The Epic Golden League Recap

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The team from GAL Lissone became the 2015 Golden League champions last weekend with a 269.600, over second place Brixia Brescia (268.800). Artistica 81 Trieste earned bronze with a score of 262.550, while Ginnica Giglio scored a 257.650.

Before we get started with the recap, there were actually some changes to the event finals compared to last year. First of all, since there aren’t many competitive gymnasts who train two vaults, there was only the single-vault final. Secondly, the gymnasts who actually took part in the event finals weren’t necessarily the eight best qualified for the four events. The Italian national team director Enrico Casella decided to preserve the gymnasts in contention for Worlds, preferring to test some of the younger gymnasts (especially on floor) while also giving the opportunity to some veterans to
perform again on Sunday.

There were a couple of notable absences: Vanessa Ferrari didn’t take part in the competition, opting to preserve her energy as she looks toward Glasgow. At the press conference for the upcoming Italian Championships, which will be held in Turin, she stated that she isn’t at the top of her form, but she’s still working to get back in shape in time for Worlds at the end of October. Giorgia Campana missed the competition too, apparently because of a last minute injury, and the Isreaelian Tzuf Feldon competed as a guest.

In the recap below, all scores are the actual scores the gymnasts would have received without bonuses. The bonuses, which are given out for difficulty, are in parentheses following the score. So if a gymnast’s score is listed as a 14.5 and the bonus is 0.2, she received a 14.7 at the Golden League, but in “real life” would’ve just gotten the 14.5.

The 2012 Olympian and 2013 World beam finalist Carlotta Ferlito claimed the all-around gold with a 56.050 (0.6) after a solid performance, aside from bars. On that event, she fell on her Maloney in a routine that also included a stalder full, bail, stalder half (with some form issues in the handstand), straddled jaeger, and a double arabian dismount for a 12.7.

She was very consistent on her other events, however. Though she is training a DTY, she performed a Yurchenko 1.5 for a 14.35 (0.1). On floor, she debuted a new routine which featured a full-in (hop), a stuck triple full (with her usual form issues), and a double pike (hopped out-of-bounds) for a 13.95 (0.4). She also attempted a Mustafina turn, but didn’t complete the rotations.

On beam, her pet event, Ferlito performed an extremely clean and wobble-free routine. She opened with a slow but smooth connection between the front aerial and sheep jump, and then her bhs bhs layout was the best I’ve ever seen her do, as the form on her layout has visibly improved. She went on with a switch to back tuck, full turn, split jump to wolf jump, side aerial, switch ring, and then surprised with a stuck double pike dismount, replacing her 2.5 and avoiding the form deductions she used to get for it. She earned a huge 15.05 (0.1) there with a 6.1 d-score, and that included a tenth off for going over time as she took a little time to prepare for the new dismount.

In event finals, she looked strong on beam again, earning a 14.7 (5.9 d-score, 0.1 bonus) and winning her third gold. There were no mistakes or wobbles aside from a tiny adjustment on her side aerial, but she replaced the split to wolf jump combo with a full turn into a split jump. In the single vault final, she earned a 14.3 (0.1) for her Yurchenko 1.5, bending her legs in the second rotation, though landing it on the center line.

Martina Rizzelli won the all-around silver with a 55.2 (1.0) without any major errors on any of the apparatuses. The 2015 European bars finalist earned a 14.45 (0.2) for her DTY with some form issues. On bars, she performed a routine with gorgeous combos, opening with a Ricna to pak, and then hitting a Maloney to bail to Ray, stalder half, stalder full, and an almost stuck full-in dismount. She still needs to work on cleaning her handstands, but her score of 14.3 (0.4) shows that she’s one of the most promising bars gymnasts among the Italian girls.

On beam, her weakest event, she earned a 12.75, while on floor, she performed a clean Memmel, a double layout (with a hop), a full-in (with a rough landing and her chest too low), and then a stuck double tuck and double pike for a 13.7 (0.4). In the single vault final, she performed her DTY again to earn the gold with a 14.8 (0.2), and then she upped her d-score on bars to a 6.0 on that final, connecting the stalder full directly to the full-in dismount for a score of 14.45 (0.4), which let her win another silver.

Finally recovered from the ankle injury that compromised her chase for a spot at European Championships last spring, Enus Mariani is back in the all-around, earning the bronze medal with a score of 55.4 (she had 0.2 in bonus compared to Rizzelli’s full point; note that without bonuses, Mariani would’ve been second).

On vault, Mariani performed an FTY for a 13.95. On bars, she had a great routine, including a Maloney to bail to stalder full to Ray, a stalder half to Jaeger, and a Ricna, though unfortunately she sat her double layout dismount. Nevertheless, she earned a 13.85 (5.8 d-score, 0.2 bonus), which isn’t bad considering the fall.

She opened her beam with a split jump to wolf jump, then did a leap into a front aerial, a bhs loso (wobble), a switch half with good amplitude, a sissone to side aerial (another wobble there), a Y turn, a side somi, a switch leap, and then a double pike dismount to finish, landing with a step forward due to her low chest for a score of 14.0. On floor, she performed a simplified routine, landing her double tuck with a step, showing form issues on the double full, not completing her Memmel turn, and finishing with a double pike for a 13.6.

The 2012 European junior all-around champion redeemed herself during event finals, however, winning the gold on bars with a perfectly nailed routine for a 14.75 (0.2) while grabbing the silver medal on beam with another 14.0.

