Our take on European TF’s.

Not for the first time, Romania are the Olympic year European Team Champions. It’s something of a habit for them. Meanwhile, your writers are basking in the glow of getting the top four right.

1. ROU 176.288

2. RUS 175.536

3. ITA 171.430

4. GBR 167.763

5. FRA 164.295

6. BEL 163.821

7. ESP 163.522

8. GER 160.497

Stoi! mentioned in our predictions that one of the only certainties in the sport is Octavian Belu being smarter than everyone else. That remains true.

Romania were less impressive today than in qualifying, having counted a fall from the otherwise inhumanly reliable Larisa Iordache. But they showed they were no one-off, and it remains noteworthy that their prelims score was only a point less than what the US tallied to win in Tokyo.

Comparing scores from different competitions is at best a highly inexact science. Nonetheless, it gives us an idea what ball park the Romanians are now playing in, particularly as they played it very safe with Izbasa in prelims and Bulimar being underpar on floor.

Mother Russia gave us the usual mixture of the sublime and ridiculous. Those who managed to stay on beam were beautiful, but were channeling Bridget Sloan with the utter failure to connect anything. CV matters, comrades.

The jury’s still out on Sidorova, and Paseka is useless for London without an Amanar – though we all knew that anyway.

Komova was Komova, as she is and always will be. The other two could be forgiven on beam: Sidorova had a very hard task going up first, and Grishina did ok. Vika has neither of those excuses.

Given Russia’s horrendous start, it’s a surprise in some ways that the top two ended up within a point of each other. Granted, Iordache fell from beam, but it wasn’t the costliest mistake in the world. She came out of it with her D score intact.

Romania perhaps had the best of the judging. We’re thinking particularly of Raluca Haidu’s bars, which looked to be almost a point too high.

Our good friend Danafan from TAAF scored it, and had her at 13.2.

Arguably, this overscore was the difference between the two teams. But nonetheless, Romania looked to be the better of the two teams, whether the numbers add up or not. They were twice as convincing as Russia. You simply can’t piss away 3-4 points on beam by being half arsed, and then expect to win. Especially not against Romania. Even if you are light years ahead of the rest of the world on bars. It was heartening to watch the fightback, though.

And we couldn’t talk about fightback without giving special mention to Mustafina.

Stoi! had already advised our readership that news of her demise has been greatly exaggerated. And so it was. The more we think about it, the clearer it becomes that Aliya basically did all that could be expected of her aside from a couple of missed swings on bars in prelims. Today’s set made it more than clear that she remains a leading contender for the Olympic title on that event.

Floor was, of course, a bust. She didn’t properly control a single landing today, and if anything we’re shocked that she did the first pass so nicely in prelims. However, this is no great shock given that she simply isn’t ready on the event. Nothing we have seen from her so far suggests otherwise. The only reason she had to do it is because the coaches chose to send an experimental team, rather than one designed to maximize the scores. So, Paseka got the 5th spot rather than Belokobylskaya. Stoi! has supported and continues to support this approach; Paseka seemed like a bit of a waste of a spot but at least she has some chance of being in London. So it made sense.

However, it also resulted in Aliya having to take one for the team. The fact that she did this and came out smiling by the end perhaps tells us something about her mindset. Don’t just take our word for it, look at her rather satisfied expression on the podium. This picture doesn’t fully convey it, but it’s the best we could find.

And we all know she doesn’t usually approve of silver.

We don’t presume to tell our readers what shape Aliya will be in by the Olympics. She’s on a steep recovery curve and who knows, perhaps she has been rushed back too soon. This all makes it very difficult to make predictions. All we will say is this: twelve weeks is a long time. Nobody knows this better than a woman who is 28 weeks gone and due to spawn right in the middle of London team finals. Yes, really. Planned that one well, no?

As predicted, the battle for bronze was won by the team who hit best, rather than prettiest: Italy. GB had a good old fashioned beam meltdown, with the only hit routine coming from Stoi! favourite Danusia Francis. Because she’s a one eventer in a pretty deep team, we had been thinking of her as a possibly unaffordable luxury for London. Then she goes and reminds us that she’s the only one who can be trusted on the team’s weak apparatus. It would be nice to see her go above-14 more often, but she remains a selectors headache. In a good way.

France also fell all over the place, with Dufournet arguably lucky that her mistakes weren’t more harshly penalized. That Gienger must’ve hurt.

And lastly, we still can’t really get our heads round what happened to the Germans.

By Clara

16 responses to “Our take on European TF’s.

  • Stoi!

    Ah ok, thought you meant the D score. Well, Aliya was getting 15.5+ at worlds for vaults that weren’t as messy, so that’s probably the explanation.

