Godwin Defends Australian National Title

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Georgia Godwin came away from the Australian Championships in Melbourne with great success, winning the all-around gold medal for the second year in a row in addition to showing great improvement on beam, where she added a second gold to her collection.

After hitting in qualifications for a 54.500, Godwin added a 54.250 in finals for a two-day total of 108.750, besting Olympian Emily Little by over a point. It wasn’t a flawless day – she did have mistakes on beam and floor – and if the competition allowed for a clean slate, then third place Madelaine Leydin would have been the title-winner with her single day score of 54.775. But overall, Godwin seemed confident in her work, and her mistakes were nothing that can’t be worked on.

Beginning on bars, Godwin hit a Maloney to pak, toe half to Jaeger, and a double layout for a 14.3, a very nice finish. On beam she hit her triple wolf turn followed up by a double turn, which was very impressive, but she fell on her acro series and dismount, earning just a 12.875. She also struggled on floor, but hit her FTY very nicely for a 14.375 to cement the win.

Little was much improved from her first day, where she suffered large mistakes on beam and floor. She did have an issue on bars, coming off after hitting her feet on the low bar, though she finished strong with a double layout dismount. Her beam went 13.025 after she hit her front tuck, full wolf turn, front aerial, bhs loso series, and 2.5 dismount, looking clean from start to finish.

On floor, Little hit her big new full-twisting double layout upgrade with a ton of power, earning a 13.625 with a 5.8 start value, and then she finished her meet with her signature strong DTY for a 15.025, bringing her to a 54.375 for the day. Combined with her 53.100 on day one, her score of 107.475 was good enough for the silver medal.

It was a close finish between Little and Leydin, however. Leydin’s combined score of 107.400 was just hundredths away from topping her. She had some big struggles on day one, but improved her all-around score by over two points, finishing on day two with a 54.775, the highest single all-around score of the entire competition.

In finals, Leydin fell on a layout on beam, but did hit her side somi, front tuck to wolf jump, and dismount before going on to have an otherwise excellent day. Her execution on floor was remarkably clean, getting her to a 13.55 for her popular Bollywood routine, she had a tiny hop on her Yurchenko 1.5 for a 14.15, and on bars she performed a Maloney to pak, van Leeuwen, excellent Markelov to Gienger combination, and full-out dismount for a 14.175. It was a great effort from the 17-year-old.

These three were unbeatable by others in the all-around race, though there were some nice performances from specialists as well. Alexandra Eade had some wobbles on beam (though hit her double tuck dismount), but looked great on vault and floor. Her huge and clean FTY earned a 14.325 and she managed a 13.0 on floor after hitting a 2.5 to stag jump, 1.5 through to double back, double full, and double pike.

Kiara Munteanu performed on vault and bars this weekend, and showed improvements in finals compared to qualifications. Her FTY was lovely for a 14.15, and on bars she hit her Maloney, Tkatchev to Gienger, Jaeger, bail, and full-out dismount, looking superb overall for a 13.725.

Also in the specialist mix was returning two-time Olympian Lauren Mitchell, who is hoping for a “third time’s a charm” experience in 2016. With a slow start with lower difficulty than usual on beam and floor, she still had a very nice outing in all-around finals. On beam, she hit her switch ring, bhs layout, 2.5 wolf turn, and dismount for a 13.75, not bad considering the difficulty level. On floor, she had a big step on her double arabian, but hit her double tuck and double pike, finishing strong for a 13.525.

In event finals, titles went to Little on vault, Rianna Mizzen on bars, Godwin on beam, and Mitchell on floor.

Little performed her DTY yet again, this time earning a massive 15.3, and then went for a tsuk full, which was also rewarded with a great execution score, coming out to a 14.575 total. Little also managed a silver medal on floor and the bronze on beam. Her floor showed super strong tumbling, including another hit full-twisting double layout, full-in, 1.5 through to double tuck, and a double pike for a 13.8, while on beam she looked solid enough for a 13.45.

Rianna Mizzen was a bit of a surprise for the title on bars, the only event she competed at this championships. In qualifications and all-around finals, she had a nice routine, but never quite scored well enough to make much of an impact over others with strength there like Godwin and Leydin, who were more favored to win. But Mizzen went all out for event finals, giving fans a look at her beautiful lines while hitting her Maloney, Ray, and pak salto to earn a 14.075 with a 5.7 start value.

You could also say Godwin was a little surprising for beam gold, a medal she earned with a 14.4, her highest score after struggling on the event all week. Beam is the country’s strongest event, but gymnasts with high start values like Emma Nedov and Mitchell couldn’t seem to get the job done cleanly.

This was Godwin’s issue earlier on in the week, but in finals she went for broke, performing a triple wolf turn as well as her insane front aerial to side aerial to sissone to side somi sequence before performing a 2.5 wolf turn as well. This difficulty stacked up to a ginormous 6.5, and while there’s still some work to be done execution-wise, it was easily the best beam set in the country.

Godwin also picked up a bronze medal on bars, where she performed her 5.8 routine cleanly aside from a large hop on her double layout dismount for a 13.75 total.

And then it was finally Mitchell’s turn for gold on floor. It wasn’t a perfect routine, but she upgraded a good deal from her other routines during the week. She went out-of-bounds twice, on her full-in pike as well as her double arabian, but she had a great double pike to finish and linked leaps and jumps to all of her tumbling passes, helping to minimize her landing deductions. In the end, her 13.9 put her just a tenth ahead of Little, securing gold in her return to the sport.

Leydin didn’t come away with any event final golds, but she’s the only gymnast to come away from the meet with five individual medals, earning vault bronze, bars silver, beam silver, and floor bronze in addition to her all-around bronze.

On vault, only two gymnasts performed two vaults from different families, so Leydin had to incur a two-point penalty for showing two Yurchenkos, hitting a clean full for a 14.4 and then a solid 1.5 for a 14.325. Because of the penalty, she averaged just 12.363 instead of 14.363, but it was still the highest vault average for those who also had to take the same family penalty.

She was less than a tenth away from a gold medal on bars, but in the end earned a 13.9 after a mostly clean routine including another awesome Markelov to Gienger connection. On beam, her second silver came despite a broken leap series, though she was otherwise steady and nailed her double pike dismount for a 13.575, and then on floor she had a 13.5 after hitting clean tumbling and dynamic leaps.

Aside from these, the only other medalists was a 24-year-old first-time elite gymnast named Stephanie Magiros. Magiros has competed at the national championships in Australia before (including as a level 10 last year), but this was her first time in the international group, though she’s no stranger to the pressure. Magiros is a snowboarder who competed in the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, and has the dream of being the first Australian to compete in back-to-back summer and winter Games.

Magiros only competed on vault, and though her difficulty is still a bit low, her execution and attention to detail are to die for. Both of her vaults – a handspring front pike and a tsuk layout – are out of 4.6, though her execution is consistently above a 9.0. She finished with a 13.937 average to earn the silver medal a point behind Little; if she can keep her consistency and execution where it is but upgrade to stronger vaults, her Olympic dream just might come true!

Article by Lauren Hopkins

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