Sazonova Wins Tight Icelandic Race


2016 Olympian Irina Sazonova, who grew up training in the Russian system but moved to Iceland to coach and now competes there as well, defended her national title this weekend with a 48.933 in the all-around.

Sazonova narrowly edged out Dominiqua Belanyi, who won the silver medal with a 48.866, as well as Agnes Suto, who won the bronze with a 48.616. Seeing all three within three tenths of one another made for a super exciting race, made all the more exciting that Sazonova is 25 and her competitors are both 24, a win for #GrandmaGymnasts across the globe to see a bunch of grown women defeat much younger teenage competitors by quite a lot.

Sazonova was solid across the board, save for a fall on beam, to take the title, and then she came back to pick up another two golds in event finals, winning the vault title with a 12.825 average and the beam title with a 12.55 in addition to getting the silver medal on floor for a solid set, though she fell on bars here to finish last. Overall it was a fantastic competition for Sazonova, who has competed regularly since Rio and plans on going forward as far as she can this quad.

With a fall on bars in the all-around competition, Belanyi was otherwise strong, and like her teammate did on beam, she fought back from that bars fall to win the gold medal in the event finals, posting a 12.55 for a clean set in addition to winning the floor title with a 12.5 and finishing fourth on beam with a 12.0 for her hit routine there.

The Hungarian-born Suto also struggled on bars, but the rest of her all-around competition went well, and she finished with the silver on bars with a 12.25 and the bronze on beam with a 12.1 in event finals, competing clean and solid routines on both.

In fourth all-around was Tinna Odinsdottir, a 22-year-old who coaches in Denmark but continues to represent Iceland internationally. Odinsdottir got within a point of the top group, posting a 47.833 after some mistakes on every event but vault, but she had a great beam set in finals, winning the silver there with a 12.45 in addition to finishing fifth on bars with an 11.2.

Rounding out the top eight were Lilja Oladottir in fifth with a 45.866, Katharina Johannasdottir in sixth with a 45.300, Fjola Thorsteinsdottir in seventh with a 45.133, and Thelma Adalsteinsdottir in eighth with a 44.433.

The talented vaulter Sigridur Bergthorsdottir, who competed only on vault and beam, won the vault silver medal with a 12.725 for two clean attempts, while Johannasdottir got the bronze there and on floor, and Oladottir got the bronze on bars.

In the junior division, Sonja Olafsdottir edged out Margret Kristinsdottir, generally the top in the junior field, by half a point with a 47.183 to Kristinsdottir’s 47.133 after the latter had falls on bars and beam. Olafsdottir actually also struggled on bars in the all-around competition, but made up for it with a strong vault and fantastic beam set, earning a 13.15 to get the only non-vault score to break a 13 in both the junior and senior fields (though she fell multiple times in event finals to miss out on a medal, unfortunately).

Tinna Teitsdottir won the bronze medal with a 46.150, another gymnast with a weak bars performance, while Soley Gudmundsdottir was fourth with a 44.266, Thelma Gudjonsdottir was fifth with a 44.216, Hanna Sigurdardottir was sixth with a 42.666, Fjola Vidardsdottir was seventh with a 42.116, and Gudrun Hardardottir was eighth with a 41.800.

On vault, Gudjonsdottir won gold with a 12.875 average, followed by Teitsdottir with a 12.425 for silver and Sigurdardottir with a 12.4 for bronze, all three performing well in this final. Vigdis Palmadottir competed only on bars and beam in prelims, and won the bars title with a 12.1 for her super clean set, followed by Kristinsdottir with an 11.95 for silver after a fall, and Olafsdottir with an 11.55 for bronze.

The beam title went to Gudmundsdottir, who had some minor mistakes to earn an 11.8, while Hardardottir and Teitsdottir tied in the silver medal position with scores of 11.45, both with mistakes. Teitsdottir came back to win the floor title with a strong routine, earning a 12.85, where fellow all-around medalists Kristinsdottir and Olafsdottir got the silver and bronze with scores of 12.7 and 12.25, respectively.

Full results from this year’s national championships are available here.

Article by Lauren Hopkins

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