfortunately in Italy, aside from soccer (where a serie A player earns a LOT of money), basketball and volleyball, the so-called “minor” sport (which aren’t truly minor, but they just don’t have lots of fans, supporters, followers, so don’t get great sponsors, there’s less money around and so on) are “poor”, so it’s really hard to live and have a family if you rely only on what you can earn from these sports. Then, if you become a famous champion (examples: the swimmer Federica Pellegrini, or Fiona May for athletics), you may have sponsors and other opportunities to earn money, like commercials, being special guest in tv-shows, or just becoming a commentator, but if you don’t become famous in this way (and for gymnastics is pretty hard), then the army is a really great opportunity. Last but not least, they have the support of the army’s medical and physiotherapical staff.

      I’m concerned too about the risk of “harder difficulty but worse execution”…like, if you perform a DTY but you land it on your knees, you’ll still earn a 0.2 bonus. It will be strange, ’cause we might see lots of high 14s but actually at Euros the scores of the same routines will be much different. I’m not a great fan of this choice right now, but we will see, maybe it works 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great article, you just forget to list all bonuses and new rules!

    Vault:
    +0.1 min D-score 5.3
    +0.2 min D-score 5.8

    Uneven bars:
    +0.1 flight element min D on HB or LB + element min B with or without turn on HB
    +0.2 D + D flight elements

    Balance Beam:
    +0.1 serie of 3 elements including dismount (min C) and Mount
    +0.2 for each min E acro element excluding dismount

    Floor:
    +0.2 for each acro element min E

    In addition:
    . 4 gymnasts on every apparatus (not 3)
    . more teams (12 in A1, 11 in A2)
    . every gymnast has to use grips on UB

    Like

    • My idea was to clarify all the bonus in the report of the meet 😉 You anticipated me ahah
      About the grips, I am quite surprised that this is a new rule of 2015, since I remember an episode of “Ginnaste-vite parallele” on MTV where the National team director said that gymnasts must wear grips, but the episode was aired in early 2014, so actually the gymnasts were already forced to wear them…but maybe it wasn’t an official rule until now.
      It’s true, there will be more teams because there was a controversy on the enrollment/registration for the Serie A (I supposed it’s all about taxes that should have been paid until a certain day, but some teams paid later which is against the rule…anyway no one revealed the teams which had issues about the enrollment), but the Federation decided to welcome all the teams who had the right to take part in the meets, even if some of them didn’t respect the deadline..since this is the pre-Olympic year, it’s important to give all the girls the opportunity to compete and improve their executions; that’s probably the reason why they opted for a four-up, three-counts format for WAG, so more girls can actually compete. Since there will be lots of WAG teams in addition to MAG teams and T&T, each meet will be VERY long (like 4 hours).
      But on MAG side, the rules should be still the same of last year 🙂

      Like

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