Russia had somewhat of a mixed competition they collected two fourth places and two medals, a silver on bars, and a rather unexpected gold on Floor. Russia continues to struggle on the beam and in Cluj-Napoca they didn’t have a single hit routine during the competition, but on the positive side Russia’s depth is still strong. In the competition they had a rather seasoned veteran in Maria Paseka who is recovering from injury; an experienced gymnast from the Games, Angelina Melnikova, who gave the performance of her life to win the gold medal on Floor and fresh talent in new senior Elena Eremina who took silver on bars with a very interesting combination: Nabieva to Pak. For a more in depth review of Russia’s performance take a look at our article.
A year ago, in the month of April, fans worldwide were all in shock after the Test Event results made definitive the fact that Romania would not be sending a full team to Rio de Janeiro. A year later not a lot has improved in the Romanian camp particularly in the depth situation. Catalina Ponor and Larisa Iordache had outstanding performances in Cluj-Napoca. Catalina delivered the routine of her life to win gold on beam while Larisa Iordache fought through injury to compete both bars and beam. She took bronze on beam and was a reserve to the bars final. However the new seniors do not seem near the level that either Catalina or Larisa have, not in difficulty or consistency. If this trend continues what will become of Romania when Catalina and Larisa retire?
This meet was supposed to be all about the British as they currently seem stronger in difficulty and consistency than either Romania or Russia look at the moment. And they had a strong qualification round with a little less of good luck in the actual finals. The golden girl was Elissa Downie as she became the first ever British all-around champion, and she medalled in all the finals except beam where she was fourth. Her bronze on bars was without doubt the most bittersweet medal as her sister was last in the competition and after she fell Elissa secured a medal. However Rebecca’s fall was much more than a simple fall, she injured her elbow, the worst kind of injury that can happen to an uneven bars specialist. Her fall also took her out of the beam final where she was replaced by Claudia Fragapane who had a fall off the beam and then on Floor went out of bounds loosing 0.3 in a neutral deduction. Had Claudia stayed in bounds she would have medalled for sure. So in the end Great Britain was the most decorated country with four medals, all of them won by one gymnast: Ellie Downie.
Germany is looking very strong as well, Tabea Alt had qualified in third place to the all-around final but missed the final due to illness then during the beam final she had a very upsetting routine that included two falls, however that is not who she is, she just had back luck in not being completely healthy for the competition. Veteran Kim Bui was a model of consistency, performing solidly in all the routines to place 5th in the all-around and bars as well as fourth on Floor. Elisabeth Seitz found joy in her bronze on bars in a make-up medal for the medal she missed in Rio after placing fourth in the bars final. Overall Germany is looking strong and a great performance can be expected from them at the World Championships in the fall.
The Netherlands who has not seized to amaze since 2015, made its mark with Eythora Thorsdorttir taking two medals, silver on beam and bronze on Floor. Her win on Floor is also a reward for her artistry as her routine is among the best choreographed and interpreted in the whole world. Sanne Wevers had a bad day during the beam final but her qualification routine as well as her success in the Melbourne World Cup earlier this year shows she still has what is needed to turn into great things.
The names to remember: Nina Derwael who put Belgium back in the map with a single routine and Zsofia Kovacs who came incredibly close to winning the all-around title. Hungary had not been in medal contention for an all-around medal since the early 90s when Henrietta Onodi was the star of the team. Also Hungary had not medalled at Europeans since 1998 and in 2017 they took two medals, Kovacs’ silver in the all-around and Boglarka Devai’s bronze on vault.
And speaking about the vault, France’s Coline Devillard has become a contender for the World Vault Title. Before her Melanie De Jesus Dos Santos had won bronze in the all-around marking the third consecutive year France medals at Europeans showing their gymnastics level is consistent and at a high level.
And that’s a wrap for the 2017 European Championships.