    Regarding who we root for, Bronwyn is American but I’m British. We do ‘support’ Russia in as far as we support anyone, but we tend to base our loyalties on how much we like the individuals competing, too. I wouldn’t rule out rooting for the US in London if they sent my ideal team and Russia were looking sloppy, for example. It’s easier for me to name the individuals I like at the moment: the Russians and Douglas for the AA, Maroney and Izbasa for vault, Tweddle, the Russians and Douglas for bars, Komova and Ponor for beam and Afanasyeva for floor.

  • Stoi!

    Hi Jule
    A sympathy overscore is my best guess! It’s a bit harsh to ding someone when they’re being carried out, I guess. She wasn’t a full 2.5 twists round, so the rules say she ought to have been downgraded, but that didn’t happen. Saying that, D panels have consistently credited Amanar attempts if they’re at least 2.25 twists, so their decision was in line with general scoring trends.

    • Jule

      Thank you. I thought she was underscored. Just wondering, who are you rooting for? You are from the US but your blog is called davaistoi.

  • Jule

    Thank you for your explanations! I would be grateful if you can explain me why Mustafina scored a 15,375 for her Amanar at the Euros 2011 when she injured herself.

  • emmasrandomthoughts

    If anything, it’s a shock that Mustafina looks as good as she did! Most people who have had knee surgery will tell you that it takes a year to fully recover.

    Let’s hope the Romanians keep Iordache in bubble wrap for the next three months!

  • Stoi!

    Ok well that’s part of a broader trend this quad Jule. Big vaults with lots of amplitude but worse form outscore prettier vaults that aren’t as huge. That’s been the case at both Euros and worlds. So for example eg Raisman’s lines in Tokyo weren’t as nice as Komova’s, but because she got loads more height and length she got a bigger score. And actually I’m ok with that. It’s because the deductions for dynamics are bigger than those for bent legs, and is also part of the reason why Chusovitina keeps scoring so well. Ponor got a bigger score here than she did in Tokyo because her vault was bigger. Gymnasts like her, Raisman, Mustafina and Nabieva do what the code wants on vault this quad.

  • Jule

    For instance Ponor’s VT http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vdn1fEvkuzE scored the same as Komova’s in Tokyo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qc32x8nZl-U
    and Komova has much better form in the air and stuck landing!
    I think all Ponor’s VT were overscored, she shouldn’t get over 15 for a DTY with bad legs and not stuck landing.

  • Stoi!

    Thanks for the correction, Jule. Not sure the scores in Tokyo were lower, though. Euros execution panels are typically a bit tighter if anything. Which event/s were you thinking of? I thought beam was a bit generous in prelims, but not the rest. Vault wasn’t.

  • Jule

    The difference between Romanian’s score in prelims and US in Tokyo is 2 points, not 1. US total was 179,4 and Romania’s 177,4. The scores in Tokyo were lower though.

  • christina

    Aliya’s UB routine was definately one of the highlights of the competition, she’s definately in the right way, I hope she’ll be great at the Olympics.
    I agree Romania was overscored at a couple of routines but I also think Bulimar’s floor could have scored a couple of thenths higher, or maybe I’m just mad she’s so underated.
    The olympics will be so exciting

  • Stoi!

    Regarding the ‘unofficial’ AA champion, it depends which day you mean. Iordache had the top AA score in prelims, Grishina in TFs. People usually say the unofficial winner is the one who comes top in prelims (which would make it 3 x 3rd place finishes for Hannah Whelan, never saw that coming!) as everyone’s included whereas not everyone does TFs.

    Oktiabr, who knows? The 5th spot still looks relatively open, particularly while there are no Amanars. Alexandrov has said he wants someone with an Amanar for the 5th spot, but it’s possible nobody will have one. Or that Mustafina, Komova and Grishina all will so no others are needed. In which case, Dementyeva isn’t out of it. It possibly helps her that Russia were so poor on beam and floor, her two better events.

    • Ying

      After the Euros we can safely predict: Paseka is out. Sidorova is almost out. Mustafina is the only one that may deliver an Amanar, and others have zero chance. So Dementyeva is in. Russia needs a beam specialist rather than a vault one. After all, beam accounted for the most part of their loss to Romania.

  • oktiabr

    So, does this mean there will be no London for Sidorova? Do you believe she’ll pull it together? I kind of blame her for the russian disaster on beam (and I thought she was the one we could rely on beam this quad). Of course I blame Komova too, but at least she made up for it in bars… Sidorova just starts too low on floor and could’nt really help the team.

    Hope Afanasyeva is training her ass off, this team needs her.

  • Christiane

    I just wanted to understand what is happening with Vika on beam… She shakes so much, so consistently, can all that be nerves?? Anyway, I read somewhere that Grishina was the unofficial AA winner. Congratulations, sweetie!! :o)

  • Julia

    Youna, sigh. She’s got to have some Russian or Chinese heritage for the way she’s uber-talented but never manages to live up to the pressure, expectations, or even just hit her “best” apparatus in a competition setting.

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