Finland, Iceland Top Medals at Nordic Champs

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This year’s Nordic Championships was a battle between Iceland and Finland, which went back and forth in the medal pool to see Finland walk away with eleven while Iceland, competing at home in Reykjavik, managed ten.

Iceland actually dominated the senior women’s competition, however, winning the team title with a 153.495 in addition to taking seven individual medals, including at least one on every event and at least one individual medal for each and every member of the team.

Agnes Suto, the Hungarian-born 23-year-old who has been a member of several worlds teams, had an especially strong all-around performance, picking up the bronze medal with a 50.499. She came out on top of both upcoming Olympian Irina Sazonova, who was fifth with a 49.832 after a rough time on beam, and Dominiqua Belanyi, sixth with a 49.831.

Sazonova bounced back in the apparatus finals, winning the silver on vault with a 13.7 and gold on bars with a 13.2. Suto managed a second bronze medal with her solid work on beam for a 12.233, while Belanyi was the bars silver medalist with a 12.533. The remaining members of Iceland’s team, Tinna Odinsdottir (who competed everything but vault) and Sigridur Bergthorsdottir (who was 15th all-around with a 46.799), both qualified into the floor final, where Odinsdottir hit a fantastic routine for silver with a 12.7 and Bergthorsdottir came in right behind with a 12.666 for bronze, despite going out-of-bounds.

In the junior field, Iceland won the bronze medal in a hotly contested team final, where the top three teams were all within a tenth of one another (gold medalist Sweden actually defeated silver medalist Finland by just 0.001!). Margret Kristinsdottir was the top all-arounder for the team, winning the bronze there with a 48.832 and qualifying into the bars and beam finals, where she placed fifth and sixth, respectively, after issues on both.

Also part of the junior team was Fjola Thorsteinsdottir in eighth with a 46.732, Thelma Gudjonsdottir in 14th with a 45.198, Katharina Johannesdottir in 15th with a 45.132, and Vigdis Palmadottir in 18th with a 44.666. In the apparatus finals, Gudjonsdottir had a clean vault to finish fourth with a 13.2 while Johannesdottir hit floor to finish sixth with a 12.166.

Finland had a well-rounded team at both the senior and junior levels, with the senior team taking the bronze medal with a 149.862 and the junior team winning the silver with a 144.829, just 0.001 behind Sweden. The seniors were without Olympian Annika Urvikko, who is expected to lead the team at Euros next month, but still put up strong performances, especially from Rosanna Ojala, who was the all-around silver medalist with a 50.599 in addition to placing fourth on both bars and beam (though she had mistakes on both in finals).

Maija Leinonen had a good first day of competition everywhere but floor, which limited her all-around score to a 48.531 for seventh place. She came back looking great in the beam final, however, winning the gold there with a 13.033. Jenni Grönroos (16th all-around with a 45.799) won the vault bronze with a 13.683, and both Siiri Saukkonen (ninth all-around with a 48.299) and Anna Salmi (tenth all-around with a 48.199) also made it to event finals, with Saukkonen placing fourth on floor with a 12.633 while Salmi was fifth on both vault and floor, with scores of 13.449 and 12.533, respectively.

The juniors saw a great fight overall, including an all-around win from Iida-Maria Vänni, who also competed exceptionally well on bars and beam in event finals to bring home the golds there with scores of 12.333 and 12.466. Tira Kuitunen was seventh all-around with a 47.333 and won bars bronze (11.766) and floor silver (13.066), Enni Kettunen was ninth with a 46.632, Emilia Kemppi was 16th with a 45.099 and placed fifth on floor with a 12.4, and Wilma Malin was 22nd with a 43.098, looking weak on bars and beam but showing excellent strength and power on vault and floor, winning vault bronze with a 13.3.

The Swedish teams also stood out, even if they didn’t have quite the individual success that the other two brought. The senior team was without Jonna Adlerteg (who is out with injury) and Emma Larsson (who qualified a spot at this summer’s Olympic Games), leaving Argentina-born 27-year-old Marcela Torres in charge alongside her 2015 worlds teammates Ece Ayan and Lovisa Estberg.

