In a thrilling beam final with any competitor capable of the win, it was France’s first-year senior Marine Boyer who stood out in her fantastic routine to take the gold.
Boyer is known for her ability on beam, but she’s also tended to struggle with hitting solid and clean routines, missing some of her connection values in addition to racking up deductions for wobbles. On Sunday, however, she showed no signs of this, nailing her layout series, a fantastic sissone to front aerial to split jump to wolf jump, a switch to side somi, and a double pike dismount with a tiny bounce. Boyer earned a big 14.5 to capture her first world cup title, defeating several experienced competitors along the way.
In second place was Phan Thi Ha Thanh of Vietnam with a 14.367. Phan improved a great deal from her qualifications performance, looking steady on her bhs layout to split jump, fluid switch to switch half, awesome side aerial to sissone to side somi, and double pike dismount. Her only major misstep was a big wobble on her tour jete half, but she got it under control quickly enough and continued on.
Ilaria Käslin of Switzerland got her first medal of the meet with a bronze on this event. Käslin had especially nice work on her Onodi to sheep jump, front aerial to sissone to wolf jump, full Y turn to full pirouette, full-twisting back handspring to ring leap, solid bhs bhs loso series, and a stuck gainer layout dismount for a 14.1.
Astonishingly, not one gymnast in this field had a fall or major error in this final, with the remainder of the rankings essentially just a list of highest to lowest difficulty; with everyone performing well, it truly came down to skill level above all else. Ana Sofia Gomez of Guatemala placed fourth with a 14.067, nailing her tuck full series but having a few nervous checks elsewhere that kept her just 0.033 shy of the podium. In fifth was Katarzyna Jurkowska-Kowalska of Poland, showing lots of unique skills and connections and finishing with a Steingruber dismount to score a 14.033.
Rounding out the field was Tutya Yilmaz of Turkey in sixth with a 13.933 and then Dorina Böczögö of Hungary and Marine Brevet of France tied for seventh with scores of 13.6. Yilmaz and Böczögö both had some of their best efforts of the season, but Brevet – who qualified first into the final – just wasn’t quite as solid as she could have been, missing a couple of connections and wobbling on her flight series.
Giulia Steingruber of Switzerland picked up her second gold medal of the meet with a 14.733 on floor, one of her top scores of the season there for a routine that included a full-twisting double layout with a small bounce, a double layout into a slight lunge, and a tucked full-in with a hop. Even without the double double, it proved to be an excellent routine, and I look forward to seeing her hopefully make the final for this event in Rio.
Her teammate Käslin grabbed her second medal of the day, this time a silver with her 13.933. Known more for her dance and performance than tumbling, Käslin opened up with a lovely Memmel turn before hitting her triple full with a hop, a double tuck, a 2.5 turn in attitude, clean leaps, and a 2.5 with a hop. The choreography was engaging and it was technically excellent, a well-deserved podium finish for her.
Evgeniya Shelgunova of Russia took the bronze medal on floor, hitting her 1.5 through to triple full with her chest slightly down, a stumbled Memmel turn, a low piked full-in, a double tuck, and a double pike, earning a 13.767 to seal her spot a good half a point above the next in line.
Unfortunately, Brevet again came up a bit short, only earning a 13.233 after taking several steps back out-of-bounds after hitting her double layout. The rest of her routine was mostly easy, including a 1.5 to stag and a double tuck, leaving her unable to make up for what she lost in the opening pass.
Her teammate Boyer was fifth with a 13.167, hitting her double tuck, falling out of her Memmel turn to attitude turn, landing her 2.5 with a step forward, stumbling a bit out of her triple pirouette, and finishing with a double pike with a step. Böczögö was sixth with a 13.067, hopping back on her double layout, landing her piked full-in a bit short, stepping back on her big punch double front, and stepping back on her double pike.
In sixth was the Russian Daria Skrypnik, who looked a bit rough here, taking a big step out of her triple full, looking wild on her 2.5 to punch front, landing her double tuck a bit low, showing awkward form on some of her leaps, and finishing with a low chest on her double pike to earn a 12.967. Behind her was Kazakhstan’s Yekaterina Chuikina, who has a fun routine (though the choreography didn’t really match the music). She unfortunately opened up by falling back on her triple full. She went on to stick her double pike, and had a nice landing on her Rudi as well, but then again had trouble, skidding and sitting her 2.5 to finish, earning an 11.333.
For full results from the competition at Varna, click here.
Article by Lauren Hopkins