This morning was the 2015 European Games all-around final, featuring both men’s and women’s competition simultaneously at the arena in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Aliya Mustafina of Russia with a 58.566 and Giulia Steingruber of Switzerland with a 56.699 were the gold and silver medalists with no real challengers to either of them. There was a bit of a nice fight for the bronze medal, especially after Sophie Scheder of Germany fell on her Church on bars. Lieke Wevers of the Netherlands would earn the third place spot with a 55.065, just about a tenth ahead of Scheder with a 54.932.
Our full recap of the event is below. Enjoy!
Scheder was the first we saw on vault, competing a super clean FTY with a straight body line and the slightest hop back.
Up next was Steingruber with probably the best Rudi I’ve ever seen her do. No leg separation aside from the pre-flight, a nice straight body in the flight, and a solid landing for a huge 15.6.
Mustafina in shimmery blue and purple performed one of her usual DTYs with its usual form stuff…separated legs especially in pre-flight and during the second twist, a slight hip pike, and a bent knee in the second twist, earning a score of 14.866 to start her off.
In one of the French standard nude leos with the deep slit to the belly button, Valentine Pikul had a strong and clean tsuk full with a bounce back on the landing, earning a 14.033 for her effort.
Wevers also had a clean FTY, though she gets about half the distance as Pikul and Scheder, landing super close to the table. Her form in pre-flight was excellent, though she did pike down a bit as she approached the landing finishing with her chest down to finish with a 13.7.
On beam, we got to see the Polish gymnast Gabriela Janik, who began with a side aerial to bhs. Her form on the aerial was great, though she bent her knees on the bhs a bit. There was a little wobble on her side somi, which she didn’t connect to the switch leap before it, she hit her jumps with ease, there was a check on her switch side, her front aerial, and her back tuck, and she hit her tuck 1.5 dismount with a step, looking relieved when she finished, and posting a 12.566.
Ukraine’s Angelina Kysla began on floor unfortunately sitting her double arabian and then stumbling far out-of-bounds on her 1.5 to 2.5. She landed her double pike well, but earned only an 11.666 for this routine.
First up on bars was Steingruber, who hit her van Leeuwen with no problems before continuing to a toe full to Gienger, a clean pak, a Maloney to clear hip half to a giant half to Markelov. Her double front dismount was super cowboyed and she took a step back, but other than that, there were no major issues…just her regular form issues, a short handstand or two, and I believe her clear hip before the Markelov is supposed to be a full, not a half. Either way she hit without disaster and earned a 13.133.
Queen Mustafina up next posted a monster 15.5 for her routine, beginning with an inbar full to Maloney to pak to van Leeuwen, all hit fluidly with no form errors.. Her inbar half to piked Jaeger was seamless, as was her toe full to full-in with a tiny step. Excellent work, and yet still room for improvement, giving her the potential for a huge score come October.
Wevers began with a Ray to pak, both lovely in terms of form. She also hit her toe on to Maloney to bail to toe full to toe shoot with no problems, and showed clean form on her double front dismount, which she hopped forward a tiny bit, earning a 13.966.
Next was Scheder, who hit her inbar full to Komova II to bail to toe full to Ray all very nicely and fluidly, caught her Jaeger, but then missed her Church by what looked like a long shot…just a little too much height there and her hands hit the top of the bar but she never even had time to grasp it. She continued with a sky high full-in dismount with a step forward and walked away looking rightfully bummed, earning a 13.766.
On floor, Gaelle Mys of Belgium opened with some lovely pirouette work before hitting her front double full to front tuck, landed out-of-bounds. Her double tuck was hit well, and she stuck her double pike cold for an excellent finish to post a 13.3.
Our first look at the third rotation was Dorina Böczögö of Hungary on vault. Böczögö competed a very strong handspring front pike half with a step back for a score of 13.766 while matching the arena nicely in her purple leo.
Mustafina had the honor of going first on beam, showing a nicely controlled double spin to start, followed by her standing arabian with just a slight check. She moved on to a switch ring and then a switch half before her side aerial, where there was a sizable wobble (and none of these three skills were connected). She hit her side somi nicely, but then had a check after her front aerial to front aerial, and just hit the back handspring as a solo skill, as usual. The jumps were strong, and she finished with a double back with just a step, posting a 14.5 with a 6.1 d-score.
We then got our first look at Italy’s Tea Ugrin, in hot pink. Her jumps had great amplitude, her full spin was seamless, and she hit her bhs loso with a wobble but fought to stay on. She moved on to her switch ring, switch half, side aerial with great extension, switch side, split leap to side somi (a very fluid connection), and a double tuck dismount with a step back for a 13.466. Not quite the steady set we got from her in qualifications, but still not a bad effort.