Ayan, 18, won the all-around gold medal with a 50.699, just one tenth ahead of the silver medalist thanks to especially good work on vault and beam, while Torres was fourth all-around with a 49.864, her vault as always a standout event. Torres went on to win the vault title with a 14.283 while Estberg, who competed everything but vault in prelims, captured the floor title with a 12.833 for her solid set, though overall Sweden only earned half of the finals berths available to them.

In addition to the medalists, Torres also managed fifth place on bars with an 11.466 and Ayan was sixth on beam with a fall there for a 10.766. Nicole Wanström and Saga Svantesson also competed in Reykjavik, with Wanström placing 13th all-around with a 47.966 and Svantesson competing only vault and floor.

The juniors pulled off that incredible win in a close battle, but individually only picked up beam silver from Agnes Åkerman, who was sixth all-around with a 47.931 and also finished fourth on floor with a 12.6. The top all-arounder for the juniors was Cecilia Wrangdahl, fourth with a 48.533 in addition to finishing fourth on bars and fifth on beam. Sigrid Risberg was tenth with a 46.465 and was sixth on bars with the cleanest but easiest routine, Lova Thingvall was 12th all-around with a 46.098 and placed fifth on vault, and the 12-year-old Tonya Paulsson – who just made the national team two weeks ago! – was limited only to bars due to a knee injury.

Norway placed fourth as a team in the senior division with a 146.629 and fifth in the junior division with a 141.263. Ingrid von Hafenbradl, a first-year senior, had the best competition with an eighth place all-around finish scoring 48.332 and a bit of a surprise silver on beam, where her difficulty of 5.2 helped make up for some of her mistakes, bringing her to a 12.533 to capture the sole medal for the seniors.

Sofie Bråten was tenth all-around with a 48.199 and placed sixth on vault and bars, Sofie Skåttun was 12th with a 48.132 and placed fifth on beam, Martine Skregelid was 14th with a 47.498, and Martine Bjørshol was 18th with a 43.765 and finished sixth on floor.

The juniors picked up two medals of their own, with Juliane Tøssebro (sixth all-around with a 48.465) winning floor bronze with a 12.9 and Julie Søderstrøm (11th with a 46.366) winning vault silver with a 13.433. Also competing was Anne Tingvold in 13th with a 45.832 and sixth on vault, Mari Kanter in 21st with a 43.632, and Sigrid Lello in 24th with a 40.333.

Denmark was fifth in the senior division and fourth in the juniors, and though this is overall a weaker team than Norway, they managed to out-medal their neighbors to the north thanks to the standout junior Marie Skammelsen, who medaled on each event to single-handedly take home five of the country’s six medals here.

The senior team had only four members, with Victoria Gilberg placing 17th all-around with a 44.032 and Josefine Henriksen placing 19th with a 38.699. Denmark had Ida Holst on board everywhere but beam as well as Mette Hulgaard on bars and beam. The 27-year-old Hulgaard ended up looking strong on bars in the final to get a bronze there with a 12.066, a nice surprise given that she was the one Danish senior to make an event final.

But Skammelsen owned the junior competition, winning the all-around with a 51.832 to post the highest score among both juniors and seniors before going on to win the titles on vault (she had a great FTY for a 14.033) and floor (her 5.3 d-score was the highest in the bunch and she managed a 13.233 there) in addition to winning bars silver with a 12.166 and beam bronze with a 12.133. Overall, she showed a lot of promise and could be one to watch next quad, as she has a strong chance at becoming Denmark’s first female artistic gymnast in the modern era.

Also competing on Denmark’s junior squad was Victoria Kajø in 17th with a 44.699, Sofia Bjørnholdt in 19th with a 44.332, Amalie Rosendahl in 20th with a 44.199, and Emilie Midbøll in 23rd with a 42.666. Kajø qualified into the beam final, but a fall left her in sixth place.

The Faroe Islands did not bring a full team to the Nordic Championships, but had three gymnasts competing everything but bars. Liv Bech Artung and Elsbet Dalbø competed in the senior field while Marita Mortensen competed as a junior.

Full results from this year’s Nordic Championships are available here.

Article by Lauren Hopkins

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