Steingruber improved greatly with both of her vaults today, hitting her season-best average of 15.134 to win the title by a huge margin. She performed the best Rudi I’ve seen in a very long time, showing tons of power, mostly clean form in the air with only a slight pike down, and a stuck landing, earning a massive 15.5. Her second vault, the DTY, wasn’t quite as clean and lost direction in the air, but her 14.767 was more than enough to seal the win.
Coming in second for the silver medal was Phan Thi Ha Thanh of Vietnam, who averaged a 14.4 for two solid vaults of her own. Her first vault, a handspring front pike half, was actually pretty open so I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s going for a layout there eventually. It was clean and with only a small step on the landing, earning a 14.033, and then she went on to hit a DTY with only minor form breaks and a small step on the landing for a 14.767 there.
Katarzyna Jurkowska of Poland was third with a 14.167 average for her superb handspring front layout half, where her only movement on the landing was a minuscule bounce in place, earning a 14.567. She was thrilled with this effort, and went on to hit an equally lovely and perfectly clean tsuk layout, also with just a small bounce and only a minor leg separation on the entry, earning a 13.767 there.
Right behind her was Tjasa Kysselef of Slovenia in fourth, averaging 14.134 to finish just 0.033 away from what would’ve been her sixth podium of the challenge cup season. Her first vault, the handspring front tuck full, lost a little bit of leg form in the air halfway through and she had a step on the landing for a 14.267. Following that, Kysselef performed a strong and clean FTY, bouncing back on the landing for a 14.0.
Russia’s Evgeniya Shelgunova was fifth with a 13.867 average. Her messy DTY earned only a 14.3 thanks to poor leg form in the air and a lack of control on the landing, and her second vault, a Yurchenko half-on front tuck, picked up a 13.433, with her form there quite a bit messy as well, even despite the low difficulty.
With Thauany Araujo‘s decision to skip out on the final for unknown reasons, Lisa Ecker of Austria ended up getting a shot to compete as the first reserve, and she did a fantastic job to finish sixth averaging a 13.75. Her FTY was big and clean, with just a step back to earn a 13.967, while her tsuk layout had a small hop back for a 13.533. She was followed by Valerija Grisane of Latvia with a 13.533 for her messy tsuk full (stumbled forward to earn a 13.733) and a somewhat messy front tuck half as well (for a 13.333). In eighth was Gaya Giladi of Israel, who hit a clean FTY with a slight step out-of-bounds for a 13.633 and a clean handspring front tuck half with another small out-of-bounds step for a 13.4, averaging 13.517.
Skrypnik’s steady work on bars helped her to the title there by exactly a point, earning a 15.067. The new Russian senior had a toe full to Komova II to pak to Chow half, all performed cleanly, in addition to a clean piked Jaeger and an inbar full straight into full-in dismount, which had messy tuck form and a big step out to the side. Even with her massive 6.7 difficulty, her execution took quite a hit, mostly due to some weird leg form on most of her skills, where her ankles seem to cross slightly. She also had a few adjustments in her handstands, but with her difficulty, it was easy for her to take the title even with the mistakes.
In her second final of the day, Shelgunova picked up the silver medal with a 14.067, showing a toe full to messy van Leeuwen, a toe half to straddle Jaeger, a Tkachev with slightly bent knees into her messy too-arched pak with leg separation, a van Leeuwen to clear hip, and a stuck double layout with slight leg separation. All of the form errors led to an execution score of 8.167, which I actually thought was a bit high, and I think Steingruber should’ve probably been in that second place.
Steingruber was right behind in third with a 14.0, looking strong on her clear hip to Maloney to pak with just a slight bit of leg separation on the latter, a van Leeuwen with maybe a bit too much oomph, though she controlled it nicely, a slightly late toe full to Gienger, and a blind change to front giant to double front, which was a little cowboyed but landed very well.
Marine Brevet of France finished fourth with a 13.833. Her handstands overall are a bit short, which takes away a big chunk of her execution, but she was mostly clean, including on her Chow to pak, Maloney to bail to Ray, and double arabian dismount, which had a step forward on the landing. Ana Sofia Gomez of Guatemala was fifth with a 13.6, impressing with her toe full to Maloney to clear hip to Ray sequence, and showing otherwise strong work throughout.
The bottom half of the competitors had problems in their routines. Marine Boyer of France had to hop off after over-arching her bail to earn a 12.267 for sixth, Valentina Rashkova of Bulgaria stumbled back and sat her double layout dismount for an 11.433 to finish seventh, and Teja Belak tried to muscle through her giant half but got stuck and had to hop off and then crashed her double front to her knees for an 11.067 to place eighth.
In last place was Jurkowska with an incredibly frustrating routine that earned only a 9.633. She struggled with the timing on her giant full near the end of her routine, attempting to adjust in handstand but giving up and hopping off twice to count two falls there. She dealt with it calmly, but just didn’t have enough juice to complete it, and ended up sitting her her double front at the end as well, getting just a 5.333 execution score. Her attitude throughout it all was inspiring, however. She didn’t give up, and walked away with a smile on her face, choosing to laugh about the rough performance rather than letting it get to her. At that point, there’s nothing you can do, and it’s nice to see athletes who realize this and move on rather than dwelling.
Full results from today’s competition are available here. The challenge cup concludes tomorrow with beam expected to be a battle where anyone can take the podium while Steingruber stands to earn her second gold of the weekend on floor.
Article by Lauren Hopkins