In the background of Ugrin’s routine we saw Kysla take a nasty spill from the uneven bars on her van Leeuwen, which she caught but then lost her grasp and peeled off onto her back.
Wevers began beam with a lovely switch leap to sissone, a side aerial to side aerial with a bit of a slow connection but within the window of counting as a series, and then another slow connection on her front aerial to wolf jump. Her 1.5 L turn and her double pirouette were both effortless, she hit her random back handspring and side somi with no problems, and dismounted with a clean and stuck gainer layout, looking thrilled as she exited the podium.
Steingruber mounted with a switch leap and hit her front aerial, and then looked good on her jump series. Her bhs layout was solid and dead center, she had a check on her full spin and again on her punch front pike, side somi, and switch half, making for a shaky routine for her, though she stuck her eponymous gainer full dismount with a smile for a 13.766.
Routines we missed in the third rotation include Scheder’s beam, which she hit exceptionally well for a 14.233 and an 8.733 execution, Mys on vault for a 13.766, and Pikul on beam, who earned a 13.3.
Pikul was first up on floor, in what is one of my favorite floor routines being done in Baku (it’s so frantic and anxiety-inducing, I feel like she’s trying to run from a bank heist and I love it). She only got her quad turn about 3.5 times around to start, and then hit her tucked full-in with a small hop to the side, seemed to stumble a tiny bit out of some dance before her second pass, and then hit her double pike with a little bounce back. Unfortunately she had an uncharacteristic fall on her double tuck, definitely a bummer, giving her just a 12.233 here, though she didn’t seem to bummed.
Up next was Ugrin with her excellent Swan Lake performance, featuring an effortless triple full, a tidy double pike with a great landing, a double tuck hopped back. Definitely a crowd favorite, and she performs so well…just always seems to have a smile on her face. The young Italian earned a 13.466 for her excellent effort here, matching her beam score exactly.
Wevers with her minimalist tumbling routine but brilliant choreography began with a lovely double L turn to double pirouette before her opening stuck double tuck pass. Her pirouette in attitude was gorgeous, the form on her 2.5 was some of her best, and though she stumbled a bit out of her final pirouette (which I believe was supposed to be a quad but only made it to about 3.5) it was overall gorgeous work for a 13.866.
Scheder began her routine with a double pike stumbled forward slightly, followed by a relatively effortless 2.5 and a stuck double tuck as her final pass. A very nice routine, and she looked happy with her effort, which earned a 13.033, allowing her to finish just behind Wevers (the score changed her smile into tears realizing she wouldn’t be on the podium with Steingruber and Mustafina still to go).
Second to last was Steingruber, opening with an awesome stuck full-in double layout. She also hit her double layout well, though her leg bounced up a bit after she landed, which happened again on her open double tuck. Her last pass, the double pike, was landed nicely, feet apart but with no movement afterwards, and she earned a 14.2 to secure a spot on the podium.
Finally we saw Mustafina, who opened with a very strong double layout, a new skill for her this year. She stumbled out of her opening turn sequence, but hit her 2.5 to front full with no problems aside from the janky leg form in the 2.5. Her Mustafina turn was nicely controlled, the 1.5 to Rudi was solid, and her quad pirouette was slightly shy of being fully around, though it was a great attempt. Mustafina finished with a double tuck bounced slightly back to earn a 13.7, not a great routine though more than enough to secure the gold by nearly two points.
Following the meet there was a great deal of camaraderie between all of the gymnasts, including Mustafina and Steingruber; Mustafina also shared a few words with some of the Azerbaijanis and the Ukrainians while Steingruber and Wevers met with everyone in passing.
A very nice, albeit predictable final, save for the bronze medal. I was pleased to see Ugrin place 5th with a 54.331; she’s an excellent and consistent gymnast who could be a big help to the Italian team this year, and I hope she’s able to steadily add difficulty to make her even stronger. Mys also had a great competition, going four-for-four to finish 6th with a 53.799.
An interesting tidbit, but while Romania’s Andreea Iridon qualified into the all-around over Laura Jurca, Jurca was swapped into the final, though posted just a 52.632 for 9th place after further struggles on bars. The 15-year-old seemed to also have errors on both vault (where her DTY scored just a 13.4 with a 7.7 e-score and a 0.1 penalty) and on floor (where she had just a 7.666 e-score and a 13.366 total).
We also didn’t see any of the British Kelly Simm‘s routines, though she seemed to have a disastrous beam in addition to errors on floor and vault; somewhat surprisingly, bars was her strongest event at a 14.266. Her all-around score was just a 51.932 for 11th place.
That’s all for the all-around final! Join us on Saturday morning for all four event finals.
Article by Lauren Hopkins