Lara Mori had a surprisingly strong comeback after the injury she suffered this spring, placing fourth in the all-around. On vault, she hit her FTY for a 13.65, and then delivered a routine on bars that included a stalder full, Ricna, Ray, bail to Ray, stalder half to Endo (where she fought hard to avoid a fall), and a stuck double layout, earning a 13.4.

The 2015 Worlds team member – who started out as an alternate but impressed as she was called on to compete – had her best score of the day on beam, performing a switch to back tuck, Y turn, bhs loso loso (wobbling on the latter), side aerial to split jump to wolf jump, switch ring, switch half, and a good 2.5 dismount for a 14.2 (0.1). On floor, she took a step forward on her full-in and hopped the landing of her triple full, but stuck the double tuck and double pike for a 13.85 (0.4).

In event finals, Mori earned the bronze on beam, ending her routine with a stuck 2.5 for a score of 13.8 (0.1). On bars, she placed fourth with a 13.7.

Elisa Meneghini had some ups and downs throughout the weekend. She was pretty clean on vault in both the team and event finals, where she earned a 14.25 (0.1) and a 14.45 (0.1), respectively, winning the bronze in event finals. On bars, she scored a 13.7 for a routine that included a toe half, Jaeger, Tkatchev, bail, toe shoot, toe full, and a double arabian dismount; this same routine earned a 13.45 in event finals.

On beam, her strongest event, she had a fall on her side somi, though hit a switch to back tuck, side aerial to sissone to wolf jump, full turn, front aerial to split jump, bhs loso loso (her leg came up on the landing), a straddle 1/4, switch ring (with a very low rear leg so it’s likely the skill wasn’t credited), and an almost-stuck double pike dismount. She wasn’t any luckier in the event final there, falling on the straddle 1/4.

Meneghini did have a better outcome on floor, however, performing a double layout with a hop on the landing, a full-in with a step forward, and then she stuck both the whip whip to double tuck and the double pike passes.

Tea Ugrin, who competed so well at the European Games this year, also struggled, making several mistakes here and there. She performed her usual FTY for a 13.9, and on bars, she delivered a Maloney to bail to stalder, falling at the end of this combo before continuing with a toe shoot, inbar full to Gienger, and a stuck full-in for a 13.15 (0.2).

She had another fall on beam, on her side somi at the very end of her routine, but prior to this she hit her front aerial to split jump to wolf jump, full turn, switch ring (with a low back leg), switch half, side aerial, and straddle 1/4. Finishing up with a just a double full dismount, she only managed a 12.95 there.

On floor, Ugrin opened her lovely routine with a triple full, hopping forward on the landing, and then she stumbled out of the double pike. She went on with a double full, a double L turn into a full turn, and then attempted a Ferrari leap, but her rear leg was nowhere near her head so the skill wasn’t credited. She finished with a double tuck with her chest very low, thus taking a step forward to score a 13.75 (0.2).

Ugrin was cleaner in event finals, but the low d-scores in her exercises didn’t give her a chance at any medals, and she earned a 13.85 for her FTY, a 13.5 on bars (where she missed the connection between her inbar full and Gienger), and a 13.8 on beam (note that she would have been third here had Mori not earned a tenth in bonus).

As she’s basically a lock for the team that will go to Worlds in Glasgow, Erika Fasana didn’t need to compete in the all-around, and lowered her d-score on the events performed. She opted for a simple FTY on vault, scoring a 14.0. On bars, she scored a huge 14.4 (0.1) – for Italian bars standards, anyway! – delivering a toe full to Maloney to giant full, Church, Ray, bail to toe shoot, and a double layout with a step forward.

The 2015 American Cup bronze medalist decided to simplify her floor routine, normally her best event, opting for a stuck double layout, a full-in with a hop, a Memmel, a Ferrari leap (with a low back leg), and a hopped double pike for a 14.25 (5.7 d-score, 0.4 bonus).

In finals, Fasana took part only on bars, earning the bronze medal with a score of 14.05 (0.1).

The promising junior Sofia Busato looked especially excellent on vault, where her DTY is one of the cleanest and most powerful among the Italian girls. She earned a 14.7 (0.2) in the team final and a 14.8 (0.2) in the event final, tying teammate Rizzelli for gold.

On bars, Busato showed a Chow to pak (leg separation), Maloney to bail to Ray, stalder full, toe half, Tkatchev, and a double pike dismount for a 13.25 (0.4). On beam, she performed a bhs loso, front aerial, full turn, split jump to wolf jump, switch leap, back tuck, side somi, switch half, sheep jump, and a double full for a 13.5.

Busato competed on beam in event finals as well, but fell on her side somi and showed many wobbles and tiny adjustments skill after skill to earn just a 12.0. In the bars final, she brought in another 13.25 (0.4) for a hit routine.

Keep an eye on this girl next year! She’s the Italian junior with the biggest chance to fight for a spot on the Olympic team in Rio.

The floor podium may surprise the readers, but as I said before, Casella decided to rest the top gymnasts, which opened this final to a curious mix of youngsters and veterans. The junior Francesca Noemi Linari earned the gold medal with a 13.55 for a routine that included a 1.5 to layout full, a double pike with a step, a double tuck with her chest low, and a 2.5 with a hop.

Silver and bronze went to veterans Federica Macri, age 25, and Adriana Crisci, age 33, respectively. Macri’s routine featured an almost-stuck full-in, a double full, and a double tuck with a hop for a 13.5 (0.2), while Crisci scored a 13.15, delivering a double arabian, a double full, and a stuck double pike.

Article by Valeria Violi
Photo by Filippo Tomasi/FGI

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